Essex Horse Nail Company in Essex, New York

Welcome to my gallery of Essex Horse Nail Company artifacts. I’m intrigued by artifacts that offer a window into bygone Essex heritage and buildings such at the Essex Horse Nail Company which once stood proud and productive on the site of present day Beggs Park.

During the endless process of rehabilitating Rosslyn, I have assembled a vast treasure trove (“treasure” in my odd opinion, at least!) of Rosslyn artifacts and miscellaneous relics related to EssexLake Champlain, and the Adirondacks.

While resuscitating Rosslyn, we have discovered lots of local artifacts, relics, memorabilia and esoterica. And — a bit like archeologists poking through ancient midden heaps — we have deciphered and guessed the relevance and context of rotting lineament bottles, wallpaper shards, yellowing postcards, etc. Our burgeoning collection of Rosslyn artifacts, Essex artifacts, Lake Champlain artifacts, and Adirondack artifacts comprises a veritable “digital museum” of curated collectibles all directly or indirectly related to the historic William Daniel Ross home in Essex, New York. (Rosslyn Redux)

Many of the Essex Horse Nail Company artifacts in this gallery have been showcased at Essex on Lake Champlain, the community blog for Essex, New York. I’m perennially on the lookout for local artifacts that help fill a visual and informational void, so if you are aware of additional Essex Horse Nail Company artifacts that I’m missing, please let me know. Thanks.

Essex Horse Nail Company Gallery

Essex Horse Nail Company in Essex, New York
Essex Horse Nail Company in Essex, New York

The Essex Horse Nail Company was located on Beggs Point… It manufactured nails for horse shoes… for almost two decades until the factory was destroyed in a fire in 1918.

“Later 19th century industry on Beggs Point included Essex’s only factory building, first occupied by the Essex Manufacturing Company to 1877, then by Lyon and Palmer blind and sash manufactory until 1879, followed by the Essex Horse Nail Company Limited from 1880 to 1918, which in 1885 employed 60 or 70 hands.” (Essex on Lake Champlain by David C. Hislop, pg. 55)

As the factory was only in operation from 1880 to 1918 that dates that photo to some point in or between those years. After the fire the area was barren, and in the 1920s the area was landscaped into Beggs Park which remains public green space today. (Source: Vintage Photo: Essex Horse Nail Factory | Essex on Lake Champlain)

Essex Horse Nail Factory in Essex, New York
Essex Horse Nail Factory in Essex, New York

Essex Horse Nail Factory… burned in a fire that destroyed the factory in 1918 (which date the photo to that year or prior). After it was gone the area was turned into Beggs Park which remains today. Learn more about its history here. (Source: Vintage Photo: Horse Nail Factory | Essex on Lake Champlain)

Essex Horse Nail Company Factory in Essex, New York
Essex Horse Nail Company Factory in Essex, New York

Robert Hammerslag: ECHO and/or the ECHS did an oral history project back in the 70s. It was headed up by Betsy Tisdale. One of the tapes was a recollection of the fire. I am sure the tapes must be available. I can see the Fire Dept, Ross Store, Community Church and maybe the Noble Clemons House at the upper left.

Todd Goff: Bob, a quick search shows c. 1973 tapes of, “Rev. Stephen F. Bayne of Essex, N.Y. talks about the horseshoe nail factory fire in Essex in 1918.” are in Potsdam Library and Blue Mtn Lake. I will look up at HSX. for them too. Thanks for the heads up. It would be good to digitize them.

Robert Hammerslag: Yes, unless it has already been done, it would be good to digitize those old cassette tapes while it’s still possible. They could be forty years old!

David Hislop: The Essex Heritage Center featuring the Essex Town Historian Office which…has had this audio tape of the Reverend and visuals playing on a feature loop. Stop by to see it and learn more! (Source: Vintage Postcard: View from Steamer of Essex, NY | Essex on Lake Champlain)

Essex Horse Nail Company Factory in Essex, New York
Essex Horse Nail Company Factory in Essex, New York

Another postcard was submitting to us by Todd Goff after he saw us share the above postcard. Thank you very much for adding to our digital collection!His postcard reads, “Steamboat landing of the Lake Champlain Transportation Co., at Essex on Lake Champlain, N.Y.” This postcard shows us an alternate view of the same scene. The photo is looking north up the lake and we can see the side of the Horse Nail Factory in the center of the image along with other facets of this section of the Essex waterfront at this time. (Source: Vintage Postcard: View from Steamer of Essex, NY | Essex on Lake Champlain)

Essex Horse Nail Company Factory in Essex, New York, circa 1909.
Essex Horse Nail Company Factory in Essex, New York, circa 1909.

According to the back of the postcard the photo was originally published by “J.S. Wooley, Ballston Spa, NY.” In the center of the photo we can see the old horse nail factory that burned down in 1918. Take a look at other postcards featuring this factory for a better look and to learn more. This building being present here tells us the photo was taken before 1918. As “25.8.09” is written on the face of this postcard we can assume that this may have been the date (August 25, 1909) the postcard was created or possibly the date it was sent… (Source: Vintage Postcard: Essex from Lake Champlain (1909) | Essex on Lake Champlain)

Essex Horse Nail Company/Factory located where Beggs Park is today.
Essex Horse Nail Company/Factory located where Beggs Park is today.

