Conantville Mill

Lost Mansfield > Conantville Mill

LOST MANSFIELD # 11: THE CONANTVILLE SILK MILL.

Conantville Mill
The silk mill in Conantville, c. 1910. The long building on the hill behind the mill is the boarding house for the mill workers. The small brick building next to the mill is the silk vault where the valuable finished product was stored before being shipped to merchants or consumers.

In 1853, Joseph Conant built a small silk mill and dye house on this site. The village that grew up around it soon became known as Conantville. The mill was purchased by Charles L. Bottum, W. E. Williams and D. P. Conant in 1856 and then passed through a number of hands.

Conantville Mill
The east side of the silk mill, c. 1910. The lower part of the structure is the mill’s dye house.
Conantville Mill 1915
Employees of Max Pollack & Co., c. 1915. The company manufactured silk thread and twist in the mill from 1908 through1920. In 1921, it moved its silk operation to a new plant in Groton. Thereafter Max Pollack & Co. produced mercerized cotton thread at the Conantville mill. The mill remained in operation into the 1940s.

The mill was doubled in size in 1869 when it was under the ownership of Charles L. Bottum. The last business to produce silk thread in this mill was Max Pollack & Co. which operated there from 1901 into the 1940s. The mill then had several incarnations — as a dance palace known as Pollack’s Park, a chicken farm, the All Day Motel (Mansfield’s first “wet” establishment), and finally as The Shaboo Inn, a popular nightclub in the 1970s into the early ‘80s. The music venue closed in April 1982 and then that August, the building was gutted by fire.

Conantville Mill
The Shaboo Inn, as seen from the parking lot of East Brook Mall which opened in April of 1975. The mill’s old water tower served as an advertising landmark, drawing music lovers from miles around to the popular venue. The nightclub featured many noted and rising blues and rock musicians during the 1970s into the early ‘80s.

This series is made possible by a Capacity Building Grant from The Last Green Valley, Inc.

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