Dover400's May lecture by Cathy Beaudoin covered the history of the Cocheco Mills in downtown Dover. These huge brick structures at the center of the community, perched over the Cochecho River and its Falls, began as the nascent Dover Cotton Factory, matured into the flourishing Dover Manufacturing Company, grew to prosperity as the highly renowned Cocheco Manufacturing Company and Print Works, and finally sputtered to an inglorious end as the Pacific Mills.
Along the way, from their beginnings in 1812 to their demise in 1937, the mills shaped not only the generations of people who worked there, but also the civic direction and economic development of the City of Dover. The lecture covers both astounding feats and abysmal events which occurred in these mills including: the first strike by women in the United States, a calico manufactory that annually printed and shipped 65 million yards of fabric worldwide during the 1880s, plus tales of industrial spying, dung baths, waves of immigrants, and some disastrous fires and floods.
These former factories still physically dominate our downtown, influence the business community, traffic patterns, and commercial and residential development. They still affect urban vibrancy and livability, and still proudly stand as a symbol of Dover’s industrial heritage, even more than eight decades after they closed.
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