Ivanhoe Mill Wheelhouse

Spruce and Market Streets

Paterson, New Jersey

Passaic County

HAER No. NJ-10




National Park Service

Department of the Interior

Washington, D.C. 20240

DATE: ca. 1851

LOCATION: Spruce and Market Streets, Paterson, New Jersey


OWNER: Unknown


The Ivanhoe Mill Wheelhouse provided the power to the Ivanhoe Mill, a large paper manufacturing establishment. It is the only part of the complex still in existence, and housed a 200 horse power 87-inch Boyden vertical turbine, as well as two smaller turbines.

TRANSMITTED BY: Monica E. Hawley, Historian, 1983


The following is the result of a deed search done at the time of the survey:

Lot #1: "Beginning on the West side of Spruce Street at the Northeast corner of mill lot No. 2, on the new or upper tier of mill seat now occupied by Benson and Godwin and running from thence South 69 degrees West along the North line of lot No. 2 aforesaid 90 feet to the bank of the new middle canal; thence North 70 degrees West along said bank 87 feet; thence North 54 degrees East along the bank of the old middle canal 68 feet to the West side of Spruce Street; thence South 21 degrees East along said street 100 feet in the place of beginning. Being lot NO. 1 on the new or upper tier (sic) of mill lots."1

Lot #2: "Beginning in the third corner of the Lot on which the Ivanhoe Main Mill is erected, being 4 inches Easterly of the Southeast corner of the waste house extending across the middle race; running thence (1) North 32 degrees West 58 feet; thence (2) North 34 degrees 55 minutes west 33 feet seven inches; thence(3) South 53 degrees 15 minutes West 39 feet to a point in a line drawn four inches Westerly and parallel with the West brick wall of said waste house; thence(4) Southerly, parallel with the first line to the line of the Main Mill Lot; thence (5) along the same Easterly to the place of beginning."2

Lot #3 (Boudinot Mill Lot): "Beginning for the same at the southeast corner of Mill lot No. 2, running thence southwesterly in a straight line Mill lot No. 2, running thence southwesterly in a straight line 86 feet; thence southly in a straight line along the Bank of the canal on a level with the second tier of mill sits 100 feet to the northwest corner of mill Lot No. 4; thence north easterly in a straight line 92 feet to said Spruce Street; thence northwesterly 100 feet along the west side of said street to the place of beginning."3

In the following discussion, each mill lot will be handled separately until 1850, when all three came under the control of H. V. Butler & Co predecessors of Ivanhoe Manufacturing Co. After 1850, the three tracts were consolidated into the Ivanhoe Mill lot, and were bought, sold, leased and mortgaged as a single unit.

After abandoning a machine shop on Van Houten Street, Sandy Paul, Hugh Beggs, and David Hogg built "one large 4 story building" on the newly constructed upper race-way in about 1830, and became the first occupants of Ivanhoe Mill lot #l.4 Their building had been. "Designed for the Millwright business and for Cotton Spining (sic)-capable of containing besides the Millwright departmen (sic) 4,000 Cotton Spindles" and constructed on land probably rented from the S.U.M.5

In August of 1832, the S.U.M. sold the lot to Roswell Colt for $10,000) which included the "privilege of taking and using on said lot from the upper canal in rear of said lot and discharging same into new or the old middle square foot of water.6 Colt immediately leased the lot to Paut and Beggs for 21 years, at $1,250 per annum.7 The machinists stay was cut short by a fire which consumed their shop, and destroyed an almost completed locomotive, the first attempted in Paterson of which there is any record 8 Paul left Paterson for Maryland; Beggs left lot #1 for a site across Spruce Street, upon which he was to construct the Union Works building in 1835.

Two years after Paul and Beggs fled the fire, Edward Curtis, Warren Curtis and Melville Curtis leased the tract from Roswell Colt,8 and built a paper mill on the ruins of the machine shop.9 For a year or two, the factory produced up to 12,000 lbs. of paper weekly. At this time, in an unrecorded transaction, Colt assigned the lease on he lot to the S.U.M., to whom Colt had sold the title sometime earlier. After the Curtis's business failed, the mill was occupied by Persse and Brookes of New York who retained it until 1840 when they sold their business to Seymour and Butler, antecedents of H.V. Butler and Co.'0 In 1850, Henry Butler and Robert Taylor leased mill lot #1 from the S.U.M. for 21 years.11

The second mill lot was probably first used by John C. Benson, who built a three story cotton mill, 75'x36' on the site between 1830 and 1831. By 1832, the factory had 1484 spindles spinning 143,700 lbs. of cotton annually, and 40 employees.12 Adjoining the Benson mill was the mill of Rutan and Benson, a structure about the same size and used for the same purpose as the Benson mill, and built about the same time.13 Both were torn down. to accommodate the building of the Ivanhoe Paper factory by Butler and Taylor, who had leased lot #2 from the S.U.M. in 1850.14

The first tenants on the Ivanhoe Lot #3 were also cotton manufacturers. Elisha Clark and Robert 0. Robinson leased the third mill lot from the S.U.M. in 1828,15 intending to exploit the one square foot of water to which they were entitled to power cotton spinning machinery. Apparently, they had been on the site previous to this lease, for in Fisher's 1825 census, it is noted that the cotton mill of Clark and Robinson is "about to commence operation with 480 Spindles" (Occupancy antedated lease).16 By 1829, the factory had expanded to 1416 spindles, which, attended by 49 employees, spun 130,000 lbs. of yarn from 149,500 lbs. of raw cotton annually.17 In I 835, unable to raise the $11,577.79 that they owed on three mortgages taken out the previous year, Clark and Robinson relinquished their leasehold on the lot to the Master in Chancery, who sold it to Roswell Colt, the highest bidder, for $10,466.88.18

Colt then leased the lot to the Boudinot Manufacturing Company later in the same year.19 This may have been a cotton manufactory of E. Boudinot Atterbury's, but this is only supposition.

