Poof Tardiff: 1913

Hello fellow Berlinites. I have written a little about this year and only big events, so I will try to cover a lot of the history of Berlin during the year of 1913.

When I do a history of the years here in Berlin, I normally get yearbooks from all the schools that were operating at the time, Brown Bulletins and city directories. The year 1913 had a graduating class, but no yearbook can be found and the Brown Bulletins did not exist until 1919. If there is a directory I use it, but again there is nothing for 1913, so in this case I use the annual reports from the Moffett House and old local newspapers that I get off the microfiche at the Public Library.

1913 was a very big year for building in the city of Berlin, as this area was booming economically. The mills and the logging left very little people unemployed. Our mayor at this time was Daniel J. Daly, with chief of police being George B. Day and our chief engineer ( Fire Chief) was Edward Sheridan. We had 10 patrolmen back then, but I do not know how many firemen we had. One thing that I do know is that there were seven horses in this department.

An advertisement in the local paper from a jobbing and retail druggist in Berlin went like this: “We have established a permanent mailing department to our business. Send us your orders for any kind of medicine, toilet articles, sundries, candies etc., or your doctors prescriptions and we will send your goods by the next mail. All prices are lower than the lowest anywhere.

Our preparations for your sick dogs, cats, birds, pigeons, geese, ducks, turkeys, dogs, horses, cows, calves and sheep are guaranteed to give satisfaction or money refunded. We deliver all orders free of charge at your door in Berlin and within 150 miles distance, no matter what you want in our line of goods, liquid or dry stuff, one ounce to his many times eleven pounds, as your order will amount to, will be delivered free”. Cote and Marchand, 40 Main St., Berlin. There had to be catch to this advertisement, but then, I am not sure.

A January 9th news item said that there were “75 happy children” in Berlin. Happiness was pictured on the faces of 75 little boys and girls when they called at Stahl-Clark's store (Cornerstone today) on Tuesday the last day of 1912 when the Berlin Lodge of Eagles made their annual distribution of gifts to the needy.

As they marched from the store onto Main Street with their arms full of clothing and other items, people could see that it was more blessed to give than to receive and that the Eagles members were very thoughtful remembering the poor. The committee was comprised of William G. DuPont, along with William McCann and Arthur Gendron.

In the middle of January, it was decided that the only way that Berlin could spread out physically was to create another ward. The “”East Side” of this city was growing rapidly in population and mercantile enterprise and it went without saying that a casual view of the territory of this side of the Androscoggin River was sufficient to convince anyone that improvements of all kinds were now needed in this section and a demand would become imperative.

Also, it was announced that the longer such improvements were delayed the more expensive the construction would be and thus a greater inconvenience to the residents there. Since Berlin became a city in 1897, just 16 years before 1913, there had been but one East Side resident on the City Council and before the expiration of his term, he moved across the river, leaving this portion of Berlin entirely without representation on the Council.

The proposition to create a ward comprising the whole East Side would give this section voice in the city government and this would bring attention to the requirements of this area. So, the only way that the people could bring about the desired results seem to be the creation of Ward 4.

This article at the beginning of January had a lot more in it, but I think my readers understand what took place. So, it would not be long for the East Side to become Ward 4.

On Tuesday evening, February 25, 1913, about 200 of Berlin's enterprising citizens met at Bell's Hall, on the corner of Pleasant and Mechanic Street. This would be directly across Pleasant street from today's Gold House Pizza. They met there to organize the project for the erection of a Young Men's Christian Association building.

This meeting was called to order by the state secretary of the YMCA back then. A chairman, Mayor Daley and a secretary, C. P. Kimball of the organizing committee would be chosen. Mr. O. B. Brown stated that the proposed building would not be a memorial to his father W. W. Brown and to get the funds proposed from the elder Brown, the people had to take an active part in the success of this undertaking.

The grounds that were proposed for the new YMCA building in Berlin were donated by the B+M Railway and the International Paper Company, but there was some objection to the proposed site that it would be out-of-the-way and difficult to access.

Mr. Brown suggested that if anyone present had any objection to offer on this point, they should rise and make known their position. No one objected and Mr. Brown then stated that the Berlin Mills Company (Brown Company) would build a bridge from a point near the public library to connect with the YMCA grounds. Furthermore, Brown announced the intention that the Berlin Mills Company, the International Paper Company and the Burgess Company would contribute one half of the expense for the maintenance and repairs for said bridge. This bridge started right across Main Street from the beginning of High Street.

