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Vernon history: The match factory, Part II

By Jan Peduzzi, Vernon Historians

An article about the Match Factory was written in September based on stories I’d heard and questions they raised. This update is based on recently found written information.

With Barbara Moseley’s passing the Historians inherited several boxes of Barbara’s treasures. In going through one of these boxes I happened across a booklet, “A Souvenir of the Dedication Vernon Town Office Building and Vernon Free Library.” This was dated January 23, 1971. While browsing through the booklet I happened across the picture of the factory and a couple of paragraphs under the heading of Vernon Depot, which was located in that same area. This article was probably written by Barbara.

The depot was erected by the railroad as part of an agreement with Jarvis F. Burrows (who built the large hotel across the road) which encouraged the building of a steam sawmill nearby in 1852. Constructed by a company known as Ely, Newkirk & Frink, the mill did an extensive business in clearing up land and manufacturing lumber. The location afforded ideal rail transportation, and different companies rebuilt twice on this site after disastrous fires.

For several years after 1865, the mill-factory manufactured the friction matches, along with wooden boxes and some chair parts. Apparently abandoned about 1878, the building remained until the early 1900’s, when small boys in the neighborhood would visit the dilapidated structure, taking home a dogcart full of undipped matchwood to be used for kindling. Made like a small wooden comb, with each match being split off as needed, they were known as “eight-day matches” because it seemed more than a week before the sulphur smoldered away, to provide a flame!!!

As Vernon Historians we strive to collect, display, and present interesting and accurate accounts as to how Vernon began up to the present time. Visiting the past is an educational and eye-opening experience. Who knows, there might even be another update on the Match Factory!