Tonawanda News


March 16, 2013

TUCKER: History sheds light on naming


Tonawanda News — Jonas Spaulding had three sons: Leon C., Huntley N., and Rolland H. Jonas died in 1900 and the sons continued to operate these mills successfully under the J. Spaulding and Sons banner in 1902.

The success continued and the three brothers added a vulcanized fibre operation in Tonawanda. In 1913. Tonawanda Mayor Charles Zuckmaier influenced the Spaulding brothers’ decision to build their new facility in Tonawanda and on May 23, 1911 the plans were announced that the new facility would be built on Julia Pohl’s farm at 310 Wheeler St.

Operations at the plant began on April 1, 1912 with 40 employees. Leon Spaulding died in Tonawanda on Sept. 11, 1924 while overseeing an expansion of the facility that included the addition of a continuous vulcanized fibre making line.

Around 1927 the name of the company changed from J. Spaulding and Sons to the Spaulding Fibre Company. In the 1930’s a second product was added at the Tonawanda plant. On March 14, 1942 Rolland became the second Spaulding brother to die at a hospital Rochester, NH, an institution that benefitted from the philanthropy of the Spaulding Family.

Huntley Spaulding died on Nov. 11, 1955. At this time, the Spaulding Fibre Co. became part of a charitable trust Huntley and his only sister Marion S. Potter had set up to disperse their remaining wealth within 15 years of the last to die.

With the momentum of the family ownership and the shelter of the charitable trust the Tonawanda plant completed in 1956 an expansion that doubled the paper mill and the vulcanized fibre making capacity of the plant.

The 50th anniversary of the Wheeler Street Plant was marked by a special 22 page section in the Tonawanda News which reported that the Wheeler Street Plant covered 610,000 square feet, employed 1500 workers, and had a payroll of $9,000,000. The News also reported the company paid $153,818 in city taxes that year and was Tonawanda’s largest taxpayer.

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