A New England Town: The First Hundred Years

Monson, Massachusetts

Industrial Pursuits, page 3

The Rockland mill, owned by Joseph L. Reynolds, was erected in 1860-61, and was burned about 1867. It was rebuilt two or three years afterward. It was occupied as a satinet-mill, but is now engaged in the manufacture of fancy cassimeres, of which it produces about 600 yards per day. It is a three-set mill, and employs about 40 persons.

A small woolen-mill formerly existed in the northwest part of the town, in the Silver Street district, on Twelve-Mile Brook. It was owned by Lathrop Clark in 1864.

One of the most important manufacturing enterprises of the town is the straw hat factory of Merrick & Fay, situated in the centre of the village. The business has been carried on for many years. All varieties of straw hats are manufactured. Employment is afforded to 450 persons. In 1878 goods were made exceeding in value $800,000. The goods are all sold in New York City, through Hodges, Hersey & Co., a branch of the concern. A coarser variety of the same goods is manufactured by the firm at Amherst.

The Monson Stone Quarry is another of the important industries of the town. It lies about a mile northwest of the central village. It was first opened about seventy years ago, by agents of the United States government, who obtained permission to quarry stone for the armory at Springfield, the foundations of which are made from it. The quarry was not again worked until about the year 1825, when it was opened by Rufus Flynt, with a force of four or five men, for the purpose of supplying a merely local want, and with no realization of its future importance as a commercial enterprise. The first stone quarried at this time was to furnish trimmings for the Chicopee Bank, at Springfield, and the stone was transported to that city by teams. Lack of transportation facilities militated against the rapid and profitable development of the quarry at this time.

Rufus Flynt died in 1836, and his son, William N. Flynt, succeeded to the business. In 1840 he first placed specimens of the stone on exhibition at Springfield, with a view to its introduction into general use. He kept' increasing the business and enlarging its scope, and after the building of the Boston, and Albany Railroad, and especially of the New London and Northern, succeeded in establishing a large outside trade.

In the year 1875, Mr. Flint built a private railroad, two miles in length, with a grade of 158 feet to the mile, at an expense of about $30,000. It now connects the quarry directly with the New London and Northern Railroad, and stone is shipped at the quarry for all parts of the country.

Mr. Flynt carried on the business successfully until 1875, when, owing to ill health, he was forced to retire. It is now actively operated by his son, William K. Flynt, assisted by his brothers. From 20,000 to 30,000 tons of stone are annually quarried, valued at from $150,000 to $200,000. The number of men employed is about 125. The stone is a beautiful stratified gneiss. It is chiefly of a grayish tinge (though other shades appear also), free from oxide of iron and other mineral impurities, and is easily wrought by the process of wedging, no blasting being necessary. The largest stone ever quarried there was 354 feet long, 11 feet wide, and 4 feet thick, taking 1104 wedges to split it. Many public buildings have been erected of this stone, including the court-house at Springfield, and the Boston and Albany Railroad offices. The church of St. Francis Xavier (R. C.) in New York City is now being erected of stone from this quarry.

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This page was last updated on 13 Feb 2006