Finally, it was estimated that such a building in Berlin would cost about $68,000, of which the contribution of the late W. W. Brown (died in 1911) would be $40,000. The committee then commenced in a big way to raise the funds for our old Community Club (YMCA).

I will continue with the history of the year 1913 in my next writing.

Poof Tardiff writes a weekly column for The Berlin Daily Sun. Questions or comments email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Also join the many friends of”Once upon a Berlin Time” on Facebook and guess at the weekly mystery picture.

Kimball CP 2C.P. Kimball

Stahl AA.M. Stahl

East SideEast Side

Dupont Major WilliamMajor William Dupont

Ithaca Bound: Substitute

There are certain shore excursions that can be taken on a cruise that are looked forward to with great anticipation and expectation. Such an excursion was the one my wife and i had booked before leaving on our recent three-week cruise to South America and Antarctica.
One of our ports of call was a stop in the Falkland Islands. There we had signed up for an off-road 4 x 4 drive to a Rockhopper Penguin sanctuary. Ports of call where we can get good pictures of wildlife are right at the top of our favorites list. We had taken a similar excursion the last time we were in the Falklands, and this one promised a similar enjoyable experience.
Alas, for me, it was not to be. I awoke the morning of our planned excursion with decided pain in my lower back. Moving around a bit in hope of walking it out did not work this time. It became clear that I was not going to be able to go on a 4 x 4 ride that would take us over extremely bumpy terrain in order to get the Rockhopper sanctuary. Even the tickets we had for the trip had made it clear that people with certain physical liabilities should not go on this excursion.
My wife, however, had no such limitations, and so she went on the trip and I stayed on board the ship and slowly walked around and took pictures in various areas of the cruise liner. I did ask Barrie, my wife, to try to get some good pictures for me, pictures that I could use for my next exhibit.
And get some good pictures she did. Many of the choices she made were excellent. And her point and shoot camera did every bit as good as my more expensive one. She even got a great short video of a Rockhopper voicing its displeasure of the closeness of some of the day’s visitors. Well, there were a number of newborns in the sanctuary, and parents are rightfully protective of their little ones.
So the pictures accompanying this article are Barrie’s and not mine. She is now a published photographer. My substitute did well.
And it’s a good thing I did not go on the trip. Barrie said that all of the drivers were having difficulty choosing the best way of getting to the sanctuary, and one of the off-roaders actually took a nosedive into one of the deeper depressions and had to pulled back out.
My own efforts on board our ship produced a number of satisfying shots, also. With most of the passengers on shore excursions, there was time to assess good subject matter determine good angles from which to take the pictures, and the time to retake a shot when necessary.
A number of the photographs taken on this cruise will be a part of my next exhibit at the Androscoggin Valley Hospital, which is scheduled to be put up in late May. More on that in a few months.
Ithaca Bound writes a weekly column for The Berlin Daily Sun. Ithaca Bound is the pen name of Dick Conway. His email address is: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..



Poof Tardiff: Brown Company Products II

Hello fellow Berlinites. As I continue with the paper products made by the Brown Company that were used from dynamiting to beauty treatments, I would like to first talk about the famous Nibroc Paper Towel. I wrote about this product back in early 2000, but found this great piece recalled by Mr. William E. Corbin, the first superintendent of the Cascade Mill.

The Nibroc Towel was born in the most logical place in the world, the washroom at the Cascade Mill. This historical event took place in 1922. By 1947 those towels could be found in washrooms across the nation, in factories, schools, hotels, hospitals and office buildings.

It was Mr. Corbin, whose last name spelled backwards, became a trade name for the first kraft towels. He unfolded the story of one of Brown Company's most famous products in an old Brown Bulletin in 1947, which has never made it to the Brown Bulletin collection.

Corbin said that they were using old cotton towels in the washroom at Cascade, shortly after the Cascade Mill was built and started operations in 1904. Those towels soiled rather quickly and by the early 1920's they didn't want to use them anymore. At the same time, the Riverside Mill was churning out a crêpe paper. They got some of this sized paper in the Cascade washroom and found that it did a good job drying one's hands besides leaving them fairly soft, but it wasn't like using ordinary paper.

