Philadelphia, PA - For an interesting and unique nature experience, explore the ruins of the Bayless Paper Mill in Potter County. The 0.8-mile white-blazed trail starts at the campground near the paper mill ruins and follows the right side of Freeman Run downstream. The trailhead is located at the Austin Dam Memorial Park in Potter County. The park provides a trail map and information about the abandoned paper mill.
Abandoned Bayless Paper Mill in Potter County
In 1882, George Bayless formed the first paper mill in the United States. He established the Bayless Paper Company and Bayless Pulp and Paper Company. His family operated the paper mill for many years, creating thousands of jobs for the community. Today, you can explore the mill's former offices and the surrounding area. Here are some fun facts about the abandoned paper mill:
The dam broke in 1909, and operations at the paper mill ceased in late August. The mill eventually reopened, and in mid-September 1911, heavy rains filled the reservoir almost to capacity. The dam was breached in several places, but Bayless refused to let water out, claiming it would hurt production. He eventually rebuilt the mill, but in the meantime, he had to relocate to a new location.
The paper mill was a massive source of employment and a community of around 3,000 people. But the dam failure resulted in massive floods and the destruction of thousands of homes. The paper mill was a source of employment and prosperity for the nearby local towns. But the fate of the Bayless Paper and Pulp Company is not entirely good for the community. The city has lost much of its wealth.