The lot was sold by the Society in 1840 to Roswell Colt 20 whose heirs sold it to Henry Butler and Robert Taylor in 1851, for $12,000.21

Henry Butler had been involved in paper making in Paterson since 1837, when he had moved his paper manufactory from New York to the Passaic Paper mill, erected earlier that year by Roswell Colt on Rogers Lots #6 and 7.. With the profits of this mill, and additional funds provided by Robert Taylor, a wealthy New York ship owner, H.V. Butler and Company bought Ivanhoe Lot #3, and leased Lots #1 and 2, and proceeded to erect the Ivanhoe Paper mill, which a Scientific American article of 1859 claimed was, " of the most extensive, beautiful and complete establishments in the world."23 It continued with a more tempered description; "Since its commencement, we believe this mill has never stopped three days at a time, though running night and day. The works are driven by three large water-wheels and a steam-engine of 75 horse-power. The main building is on dressed sandstone, and all are fire-proof. Two Fourdrinier machines run off 35,000 lbs. of the finest quality paper every week, and other valuable improvements are in progress of construction. The number of employees at the Ivanhoe mill is 135."24

The New Jersey census of manufacturers of 1860 records that the Butler concern was capitalized at $200,000 at that time, and mashed 800 tons of bale rope, and 900 tons of cotton waste into paper pulp annually. It burned 1400 tons of coal annually for its steam engine.25

Either merging with or incorporated into the Ivanhoe Manufacturing Co. in 1866, Butler and Taylor sold their interests in their paper factory to the company in 1866.26 The deed of this transaction cites a bleach house and drying house, both west of the middle canal, and east of the upper canal. In 1871, Ivanhoe Manufacturing Co. renewed its leases on lots one and two with the S.U.M.27 In 1880, the society assigned its leases on the lots to Samuel Pope, as collateral for several loans he had made to the S.U.M., 28 and a year later, to Eleanor Prall, for the same reason.29 The property was also mortgaged by Ivanhoe to the Newark Savings Institution in 1881, in order to secure a $60,000 loan.30

In the Paper-Makers Directory of that year, a summary of the operation is given,

"Ivanhoe Manufacturing Company, Henry V. Butler, President; Ivanhoe Mill, Spruce Street, Paterson, six 225 horse-power, and two 274 horse-power engines; one 74 inch, and one 84 inch Fourdriniers; product, water, writing, book and copying paper; amount, 7,500 lbs. every twenty-four hours. 31

In addition to steam, power was also supplied by a 200 horse power, 87 inch Boyden turbine, and two smaller turbines. Total annual output of the Ivanhoe Works in 1881 was about 2,600,000 lbs.32 According to a New Jersey Census of the time, the mill employed 76 men, 44 women, and nine childreh.33

Defaulting on the $60,000 mortage, the Iv&hoe works were seized and put on the auction block in 1886, and sold to John S. Barkalow, who submitted the high bid of $67,400.34 Barkalow conveyed the property the same day to The Ivanhoe Paper Company, which had been incorporated one month earlier, before the sale of the factory. Ivanhoe Paper borrowed $73,150 from Barkalow to pay for the purchase,35 and Barkalow immediately assigned the mortgage over to the Paterson Savings Institution.36 Declaring bankruptcy in 1888, the company was sold to Edward Burns, trustee for the bank, by Garret Hobart, the court appointed receiver of the concern.37 In 1889, a new company, The Ivanhoe Paper Mills, was incorporated, and was sold the properties by Burns.38 This firm failed and the lots passed through the hands of the National Paper Co., which failed, the United Paper Company, which failed, and William Penninyton, who bought the property in 1893,39 and sold it to the Paterson Savings.Institution in 1898.40 The Paterson Savings Institution sold the lease to lots one and two, and the title to lot three, to the SUM in 1901.41


1. Essex K 592.

2. Passaic R 196.

3. Essex I 628.

4. Fisher's 1832 Census.

5. Ibid.

6. Essex K 592.

7. Abstract of the Ivanhoe Mill Lots, p. 12. Unrecorded deed.

8. Trumbull p. 78.

9. Abstract, p. 13.

10. Sci. Am., 1859, p. 330.

11. Passaic R 188.

12. Fisher 1832 Census.

13. Trumbull p. 58.

14. Passaic R 188.

15. Essex 1 628.

16. Fisher 1825

17 Fisher 1829

18. Essex L-369.

19. Essex L 375.

20. Passaic 6 198.

21. Ibid R 155.

22. Sd. Am. p. 330.

23. Ibid.

24. N.J. Census 1860.

25. Passaic Deeds: z-2, 588.

26. Ibid: Z-3, 313.

27. Ibid: 0-6, 19.

28. Ibid: 1-7, 486.

29. Ibid: 0-2, 280.

30. Trumbull 283.

31. Ibid.

32. New Jersey Census 1880.

33. Ibid: F-8, 53.

34. Ibid: 2-2, 618.

35. Ibid: T-288

36. Ibid: G-9, 146.

37. Ibid: N-9, 618.

38. Ibid: N-if, 252.

39. Ibid: A-15, 180.

40. Ibid: X-14, 615.

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