Eagle Cotton Factory/Standard Silk Mill
John Chadwicks Sr. was born in Lancashire England in 1783 and after coming to America, he learned the textile trade. In 1813 he and his partners, Abner Brownell and Ira Todd, purchased John Greenleaf's saw mill, along the Sauquoit Creek, and moved it to the eastern part of the village and converted it into a dwelling house. On the property when the saw mil once stood, they built a wooden frame cotton mill. It was known as the Eagle Cotton Factory and was equipped with the latest machinery. Broad silk and calico printed fabric were produced. The firm dissolved some years after. Mr. Chadwick remained at the Eagle and added improvements as his business demanded. Extensive additions were erected and filled with costly and improved machinery, After his death, his son George Jr. took over operations.
Near the close of one sultry summer day, June 25, 1884, the builders were putting on the finishing touches. The particular length of lightning rod with the weathervane had been erected high in the air without attaching the other lengths reaching to the ground connection, when the sharp clang of the bell beneath them announced the day's work done. An hour or two of another day and all would be finished. But the setting sun sank into a dense black cloud that overspread the valley. From the inky blackness leaped a single vivid gleam of lightning, down the rod into the mill, glinting along the rows of machinery and bales of fleecy cotton. Instantly all was ablaze. Within a few hours nothing but the smoking ruins remained of those extensive mills with not one dollar of insurance and only courage and iron will left of yesterday's prosperity and affluence. A new Stone Mill was built which is pictured above.. During the years it was largely extended by his son and successor, George W. Chadwick. After his death the mills were sold to a New York firm and they later turned them into the present Standard Silk Mills.