Cover

pdf iconDownload PDF
 

Half Title, Frontispiece, Title Page, Copyright, Dedication, Epigram

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 5-10

Contents

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. ix-x

read more

Introduction | Builders and Destroyers

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 1-10

James Campbell Wemyss Sr. purchased the bankrupt paper mill in Groveton, New Hampshire, in 1940. “Old Jim,” as he was known around town, revived the mill and the town’s fortunes. His son, Jim Jr., was seriously wounded as a nineteen-year-old soldier in 1945. ...

read more

1 | The Life of the Town

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 11-24

Following the Civil War, as demand for paper products soared, scientists developed methods for the mass production of paper using wood fibers. Investors began to build paper mills in New England towns with access to softwood forests, railroad service, and river power. In 1891, three investors began to construct the Groveton Paper Mill on the bank of the Upper Ammonoosuc ...

read more

2 | Feeding the Mill

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 25-35

Prior to 1972, you could not miss the seventy-five-foot-high piles of pulpwood as you approached the village of Groveton from the south. The woodpiles formed a haunting symmetry with North and South Percy Peaks in the Nash Stream watershed, seven miles northeast of the Groveton Paper Mill. ...

read more

3 | Making Paper

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 36-50

Northern New England softwood paper has been highly valued for over a century because its fibers tend to be longer and stronger than hardwood fibers or softwoods grown in warmer climates. Wood is composed of cellulose, hemi-cellulose, and lignin, a natural glue that holds ...

read more

4 | Prosperous Plant

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 51-62

William Thoits and James Sivret of Northumberland and Pearson G. Evans of Gorham announced in April 1891 plans to construct a paper mill that used the new chemical process to make pulp out of wood chips. They acquired land along the banks of the Upper Ammonoosuc River from the Weston Sawmill on May 12, 1891, ...

read more

5 | Ratville, NH

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 63-74

“Conditions are quieter at Groveton than they have been for some time,” the Democrat reported in July 1917. “One carload of strike-breakers has left town and Charles Kelley of Colebrook has been appointed superintendent of police. ...

read more

6 | Three Generations of Wemysses

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 75-86

James C. Wemyss Jr. fondly recalled an August 1940 trip to Groveton with his father, James C. Wemyss Sr.: “I was out of school. [Father] said, ‘Come on, I’ll take you to look at a paper mill over at Groveton.’ He and I drove over. We spent the night in the company house, which is now the [Passumpsic] bank. ...

read more

7 | Crown Prince

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 87-99

“The war had just ended,” Jim Wemyss Jr. recalled. “Gas stamps, rationing and shoes—you were allowed two pairs of shoes a year. [Rationing] went off pretty quickly, but there wasn’t the supplies in the pipeline to make any difference. It was a tremendous revolution in this country after the war ended. A lot of women didn’t want to leave their good jobs. ...

read more

8 | The Perfect Balance

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 100-118

The 1950s and 1960s stand out as a kind of golden age for the Groveton Papers mill. This was the period of unprecedented economic prosperity in postwar America, a time when most families had a car or two and a television set. The economic, social, and cultural forces responsible for those good times ...

read more

9 | The Dark Side

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 119-129

When several hundred people converge morning, afternoon, and night to labor under exhausting and harsh conditions, there are bound to be social problems. The smell, noise, heat, chemicals, swing shift, stress of meeting production expectations, breakdowns in machinery, labor-management conflicts, dangerous work environment, and human frailty test one’s endurance. ...

read more

10 | A Fateful Decision

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 130-148

Jim Wemyss understood paper mills would soon have to spend millions of dollars on expensive technology to address mill-generated pollution. Groveton would have to build a much larger and cleaner pulp mill to satisfy the demands of its paper machines for pulp and to comply with recent ...

read more

11 | End of an Era

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 149-166

The overthrow of the shah of Iran in January 1979 triggered another sharp rise in oil prices, the hostage taking of fifty United States Embassy officials in Iran in November 1979, and a war between the new Iranian government and Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi regime in 1980. Uncertain oil supplies were an even more serious threat to the mill than price rises. ...

read more

12 | The Worst Years

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 167-185

“Since the announcement there has been a lot of concern about what exactly will take place. Please try not to get upset over this change. James River has a good record in their previous takeovers and they are capable of recognizing a well-run operation. We have nothing to be concerned over,” mill manager Jack Hiltz wrote in the Papermaker shortly after the May 10, 1983, ...

read more

13 | The Best Years

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 186-201

Wausau was a lean and hungry company looking to expand. Wausau’s executives had very much liked the Groveton mill when they visited in January 1991. With the proper investment, they believed, Numbers 3 and 6 paper machines could produce the colored, premium fine papers Wausau ...

read more

14 | A Battle We Couldn’t Win

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 202-217

“It was rather traumatic, to say the least,” Shirley MacDow said of the formal split-up of Wausau and Paper Board in 1993. “That mill was like Siamese twins. You had to decide, ‘This pipe is yours, and this one is mine, but this one has both so we have to pay you 50 percent.’ It was a tough show. There was a lot of antagonism because we were like the enemy, so to speak. ...

read more

15 | Controllables and Uncontrollables

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 218-225

“It was a surprise to me,” Dave Atkinson recalled of his July 1999 promotion to vice president of operations and plant manager of Groveton. “Probably three or four or five years sooner than I expected. Tom Howatt was on one of his visits to Groveton. He said, ‘Dave, I’ve got an opportunity for you. ...

read more

16 | F This

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 226-236

Late in August 2007, Dave Atkinson received an unexpected phone call from Wisconsin: “At that time I was traveling to Wausau about once a month for a staff meeting. I had a new boss, Dan Trettein, who called me and said, ‘Dave, can you come out for a special?’ I think I had just been there a week or two before. ...

read more

Epilogue | They Ruined This Town

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 237-246

Dave Atkinson remained at the mill throughout 2008, overseeing the process of shutting down. Tom Howatt urged him to continue working for Wausau as a vice president. “We’d love to have you stay with us,” he told Atkinson late in 2008. Atkinson declined: “I got called three times. ...

read more

Postscript | The Day When Corporate America Doesn’t Run Us

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 247-258

In one of my conversations with Dave Atkinson, I had expressed indignation that Wausau’s board never consulted him when it was deciding the mill’s fate: You can see where I’m coming from. A community has been ravaged by decisions from away, and they didn’t consult us on those decisions. It’s just this absentee—having kind of life-and-death control over our community. He replied: “Yup. ...

read more

Acknowledgments

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 259-262

Over the course of seven years, I have received assistance and encouragement from many people. I took a course in ethnography from Millie Rahn at Plymouth State University in the winter of 2009–2010. ...

Notes

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 263-272

Index

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 273-284