House and Home: Greenville’s Columbian Manufacturing Company office building renovated and for sale

  • The old Columbian Manufacturing Company Office Building at 1 Temple St. in Greenville, recently renovated and listed for sale by Ron Schaeffer, of Mason. Staff photo by Emari Traffie

  • The walk-in safe in the basement of the building Staff photo by Emari Traffie

  • Dental Work below the roof Staff photo by Emari Traffie—EMARI TRAFFIE

  • Ron Schaeffer standing by the front door of his renovated house Staff photo by Emari Traffie—EMARI TRAFFIE

  • The old Columbian Manufacturing Company office building at 1 Temple St. in Greenville, was recently renovated and listed for sale by Ronald Schaeffer, of Mason. Staff photo by Emari Traffie

  • The old Columbian Manufacturing Company office building at 1 Temple St. in Greenville, was recently renovated and listed for sale by Ronald Schaeffer, of Mason. Staff photo by Emari Traffie

  • The old Columbian Manufacturing Company office building at 1 Temple St. in Greenville, was recently renovated and listed for sale by Ronald Schaeffer, of Mason. Staff photo by Emari Traffie

  • The old Columbian Manufacturing Company office building at 1 Temple St. in Greenville, was recently renovated and listed for sale by Ronald Schaeffer, of Mason. Staff photo by Emari Traffie

  • The old Columbian Manufacturing Company office building at 1 Temple St. in Greenville, was recently renovated and listed for sale by Ronald Schaeffer, of Mason. Staff photo by Emari Traffie

  • The old Columbian Manufacturing Company office building at 1 Temple St. in Greenville, was recently renovated and listed for sale by Ronald Schaeffer, of Mason. Staff photo by Emari Traffie

  • The old Columbian Manufacturing Company office building at 1 Temple St. in Greenville, was recently renovated and listed for sale by Ronald Schaeffer, of Mason. Staff photo by Emari Traffie

  • The old Columbian Manufacturing Company office building at 1 Temple St. in Greenville, was recently renovated and listed for sale by Ronald Schaeffer, of Mason. Staff photo by Emari Traffie

  • The old Columbian Manufacturing Company office building at 1 Temple St. in Greenville, was recently renovated and listed for sale by Ronald Schaeffer, of Mason. Staff photo by Emari Traffie

  • The old Columbian Manufacturing Company office building at 1 Temple St. in Greenville, was recently renovated and listed for sale by Ronald Schaeffer, of Mason. Staff photo by Emari Traffie—EMARI TRAFFIE

  • The old Columbian Manufacturing Company office building at 1 Temple St. in Greenville, was recently renovated and listed for sale by Ronald Schaeffer, of Mason. Staff photo by Emari Traffie—EMARI TRAFFIE

  • WWI soldiers standing outside of the office building at 1 Temple St. Courtesy Photo—Marcel Bernier

  • Courtesy Photo—Marcel Bernier

  • Courtesy Photo—Marcel Bernier

  • Courtesy Photo—Marcel Bernier

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 11/18/2021 9:30:21 AM

Geographically and economically, Greenville has been shaped by the textile industry. Marshall Buttrick, president of the Greenville Historical Society, explained that the Columbian Manufacturing Company, established as “Remsen” in 1826, produced textiles, mainly denim, in mill buildings along the Souhegan River for nearly 100 years. The falls along the river were a perfect location to harness water power, used to drive mill machinery and later electricity.

In 1872, the Columbian Manufacturing Company office building was constructed in the center of town. Still there today and converted to a house, the big brick building is settled in the wedge between Main and Temple streets. Standing outside of the home, which he bought and renovated in 2020, Ron Schaeffer pointed down towards the Souhegan River.

“Most of these brick buildings were related to the [Columbian Manufacturing Company] mills,” he said.

Buttrick said Columbian Manufacturing Company was a huge employer in the area, with hundreds of people working in the factories. Many of the employees were women.

The office building is slightly uphill from the mills. Nearby is the Red Brick Inn, likely used as a boarding house during the mill days, and on the other side of Main Street next to the library of the same name is the Chamberlain house, owned by a family that ran a successful grist and furniture mill and a lumber mill down the river.

The two-story office building, located at 1 Temple St., has a big star on one side. Walking around the building, admiring the original decorative brick outcroppings set below the roof line, Schaeffer said, “This is called dental work.”

He added that many of the brick buildings (but not the office building) around town would have been two or three stories taller back in the early mill days. Buttrick explained that the top levels were removed due to fears that they might collapse.

Inside is a wide staircase running up to the second level. The top floor of the office was once a big open room, “an auditorium space,” Schaeffer said, where events and gatherings were held.

“Everyone worked for the mill in town in those days,” he explained, and the Columbian Manufacturing Company’s office building was a central meeting point for the community. The Independent Order of the Odd Fellows and other “fraternal societies would have held meetings there,” Buttrick confirmed.

Since then, the floor has been converted into smaller rooms and a kitchen area, which could be used as a separate apartment space.

The first floor of the building is sunny with tall ceilings and some original beams exposed.

“I had to dig some of the light fixtures out of the plaster,” Schaeffer said.

This floor held the offices, and mill workers may have come here to collect their wages from the paymaster. The kitchen has new appliances and fresh paint but maintains the feel of a historic space.

“There’s a photo of World War I soldiers standing lined up on the balcony right outside,” Schaeffer said.

Buttrick said the house probably continued to serve as an office building for the mills into the 1950s, long after the Columbian Manufacturing Company owned them. In the early 1970s, it was converted into a doctor’s office, then eventually became a residence.

Schaeffer and his wife have bought a number of historic houses in the region. They fix them up and resell them, and in the process Schaeffer said he likes to learn the history of the buildings and makes an effort to preserve their historical features. Schaeffer said the house was in bad shape when he bought it. He has repainted, redone some flooring, does all his own electrical and plumbing,and has even added a sink vanity and towering mirror to the bedroom downstairs.

The basement is a short space with exposed stone walls and a huge safe. Inside the white brick walls of the safe is a walk-in space with shelving on each side. Buttrick theorized it was probably used to store money and important documents.

The house at 1 Temple St. sits at the heart of Greenville. It holds a rich history deeply tied to the town, and with new interior renovations, it is ready to be someone’s home.

The house is for sale. Schaeffer is asking $315,000. Those interested should contact him directly at 603-320-4629 or email rschaeffer072657@gmail.com.


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