It wasn't long after this that Herbert J. Brown, Brown Company manager, came to the Cascade Mill office. This is when Corbin handed Brown some of the crêpe paper. He told Mr. Brown to try drying his hands with this and also told him that it would not make a bad towel, if it wasn't for the color. So, Mr. Brown tried drying his hands with this great paper and agreed with Corbin, this was the beginning of the Brown Company Nibroc Paper Towels.

The process started slowly and it certainly was not an overnight success. Within the first two or three years in the 20's, it didn't even keep one machine operating continually. They would make some and then wait and see how they were selling.

These few towels grew into millions by the 1940's. Records show that Brown Company was the largest producer of paper towels for the institutional and industrial field. This was rightly so, as they were the first company to have a towel made from kraft pulp on the market.

Many people know how it got its name, but still there are some that don't. The company was looking around for a trade name for these towels and they had talked about all sorts of names, but they seemed to like the sound of Nibroc. There were also a lot of other names that would have done just as well

So, they stuck with Nibroc, which was Corbin spelled backwards. Probably no man in the history of Brown Company was closer to the production and growth of these once famous paper towels made here in Berlin and Cascade.

Now, let's talk about other products that Brown Company made using wood. One was the famous Kream Krisp that was a healthier substitute for lard. Many Berlin housewives used it in the 1920's to bake and cook. It was the forerunner to Crisco and worked just as well.

Tons and tons of paper rolled off the machines of the Cascade and Riverside Mills to make asphalting, sack, gumming, wet-strength, solkacel, unsized kraft envelopes, waxing and many other kinds of products. These other types of paper products were known as converting papers. In other words, they were paper which was taken by other manufacturers and modified into a final product.

Gilford Henderson, who was the manager of the paper and towel sales division for Brown Company in New York, listed 42 of the principal types of paper turned out by the Brown Company. Actually, back in 1947, people probably had more than one Brown Company paper product in their homes. They could be seen on the grocer's shelf and at the electricians supply company. They could have been household furnishings or on the counters of the hardware store. Also, they could have been in the package of Aunt Millies (baked products), or they could have been used for painting that car one hoped to purchase.

Flat asphalting paper was used in the making of building papers for the protection against moisture and dampness. It was used in the curing of concrete, to insulate refrigerator cars and for temporary farm silos. It was made in tarpaulin for covering flat cars, haystacks, lumber piles, machinery and steel.

What about twisting paper? Converters slit it into a paper cord, twine or yarn of different diameters. The twisted stock was used in making open mesh bags for onions, citrus fruits, potatoes, cabbage and apples. It went into cable insulation in the automotive and building industries and as an inside and outside covering on houses and electrical wires.

If one was sanding the floor back then, they could have been using what was known as “La Tuque Combining”. This paper was combined with cloth and coated by sandpaper manufacturers.

The permanent waves that a woman got at the beauty parlor back in 1947 could have been made with the assistance of the Brown Company Mills. A creped wet strength paper was sold to a manufacturer of permanent wave cartridges for use in the equipment leased to beauty parlors.

If there was a bothersome ledge in your backyard, another Brown Company product was used to help in the job of taking it out. A creped unsized kraft paper was sold to a manufacturer, who slit it into narrow roles then twisted it into fuses used for dynamiting.

The list of Brown Company's secondary products made of paper went on and on. There was multi-sack for using in packing cement and fertilizer, food and chemicals, gumming for use sealing, tapes, another gumming for making plywood and insulating for winding around wires in cables required in housing.

There were products used to polish and wipe engraving plates for negotiated bonds and currency, papers to be impregnated with plastic resin for the making of communications equipment, coffee bags, flour sacks and potato bag papers.

These were just samples of uses from the varied role that the Cascade and Riverside Mills of the Brown Company played back 70 years ago. The employees, the salesman and the woodsmen of this great paper company were surely busy in these days.

Poof Tardiff writes a weekly column for The Berlin Daily Sun. Questions or comments email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Also joining the many fans of “Once upon a Berlin Time” on Facebook and guess at the weekly mystery picture.

