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In 1869, Clarksburg's E. R. Tinker powder mill exploded, bringing to an end the town's eight-year stretch of manufacturing black gunpowder.
The explosion may have represented a speed bump along Clarksburg's road to progress, but some might also have considered it a celebratory bang. As irony would have it, the explosion marked the 100-year anniversary of Clarksburg's original settlement.
Captain Matthew Ketchum, Colonel William Bullock, and Nicholas Clark are credited with having originally settled the eventual township in 1769, and the latter ultimately became Clarksburg's namesake.
Clarksburg's pioneering families first settled in the level plateaus west of Route 8 and along the upper reaches of the Hoosic River's north branch. This portion of the territory provided the sustenance needed to assure necessary crop yields.
That original settlement would eventually evolve into a turn-of-the-century "Briggsville," and by 1829, Briggsville (which would later incorporate into Clarksburg) included four manufacturing mills.
Briggsville began to truly convert into a boom town in 1866, which is when the Linwood Woolen Company came to town. Linwood's brick mill was primarily used to weave cashmere, and by 1885, the mill was cranking out enough of the high-dollar material to justify the employment of 140 people.
In the 1880's, Briggsville also boasted two stores, a grist mill, saw mill, and a brand new school made of bricks. But more importantly, the community's economy had become strong enough to not backfire like the gun powder mill had only a generation earlier.
Northern Berkshire Chamber of
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