Saturday, February 18, 2017

Murdock Returns to Proctorsville

In 1886, Herbert T Murdock bought into the firm of Hayward, Taft, and Burbank and took over the management, which owned the Proctorsville Mill. By 1890, Murdock had complete control over the Mill and added a large brick addition of four stories. Machinery was increased by 12 sets of cards and sixty broad looms employing 175 people. The Proctorsville Mill was considered to “rank second in the state.” Dependent on waterpower with steam as an auxiliary source of power, the expansion of this mill, along with the Gay Brothers Mill in Cavendish, were part of the town’s the population boom.

By 1916, the Proctorsville’s Mill, locally known as Murdock’s was specializing in cassimere and doeskins. H.T., as he was known, was an influential member of the community. His wife Cora promoted culture and social advancements and even purchased what today is Crows Bakery and Cafe to be used as a library and social gathering spot for employees and community.

Unfortunately, Murdock’s death in 1916, brought an abrupt end to the mill, as it revealed the shoddy practices of the second in command.

The mill operated during WWII and changed hands several times, becoming the Bear Woolen Mill. However, by 1938, this mill had fallen on hard times and Proctorsville village purchased the building. Various businesses operated out of it, with the last one being Acousti Phase. A fire destroyed the property in 1982.

However, out of the ashes come great things, and thus, under the direction of the town manager at the time, Rich Svec, the Proctorsville Green was born, along with the revitalization of Proctorsville Village. Directly across from the Green’s gazebo is now the home of Murdock’s Pub in what was once an original Mill building.

As with so many things with the Cavendish Historical Society, there is a twist.

After talking with Etienne Ting, the owner of Murdock’s, CHS thought this was a good time to educate the town about its mill history. As the summer exhibit was being mounted, who walks into the Museum but the descendants of H.T. Murdock, donating both the original keys to the Mill along with portraits of him! With them was Linda Welch, CHS’s genealogist, who provided the family’s history.  Talk about dumb struck. You couldn’t script something like this.

Note that the timeline of the Cavendish/Proctorsville Mills is being serialized in the Scribbler II, the CHS newsletter.

Murdock’s on the Green opened on February 17, 2017 to the cheers of many in Cavendish who have wanted a local place to escape to for a few hours, grab a quick bite and catch up with friends. Currently open from 4-10 pm, Murdock’s is offering craft beers, fine wines and the all-important comfort food.

The owner is Etienne Ting, who with his wife Pang, owns Moonlite Meadows Farms in Cavendish. So yes, this is a farm to table pub.

When we told Murdock’s descendants about the new “Murdock’s” they were pleased to know that their family once again “lives” in Proctorsville. We agree that H.T. would be thrilled to see how his old mill building continues to serve the people of Cavendish.

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