Spalding in Chicopee

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Spalding in Chicopee

Postby mikesglove » September 19th, 2017, 1:40 am

The Chicopee river in Massachusetts was well suited for industry because of its 262 foot drop in 18 miles. Image
Once dams were built along its course and the water diverted into canals, factories could be built using water turbines to power machines.
At first the machinery was mechanically driven and later hydroelectric powered. the small town of Chicopee thus became a booming mill town.
A.G. Spalding opened a plant in Chicopee to be closer to one of its main vendors, The Overman Wheel Co. The Overman "Victor" bicycle was top of the line
in its day and Spalding was its sole sales agent. Spalding bought the Lamb Knitting Machine factory in 1890 for bicycle parts manufacture
as well as the manufacture of ice skates and gymasium equipment. Overman and Spalding had a falling out in 1893 due to bicycle pricing.
There was a lawsuit and counter suit. Needless to say it got ugly. Spalding begn to manufacture its own line of cheaper bicycles.
Because the bicycle industry was starting a downturn, it did not turn out well for Overman who had overpriced himself out of the market.
Spalding continued on and moved to a larger facility, the Ames Manufacturing plant in 1893.
Last edited by mikesglove on September 19th, 2017, 12:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Spalding in Chicopee

Postby mikesglove » September 19th, 2017, 4:14 am

Below is an illustration of the Lamb Knitting Machine plant Image

This is a plan view of the Lamb factory situated between the Chicopee River and a canal.
Image

Below is an old map of Chicopee. The red arrow points to the location of the Lamb plant. The blue arrows are the canals cut into the property just above the dams. The other black structures indicate other mills along the river.
Image

Below is a current aerial view of the map above. The red oval marks the old Lamb factory. All the mills are gone from the site. The canals have all been filled in. Chicopee is involved in changing the property to a multi-use development. It's called the River Mills Project.
Image
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Re: Spalding in Chicopee

Postby glovejunkie » September 19th, 2017, 8:30 am

More great info Mike...thanks!!! I live right down the road from this site...hence why my collection currently is focused on the two nearest/most local early manufacturing plants to me, Spalding and Victor;). I've tried researching the plants a bit...but your research has come up with a lot more info than mine;)
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Re: Spalding in Chicopee

Postby mikesglove » September 19th, 2017, 12:47 pm

thanks Eric. I'm a can-do person. When I do get my teeth into something I get pretty obsessed.
The red arrow on the 1878 map indicates the Ames foundry. The blue arrow is the canal.Image

Below is a front view of the Ames Foundry that became the new Spalding Plant after 1893. It's just downstream from the Lamb Mfg. plant and located at the foot of Springfield St. near Chicopee Center.Image

Below is an old photo showing the back view of the Spalding plant. The Chicopee River is in the foreground with a cool covered bridge.Image

Below is a current aerial view of the back of the Spalding/Ames plant. The covered bridge at the right was replaced long ago.Image
Last edited by mikesglove on September 22nd, 2017, 7:03 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Spalding in Chicopee

Postby mikesglove » September 20th, 2017, 4:31 am

Below is a current aerial front view of the former Spalding plant circled in red. It was converted into apartments in the 1980's called Ames Privelege. The sprawling plant to the left circled in blue is the old Dwight Mfg. plant. It is vacant and derelict now but is slated for redevelopment into 600 apartment units.
Image

Below is a closeup view of the Spalding/Ames Privilege apt. building. The canal was left intact and is visible in the foreground. A picturesque New England setting. Being from CA. I can't get over all the intact classic brick buildings still left in the north east U.S. Here they have been mostly torn down, fallen down or steel retrofitted up the wazoo.
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