From:The History of Middlesex County 1635-1885J. H. Beers & Co., 36 Vesey Street, New York1884: In 1810, a woollen mill was established on Washington street by the Middletown Manufacturing Company....This was one of the first, if not the first manufactory that ever used steam as a motive power, in this country.... The building was fitted up with a 25-horse power engine, and wood was the only fuel that could be obtained at this time. The company employed from 60 to 80 hands, with a capacity for 100. About 40 years per day of fine broadcloth were produced, which yielded an income of upwards of $70,000 per year. Although the cost of fuel was a serious drawback, the company must have made large profits at first, for the Washington Hotel, corner of Main and Washington streets, now the Divinity School, and the large brick hotel, subsequently used by Mr. CHASE as a school, were the outgrowth of this enterprise. The sudden fall in goods at the close of the war of 1812, caused a serious embarrassment, and not long after, this company ceased to do business."
Jane Brawerman writes:I was able to find a secondhand reference to the Washington Hotel here, http://dunhamwilcox.net/town_hist/middletown_history5.htm: "The stated communications of the lodge were held subsequently at the house of Mrs. Ashabel SHALER, mother of Nathaniel SHALER, in the old frame building (still standing) just below the Episcopal church, on Main street. Early in the present century it met at the Washington Hotel, corner of Main and Washington streets, which is now owned and occupied by the Divinity School. Afterward, a piece of property on High street was purchased by the lodge, with a view of erecting a building. Nothing was done, however, and the property was subsequently sold."
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