Hudson River Mill was the largest of the seventeen pulp and
paper mills in New York State and New England that were purchased
to form the International Paper Company in 1898. IP immediately
became the largest paper company in the world, and the Hudson
River Mill its largest and most productive plant. Photographs
and other graphic documents show that in just twenty-nine
years the Hudson River Pulp and Paper Company dramatically
expanded pulp and paper production facilities at Palmer Falls,
from two small, wood-frame structures into a sprawling complex
of red brick buildings. International Paper had essentially
acquired a "turn-key" pulp and paper mill.
In the early decades of the 20th century International Paper continued to utilize the most modern and efficient technologies for the production of wood pulp and newsprint at the Hudson River Mill. In 1902 a major remodeling of the groundwood mill was begun with the installation of the first of several 1000-watt General Electric generators that would be powered by Palmer Falls to drive pulpwood grinders and to supply electricity throughout the Mill.
The increase in
pulp production that resulted from the renovation of the groundwood
mill spurred the installation of two additional steam-powered
paper machines in 1906 to replace older, water-driven ones.
But the Hudson River Mill's new groundwood plant was unable
to supply enough mechanical pulp to meet the increased production
capacity of the new and faster paper machines, known in the
modern era at the Mill as No. 3 and No. 4 machines. Modern
paper machines that were being powered by oil-fired boilers
featured both a wider roll and increased machine speed that
demanded that more pulp be supplied to their headboxes.
|Curtis Mill (1921)
wood pulp accounted for approximately eighty percent of the
pulp used in newsprint. Although the Hudson River Mill continued
to produce large quantities of sulphite pulp, it now had to
purchase pulp laps from other mills to meet the pulp demanded
by its new steam-powered paper machines. Sometime after 1907,
plans were underway to build a groundwood mill at Curtis Falls,
a quarter-mile upriver from Palmer Falls. By 1913, the Curtis
Manufacturing Company - privately owned by the Curtis Family
and operated by Warren Curtis Jr. - was producing groundwood
pulp under contract with International Paper. A new rail spur
was built to the Curtis Mill from the main Delaware and Hudson
line that led to the Hudson River Mill, and soon fresh groundwood
was being sent downriver from the Curtis Mill to the Hudson
River Mill through an elevated, fourteen-inch wide pipeline.
By the 1910's the
Hudson River Mill had become a leading producer of both wood
pulp and newsprint. The Mill's ability to produce pulp in
quantities sufficient to supply the growing production capacity
of its paper machines was a result of its proximately to the
abundant timber on land that it owned in the Adirondacks,
and to the capacity of the Hudson to power two groundwood
mills. Sometime after 1890, and increasingly after International
Paper began to purchase larger tracts of New York State woodlands,
the Hudson River Mill started to build a large reserve of
pulpwood in its upper mill yard rather than rely on daily
rail shipments and pay seasonally fluctuating pulp wood prices.
Burliegh's 1888 birds-eye view map of Corinth shows a small reserve of pulpwood near the terminus of Hudson River Mill's upper-mill yard rail spur. But a photograph of the Hudson River Mill yard that appeared in the 1897 New York State Fish and Game Department Annual Report suggests that by then a large pulpwood reserve was in place. Within twenty years, two, eight-story high piles of pulpwood lined each side of the rail spur leading to the Hudson River Mill. Pulpwood became ubiquitous within the Palmer section of Corinth, as the piles stretched from the Mill's main office, westward nearly 1000 feet behind the homes and businesses on Palmer Avenue.
The substantial pulpwood reserves that lay in the yard of Hudson River Mill became a part of the community landscape and served as a symbol of the Mill's productive capacity. By 1927, when International Paper commissioned a panoramic photograph of the Mill's pulpwood supply, 90,000 cords of pulpwood lay in reserve, enough to supply the Hudson River Mill's paper machines for nine months. At the time, approximately one and one-quarter cords of wood was required to produce one ton of newsprint that was used to print the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Sunday Mirror, and the New York Herald Tribune.