Stories of 2019: Monadnock Paper Mill turns 200

  • Monadnock Paper Mills celebrated its 200th anniversary with a big party at its Bennington facility with demonstrations, live music, games and a barbecue lunch in October. Staff photo by Tim Goodwin

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 1/2/2020 11:58:00 AM
Modified: 1/2/2020 11:57:39 AM

Throughout 2019 Monadnock Paper Mills celebrated its 200th anniversary as a business.

Moody Butler founded the business – known as Paper Mill or Bennington Paper Mill – near the banks of the Contoocook River in 1819. When it first started the mill produced handmade paper for writing, accounting ledgers and books.

Monadnock Paper Mills has been in continuous operation since 1819 and is considered the oldest continuously-operated paper mill in the United States.

“The mill was founded following the War of 1812 when an embargo was put on English goods, including paper. The people in the area decided they needed an indigenous source of paper. The first mechanical equipment was installed in 1835 and the mill has been churning out paper ever since,” according to manufacturing.net.

In an interview with the Monadnock Ledger-Transcript earlier this year, current CEO Richard Verney said the reason for the paper mill’s success is that it has continued to stay relevant in the paper making industry by keeping up with trends and what is next in the industry.

Over the course of its 200 years, the mill has made just about anything and everything a paper mill could be asked to make.

There was a short time it used logs to create the pulp for the paper. But these days the mill uses recycled fibers for its raw material. And over the years it has made a wide variety of paper products including, vacuum bags, medical packaging, paper for gift cards and paper for price tags that hang on clothes.

To Lisa Berghaus, director of marketing and communications at Monadnock Paper Mills, the paper mill represents “a true American success story founded on hard work and ingenuity,” she says on the paper mill website. “While papermaking has been consolidating worldwide, our commitment to sustainability coupled with our investments in people, technology, processes, and products has earned us the pleasure of celebrating 200 years of continuous American papermaking.”

Currently, Monadnock Paper Mills employees 160 people at its Bennington facility.

Throughout the year, there have been company wide celebrations and acknowledgements of the 200th anniversary. From a Bennington Historical Society talk to public tours and a community party in the fall.


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