Timber yard at the Racquette River Paper Company in Potsdam

In 1892, George Wing Sisson Sr. bought the site of the old Union Mill at Unionville, on the east side of the Racquette River, for $50,000. The old saw mill was torn down and the Racquette River Paper Company was built. A new wooden dam and flume were also constructed. Production began with three wood pulp grinders and one paper machine. In the early days, the mill produced only a few grades of paper, including “Manilla, Butcher Fibre, and general ¬†Wrappers”. Eventually, the Racquette River Paper Company became known for specialty papers such as filter, map and Braille papers, and embossed and printed papers for national companies including Sears, Montgomery Ward, and Rexall. The entire plant was rebuilt between 1908 and 1910, making it among the most modern paper mills in the country. By 1951, four generations of Sissons were involved in the company. One of the few 19th-century industries to have survived in Potsdam, the Racquette River Paper Company is known today as the Mead Specialty Paper Company. Circa 1924. Potsdam, NY.

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