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View At Woronoco, Mass.
View At Woronoco, Mass.

"This is a picture of the Strathmore Paper Mill (closed and sold several years ago) Strathmore made mostly fine art papers at this mill. The mill was on two sides of the Westfield River and bridge was connecting the two parts. This bridge was closed by the state several years ago and a "temporary" bridge installed. There is a street of mill homes (2 family mostly) on the far side of the river. Woronoco Bridge is all I have ever heard it called. It may have a fancier name. The whole mill complex was built by Horace Moses as an experiment for planned mills, including schools, community buildings, churches and housing. There was even a farm with cows to generate milk for the children and workers. The thistle is the watermark on Strathmore papers still. Horace Moses brought thistle with him from Scotland. (A neighbor whose father worked at the mill for his whole working life, has thistle in her garden that is the off spring of that original plant.) My husband's great-grandmother came to work at these mills from Ireland. She had to work to pay off her passage and room and board (she "owed her soul to the company store") This is some information that I didn't realize when I first came to Russell. She was in a group of Catholic girls who were allowed to leave Ireland only when their parents were assured that they would be allowed to get to mass every Sunday.

I went on a tour with regional planning commissioners this past spring to visualize making the old bridge into a tourist "bridge of flowers" similar to the one in Shelberne Falls, MA. It was ultimately decided that the cost was prohibitive and grant money not enough....maybe someday.

Hope this information is of interest. There are several books written about Horace Moses and his modern ideas. He started Junior Achievement and Horace Moses Boy Scout Reservation. He was way ahead of his time."

by Catherine Moran, Chair, Historical Commission, Rusell, Massachusetts (January 2002)

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