On Main Street between Stiger and Bergen in Hackettstown now stands a CVS; the result of a long debate of what would become of the old Bergen Machine & Tool Co. which stood before it.
The story of the factory on Main begins with a company called American Sawmill Machinery which was founded in 1903. In their heyday they were the largest makers of circular sawmills in the country. The company is often confused with being an actual saw mill when in fact they manufactured sawmills for lumber businesses.
“During the 1950s the company used another name, American Woodworking Machinery Co., for marketing, presumably to de-emphasize their sawmill roots. This name should not be confused with the earlier, and larger, American Wood Working Machinery Co. The former name is associated with Hackettstown, NJ, and was used in the 1950s and possibly the early 1960s. The latter name is associated with Rochester, NY and Williamsport, PA (among others), and was active between 1897 and 1925.”
An example of a machine made by them can be found here.
In 1955, a new player was in town, the Bergen Machine & Tool factory. They moved the manufacturing part of their company to Hackettstown on the old Sawmill site and kept the sales office and warehouse on Franklin Avenue in Nutley.
The company left New Jersey for Mountain Top, Pa., in 2003 and the building sat vacant.
In 2011, a broken water line that soaked and weakened support beams led to a portion of Bergen Tool building collapsing. After that the building began to suffer from vandalism and neglect.
In June of 2011 a new owner bought the building for $1.1 million who proposed demolition as the dilapidated building was beyond rehabilitation.
Residents fought against demolition of the front building stating historical significance, but eventually the brick building came down.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Laura Gonzalez is a photographer, blogger and historian currently residing in Newark, New Jersey.