Pioneer Mechanics' Shop Company - Burlington, Vermont 1853

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Beautifully engraved certificate from the Pioneer Mechanics' Shop Company issued in 1853. This historic document was has an block border and is hand signed by the Company's President, Henry P. Hickok and Treasurer, T.E. Wales and is over 152 years old. The certificate was issued to Edward Lyman Esq. Henry P. Hickok was also the president of the Merchants' Bank in Burlington. The Pioneer Mechanics' Shop was organized to promote the development of new (and mostly lumber-related) industries in Burlington, the idea being to erect buildings, outfit them with machinery, and then rent them to mechanics and manufacturers in need of space and equipment. The awakening of this sentiment soon took practical development, owing principally to the energy of Messrs. Frederick SMITH and Henry P. HICKOK, resulting in the establishment of "The Pioneer Mechanics' Shops Co.," May 31, 1852, a. stock company with a capital of $30.000.00, divided into shares of $25.00 each. The legislature had granted them a charter in November of that year, and the first directors were Henry P. HICKOK, Frederick SMITH, T. R FLETCHER, Edward W. PECK, and Morillo NOYES. Land was donated for the erection of suitable buildings, by Henry B. STACY, Henry P. HICKOK, Eliza W. BUEL, and Nathan B. HASWELL, the said buildings, with steam engines and fixtures for running machinery, being intended "to be rented to mechanics and manufacturers, in convenient allotments, in such manner as to facilitate and invite the introduction of new branches of mechanical and manufacturing industry." In 1853, the shops were completed, located on the east side of Lake street, of brick, four stories high, 400 feet long, and 50 feet wide, divided into four apartments, each one hundred feet long, with a heavy brick wall between, the machinery being driven by two heavy engines in a building just east of the shops.. It was not long before the buildings were occupied, proving the enterprise a success, and chairs, doors, sash, blinds, and machinery were soon counted among the exports of Burlington. The corporation, however, having borrowed money over and above their capital for the completion of their buildings, and given a mortgage on their property to secure its payment, were unable to meet their obligations, so the mortgage was foreclosed, and the property came into the hands of Henry P. HICKOK. Soon after, April 2, 1858, the entire buildings were destroyed by fire, entailing a loss of about $150,000.00. But manufacturing industries had become too firmly seated hereto succumb to even this misfortune. The citizens of the town donated $8,000.00 towards the re construction of the works, and Mr. Lawrence BARNES purchased the ruins, and immediately erected three brick shops, two stories high, each one hundred feet long and fifty feet wide, being the same, with others which have been erected adjoining, that are know as "The Pioneer Shops" today. Immediately after their reconstruction, January 1, 1858, the property was transferred to the present proprietors, B. S. NICHOLS & Co., who leased the shops various firms, who collectively furnish employment to 500 persons. Gazetteer and Business Directory of Chittenden County, Vt. For 1882-83 Compiled and Published by Hamilton Child Printed At The Journal Office, Syracuse, N. Y, August, 1882. Pages 94-113.