Upper Factory

The dam at the Upper Factory was built about 1762. Over the years a forge, cotton factory, grist mill, shovel mill, and saw mill were powered here by the Nemasket River. The forge operated for approximately 70 years. During this time the ownership changed several times and was rebuilt after being partially destroyed by fire in 1785. In 1813 a cotton factory was erected under the name of the "New Market", Manufacturing Company. An act of legislation created this new company for the purpose of manufacturing iron, cotton and woolen cloth, and yarn with power to hold real estate not exceeding $50,000, and personal estate not exceeding $150,000. Among the incorporators was a man named Peter H. Pierce, whose heirs have made a great contribution to the town of Middleborough.

The cotton factory did well until the depression of this industry in New England forced them to abandon it. The company then passed into a co-partnership in 1864 known as the Nemasket Manufacturing Company. A store and grist-mill were located here for many years. Colonel Peter H. Pierce was among the leading business men connected with this company too. The company was sold to others in 1867. The new proprietors expected to spend $40,000 for new machinery. This was a sizeable sum when one notices ads in the same paper for blankets costing $4.25, white shirts for $4.50 and umbrellas for $.75 each. The article further stated that the shovel business would employ between 50 to 100 people.

In a referendum to the town warrant in 1867 was a change in the location of the herring way at the Upper Works. The shovel and hammer shops were located very near the present channel. The new channel was cut through a few rods east of the works. The company would cut the canal while the town expense would be the moving of the bridge. The shovel mill, however, was destroyed by a fire in 1868. The ruins of the burned mill remained well into the 1900's.

The Clark and Cole sawmill established around 1888 on this same dam was the largest one in the center of town. As the iron industry became the second leading industry in Middleborough and the shoe industry became the leading one, the sawmills wooden boxes for shipping of boots and shoes made it a thriving business. The very wide boards produced by the mills up and down saw were in great demand for the building of houses. The output of lumber is said to have been a million feet a year and boxes shipped by the carload every day. With the coming of cardboard boxes, the box business declined in 1909 the firm went bankrupt. The property was sold at auction in 1914 to Judge Sullivan who later sold it. The Lobl Manufacturing Company makers of surgical and hospital supplies was established.