Robertson Paper Mill demolition complete

Robertson Paper Mill
The Robertson Paper Mill demolition is complete. Photo by Betsy Thurston

BELLOWS FALLS, Vt. – Demolition of the Robertson Paper Mill is complete and the property is currently zoned for industrial and commercial use. The newly vacant 1.67-acre lot is nestled between the United States first commissioned canal and the Connecticut River, boasting a view of the river valley, Fall Mountain, and historic downtown Bellows Falls.

The Robertson Paper Mill closed in 1987 and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1990. An environmental assessment found that renovation would cost up to $5 million with an immediate need for $250,000 to stabilize the roof and walls. The historical significance of the building added years to the demolition process, which began with studies on the negative impacts of its destruction and costs of contaminant removal.

The Bellows Falls Area Development Corporation purchased the building in 2013 and began Phase 2 of the project including identification of contaminants, soil samples, and density studies.

In the fall of 2018, Adams Trucking and Excavating won the bid for the demolition, while oil tanks were decommissioned, lead and asbestos abatement was completed, and the many solvents and chemicals found throughout the building and underground were disposed.

As general contractor, Bucky Adams implemented the engineers’ plans approved by the Department of Environmental Conservation for removal of the contaminated soils and refurbished the timber and brick materials to clean up the brownfield site.

Gerry DeMuro of Northern Heritage Mills in Claremont, N.H., commended Adams on helping preserve the history of the property while completing the demolition. NHM collected two blast or cupola furnaces, which will be utilized for their aerospace workshop as origins of metal fabrication and the basic structure of a metal rocket ship. They also received an industrial rail incline and a file cabinet with samples of the different grades of manufactured waxed paper. For more information on NHM, contact DeMuro at nheritagemills@yahoo.com.

The Bellows Falls Historical Society has on display the foundry molds from the Osgood & Barker Co., which made parts for the paper mill and is a part of the Robertson Paper Mill story.

The growth plan of the island includes Sustainable Valley Group’s food hub at 30 Island St. Future plans of the Bellows Falls island incorporate streetscapes with sidewalks, lighting, and planted trees.

For more information on this property and the BFADC, contact Gary Fox, development director, at 802-463-3456 or development@rockbf.org.

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