Dianne Lansing: That’s the Horseshoe nail factory on the right…one of several in the photo that are no longer there…

Katie Shepard: This Essex lakefront view does have the old Horse Nail Factory to the right, which burned in 1918 and the location is Beggs Park today… The postage mark is a little hard to make out but I believe it matches the date written out, which reads: “9/22/09.” […] The back of the postcard also tells us that the publisher is “W.H. Cruikshank” in Essex, NY. The name has appeared as the publisher on several of the old postcards that we’ve shared on the blog. (Source: Vintage Postcard: Essex Lakefront Scene | Essex on Lake Champlain)

Essex Horse Nail Company Factory (Source: Susie Drinkwine via Essex on Lake Champlain)
Essex Horse Nail Company Factory (Source: Susie Drinkwine via Essex on Lake Champlain)

The church steeple in the center is the Essex Baptist Church and to the far right the tall object (tower? pipe?) is part of the Essex Horse Nail Company‘s factory. Both are now absent from the town due to fire which destroyed the church in 1943 and the factory in 1918, which dates the photo pre-1918. (Source: Vintage Photo: Essex Waterfront with Nail Factory | Essex on Lake Champlain)

Essex Horse Nail Co. Factory in Essex, NY
Essex Horse Nail Co. Factory in Essex, NY

This week we’re happy to share this black and white photo dated to about c. 1900-1910… I believe I see the part of the old Horse Nail Factory on the far right of the photo. Do you agree?  (Source: Vintage Photo: Essex Waterfront | Essex on Lake Champlain)

Rosslyn bathhouse, boathouse, and the steam yacht, Kestrel, are center foreground, the Old Dock is center background with Essex Horse Nail Co. Factory at far left. (Source: Shirley LaForest via Essex on Lake Champlain)
Rosslyn bathhouse, boathouse, and the steam yacht, Kestrel, are center foreground, the Old Dock is center background with Essex Horse Nail Co. Factory at far left. (Source: Shirley LaForest via Essex on Lake Champlain)

Although Rosslyn’s bathhouse, boathouse (and the Kaiser family’s steam yacht, Kestrel) occupy the center foreground, the Essex Horse Nail Co. Factory’s smoke stack is just visible at the far left of the Old Dock (center background).

Horse Nails and Crate from Essex Horse Nail Company / Factory (Source: Dianne Lansing via Essex on Lake Champlain)
Horse Nails and Crate from Essex Horse Nail Company / Factory (Source: Dianne Lansing via Essex on Lake Champlain)

This photograph popped up in my Facebook feed about a week ago, posted by my neighbor Dianne Lansing with the following description.

“A special gift from a very dear friend. It’s an original box of horseshoe nails made at the Essex Horseshoe Nail Factory which was located at what is now Beggs Park.” ~ Source: Diane Lansing, Facebook, March 14 at 9:16pm

Situated on a commanding promontory overlooking Lake Champlain, the Essex Horse Nail Company occupied the site of several earlier industries. The Essex Horseshoe Nail Factory burned long ago, so it’s veiled in a bit of mystery. (Source: Essex Horse Nails | Essex on Lake Champlain)

Envelope from Essex Horse Nail Co., Limited in Essex, New York, circa 1898.
Envelope from Essex Horse Nail Co., Limited in Essex, New York, circa 1898.

I spied this intriguing artifact in an eBay auction. It’s a canceled envelope for a letter, invoice, something… sent from the Essex Horse Nail Co., Limited in Essex, New York on August 16, 1898 (year cited in eBay auction, though I’m unable to verify) to Mr. D. J. Payne in Wadhams Mills, New York. (Source: Essex Horse Nail Company and Wadhams Mills » Rosslyn Redux)

My "doodlebomb" of the Essex Horse Nail Company including the enterprise's logo (top center).
My “doodlebomb” of the Essex Horse Nail Company including the enterprise’s logo (top center).

While researching and illustrating the Essex, New York Architecture: A Doodler’s Field Guide I “doodlebombed”several vintage images of Essex landmarks including the Essex Horse Nail Co. Not much of an artifact? Sorry!

About virtualDavis

A writer, storyteller and unabashed flâneur, George Davis (aka virtualDavis or G.G. Davis, Jr.) is the author of Rosslyn Redux: Reawakening a home, a dream and ourselves, a transmedia chronicle about rehabilitating an historic property in the Adirondacks with his bride. He blogs about storytelling, poetry, doodling, marginalia, flânerie, publishing, and other creativity-inspired esoterica at virtualDavis.com; posts sometimes exhilarating, often unnerving, occasionally euphoric, and always pollyanna "midlife mashups" at 40x41.com; chronicles his sailing adventures (and misadventures) at Sailing Errant; and delves into matters of parenting, babylandia, and childfreedom at Why No Kids? George formerly taught and coached at Santa Fe Preparatory School and The American School of Paris, and he co-founded and launched Maison Margaux: "Paris à la parisienne" in Faubourg Saint-Germain. He currently owns and operates Adobe Oasis in Santa Fe, New Mexico with his bride. George meanders on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, YouTube and Flickr.
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