The personal injury lawyers in Botany Village, NJ, at Garden State Justice Group, offer the following details on the area's historic mills.
The neighborhood of Botany Village, New Jersey, is located along the Passaic River. Clifton, Highland, and Lexington Avenues create the borders of the area.
The area of Botany Village was originally part of the Vreeland estate. It would not be until the damming of the Dundee Canal that development would occur in this area covered in farmlands. The dam created power that would supply a series of mills to be constructed along the canal built between 1858 and 1861. The canal ran alongside the Passaic River and supplied hydropower and water to the industries that fueled the area's economy during the 19th century.
On May 17, 1889, the Botany Worsted Mills was established by German immigrants who quickly began to purchase more land in the area. The construction of many mill buildings began to emerge. The Botany Worsted Mill was the first integrated woolen plant in the country and was on its way to being one of the biggest. It employed 6,400 employees, mostly foreign-born, which was a tenth of the town's population. The mill was a huge factor in the growth of the Passaic area, and most of the buildings remain completely intact.
Most of the mills were under German ownership. Edouard Stoehr was the founder of the Botany Worsted Mills, while his son, Max Stoehr, was the president. However, World War I changed all this. Under the Trading with the Enemy Act, passed by the United States Congress in 1918, the government seized the mills, and Colonel Charles F.H. Johnson would become the new president. Despite the previous German owner's challenges in court, they would not regain ownership.
Although other businesses were growing during the 1920s, the mills in Passaic began to decline. Worker's wages were being cut drastically, and the workers of over 15,000 mills organized the United Front Committee. Brought on by firing one of the three original members, the strike would begin on February 9, 1926. The city began its state of unrest and even invoked the Riot Act, with many striking workers being arrested. Funds were gathered from groups such as the Garland Fund, supported by Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, to support the workers. Soup kitchens and local businesses supported the strikers during this time donned "Hell in New Jersey." Relief for both the mills and the workers would not come until March 1, 1927. Unions and the mills would negotiate on terms bringing the battle to an end. However, many workers were left unemployed or placed in positions with even lower pay.
Although many of the mills were closed, or like the Botany Mills turned into an industrial park, the building structures are fairly the same. Many of the following old mills can be seen today, just under different uses and ownership. The area came together to create the Botany Worsted Mills Historic District that runs along the canal, preserving these structures. Some of the buildings included are the following:
Learn More: A Look Into the History of Passaic, NJ
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Garden State Justice Group
1151 Main Ave, 2nd Fl,
Clifton, NJ 07011