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Local legends

Oct 1, 2010 12:00 AM

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In 1865, brothers Jeremiah and Daniel Finch, with partner Samuel Pruyn, bought a lumber mill and founded Finch, Pruyn & Co. (Glens Falls, NY). By the turn of the century, they had purchased more than 100,000 acres of Adirondack forestland.

Finch entered the paper business in the early 1900s, with the advent of technology for manufacturing paper from wood fiber instead of cotton. The company constructed a groundwood pulp mill and paper machines at its headquarters on the banks of the Hudson River. Until Finch conducted the last river drive in 1950, the area's timber industry used the river to float millions of logs from the forest down to the mills.

Behind Finch's mill is local landmark Cooper's Cave, which James Fenimore Cooper made famous in his novel “The Last of the Mohicans,” published in 1826.

Pruyn's daughters, particularly Charlotte and her husband Louis Hyde, also made a lasting mark on the local cultural scene. The Hyde Collection art museum is housed in their Italian Renaissance style home, in between the homes of Charlotte's two sisters. It holds an eclectic group of works by European and American masters from Rubens to Wyeth (and many others). A modern wing hosts themed exhibitions of works from collections around the world.

The Hyde Collection includes a work Douglass Crockwell — one of the museum's founding trustees — painted for Finch, Pruyn & Co. in 1934. It depicts Finch mill workers smoothing a roll of paper on a paper machine.

See it in sepia

Check out a video detailing Finch Paper's history.