Amsterdam, New York
Not nearly as extensive as the Sanford or Mohawk/McCleary & Co mills had been, the Chalmers Knitting Mill nonetheless was a formidable presence on Amsterdam's south shore of the Mohawk River, where it is the major industrial ruin today. The Chalmers mill was built in the 1910s on what previously had been F. Gilliland Son's Planing Mill, the Amsterdam Lumber Company's yard, and the City Dumping Ground. Chalmers's was not a rug factory like the big players in town, but a textile mill that produced underwear. Not "boxers or briefs," but basically long underwear that was common in the late 19th and early 20th century. The underwear factory closed in 1959, but the buildings remained in use by other small industrial firms. None lasted too long, and the mill slowly became vacant over the next several decades.
The ruin is something of a political ping-pong ball at the moment. In 2007, the building was slated for demolition. the City of Amsterdam received 1.4 million dollars through a state program called Restore NY for the intention of demolishing the Chalmers mill (wow, there really is no shame in the ironic name of that program). Part of the program required a review from the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation (OPRHP), which must have found that the mill was not historically significant and signed off on the demolition.
A year later, developer Uri
Kaufman (of Harmony
Mills lofts in Cohoes, NY) announced plans to renovate the mill into condominium loft apartments.
The City's Common Council rejected Kaufman's plan in 2009, and demolition plans
were again underway. Contractors were invited to tour the building late in 2010
prior to submitting bids for abatement and demolition. In early 2011, Kaufman
filed a lawsuit to block the demolition. Also early in 2011, the Chalmers Knitting Mill was
listed on the National Register of Historic Places (presumably following another,
now positive, review by New York State OPRHP). So, for now the Chalmers mill remains a south
UPDATE JANUARY 2012: I believe the Chalmers mill has been totally razed. It was half-demolished when I last visited in October 2011.
These photographs were taken March, 2011.
Interesting building southeast across the street.
Sweet's Erie Canal Store (c. 1850), now appears to be a home.
This is located just south of the Chalmers mill.
Sanborn Insurance Company map, 1926.
Sanborn Insurance Company map, 1911. "Right-click" and view image to enlarge.
Here is an historic interior view of a similar room. More images here.
More Chalmers Knitting Mill - Page 2
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