Nibroc Towels 1Nibroc Towels

Henderson GilfordGilford Henderson

Corbin WilliamWilliam Corbin

Cascade Mill 1927Cascade Mill 1927

Coos County Commissioner Rick Samsom's: Northern Coos County is not for sale

There are several issues that need reporting or updating, so I will touch on a couple now and the rest in future columns.
They are as follows:
#1: The Morse Mountain Cell in Groveton, NCIC and the Groveton mill site.
#2: The Coos Wind Park.
#3: Northern Pass.
#4: The Coos Loop.
The Morse Mountain cell tower is owned by NCIC and managed by Eversource. I have been asked by numerous constituents why the tower is not fully operational. Some of the answers that I have heard are: Eversource is punishing Groveton for voting against Northern Pass, it is a way for NCIC (THE SO NAMED Northern Community Investment Cooperation, a non-profit organization located in Lancaster and St. Johnsbury, Vt.) to start businesses or locate them in Berlin or Vermont. It seems that Groveton and northern Coos County do not matter. A call to the president of NCIC, Jon Freeman or the vice-president Cathy Conway (788-1610) might get you an answer. They are both full time employees of this non-profit organization. The St. Johnsbury number is 1-802-748-5101.
As far as the Groveton mill site is concerned, a number of investors have visited the site and have walked away as soon as they turn on their cell phones and find they have no reception. As Groveton’s county commissioner, I find it unacceptable and unnecessary that NCIC has not given Groveton priority for economic help and coverage.
Eversource is once again trying to get Groveton’s select board to support a supposedly $5 million bribe to Bob Chapman for the mill site. Eversource is saying that they will bury the NP line in Groveton if the board supports the bribe. Is this another false agreement that NP will not live up to? Is this not putting Bob Chapman who has done a great job cleaning up the Groveton mill site in the middle of an unnecessary situation?
It is time for NP to realize that upper Northern Coos County is not for sale. As an elected official and a public servant, not a politician, I represent a large majority of my constituents and am doing what they request and what is in the best interest of my district.
(Rick Samson is the Coos County Commissioner from District 3)

Ithaca Bound: On Groundhog's Day

Whether or not Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow on this day, there will be six more weeks of winter. The question for some of us here in Northern New Hampshire is whether those six weeks will bring us the snow that will be so badly needed come springtime. The answer to that could be rather serious in its implications. While shoveling snow is certainly not fun, dry wells are no laughing matter, either.
With the exception of tomorrow’s (Wednesday’s) predicted mix of rain and snow, this week’s weather will not be of much help. At least, that’s what the Weather Channel app on my iPad forecasts for the next several days. Forecasts have been known to be wrong, however, so maybe we will get some much needed help. That’s the way I understand weather issues, anyway.
One week from today, we all should exercise our rights as citizens of this state and country and cast our votes. One hopes that we all have done our homework regarding the various candidates, have fact-checked the sometimes outrageously irresponsible statements some of them make, and decided who among all the candidates is most qualified to lead this nation for the next four years.
Elections should not be popularity contests or based on pie-in-the-sky promises that no candidate can possibly keep. The vote we cast should always be based on sober reflection on the state’s and nation’s genuine needs. That’s what I remember being taught in my high school civics class, at any rate. Idealistic? Of course. But always the goal for which we all should strive.
On the lighter side of things on this Groundhog Day, a week from this coming Sunday is Valentine’s Day. I don’t remember my heart being pierced by an arrow from Cupid’s bow, but the woman I asked to be my wife and I have been married for fifty-two years now, so something must have happened. Flowers and baubles on this day were once bought for the occasion, but, given that my wife and I spend most of our leftover funds on travel nowadays, a quiet dinner out is how we usually celebrate special occasions now.
The Patriots made an unexpectedly early exit from their bid to go to an unprecedented seventh Super Bowl appearance in Coach Bill Belichick’s fifteen years of leading the team, but the Bruins and Celtics have kept things interesting for the area’s sports fans. While neither is expected to bring a championship to Boston this year, both are least competitive.
And waiting iin the wings are the Boston Red Sox who will open spring training in just a couple of weeks now. Their 2016 season has quite a bit of intrigue about it. Will a team that has finished in last place in three of the past four seasons finally show some signs of life and at least be competitive this year?
On paper, the team looks to be quite good, even formidable. But, as we all know, games are not won on paper. A team’s players still have to produce on the field of play. Good decisions in the dugout still have to be made. The team’s rising young stars have to show that last year’s numbers are sustainable. The big name stars signed last season to outrageous contracts have to show that their dismal showing of 2015 was just the result of an off year. The starting pitching is still somewhat suspect, despite the signing of one of the game’s best pitchers.
The month of February certainly should be interesting.
Ithaca Bound writes a weekly column for The Berlin Daily Sun. Ithaca Bound is the pen name of Dick Conway. His email address is: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..