Sheffield Paper Company

View of the Sheffield paper mills, from the 1875 Beers Atlas.

    Along the serene Esopus Creek in Saugerties stands a 19th-century paper mill, partly reused, partly in ruins. "The Mill at Saugerties," a senior-citizen rental facility, is one of the great examples of the preservation of old industrial buildings here in the Hudson Valley. Mills in particular seem to lend themselves very well to adaptive reuse, due to large amounts of open floor space with few interior obstructions, and numerous windows that fit into smaller apartment rooms. The apartments were built into a late 1880s envelope factory and book bindery. The rest of the mill, or what remains, can be found further back in the woods along the creek, seemingly as part of some semi-quasi-public park.

    About 1830, one Henry Barclay built a paper mill at this site; nearby he also constructed the Ulster Iron Works. Barclay figured to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the recent completion of the Erie Canal, opening up New York's interior to trade. Thirty years later, the Sheffield family rebuilt the paper mills, which continued to expand and redevelop at least through the 1920s. Like many 19th-century industrialists, the Sheffields were a prominent local family who owned homes not far from their factories. At the southern gateway to the village of Saugerties, company president William R. Sheffield's own mansion, Clovelea (more recently a restaurant known as the Dragon Inn), stands abandoned - a restoration project there seems perpetually stalled. 

    Other mills, including the Cantine and Diamond mills, were built along the Esopus at Saugerties, taking advantage of the power of the falls over which Route 9W passes today. The Cantine Company took over the Sheffield Mills in 1903. The Cantine mill on the north side of the creek burned in 1978, three years after the mills closed for good. Around the same time and in the following decades, other paper mills in New York followed suit. Some have disappeared entirely, and others hang in the balance for now, surely to be demolished soon, but the Sheffield Mills at least in part offer hope for the preservation of other industrial buildings along the Hudson.

View of the envelope factory, now "The Mill at Saugerties" seniors' apartments.

Envelope factory at left, blank book bindery at right.

Sheffield Paper Company, from the 1887 Sanborn insurance map. The ruins that 
survive today are located in the vicinity of Mill No. 1, shown at lower right.


Interior view of the ruins.

More Sheffield Paper Company photos:
Sheffield Paper Company - Page 2


Yaz’ Hudson Valley Ruins 
and Abandoned Buildings, etc.

Yaz’ Hudson Valley Ruins and Abandoned Buildings, etc.

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This page copyright © 2007 by Robert J. Yasinsac. 
Reproduction of these photos without the permission of Robert Yasinsac is prohibited.