The 1900 Shoe Factory in Calais, Maine

Sometimes, I forget about treasures I’ve found and filed digitally away. That’s the case today.

In 1900, my 2X great grandparents, Calvin and Nellie,  were part of a blended family with son Charles, wife Annie and grandson Vernon living at home with them and their daughter, Pearl.

Calvin and his father, Daniel Adams, were boat builders, which was a lively trade at the end of the 1800s and early 1900s. I remember being a bit taken aback when I saw son Charles’ occupation listed on the 1900 census.

Charles, I guess, was not thrilled with the idea of being a boat builder. Instead, he was working in a shoe factory as a cutter, probably cutting out the leather shapes that were formed into the body of shoes, although I guess he could have been cutting out the soles.

I didn’t even realize that Calais had a shoe factory in 1900, but it did and I don’t even remember when I bought this, but it is most likely where Charles went off every day to work.

Calais Shoe Factory

However, Calais was past its heyday by the early 1900s. The boat building industry dried up by 1910 and the city began an economic downturn that continued throughout the 20th century. In the long run, I imagine that the shoe factory remained in business long after the  boat builders were gone.

2 thoughts on “The 1900 Shoe Factory in Calais, Maine”

  1. Nice treasure! I wonder when the shoe factory was built? It’s fun to imagine that my Calais ancestors could have walked by that building in its heyday.

  2. Thanks for this picture! My husband’s family was from Calais Maine and in the 1900 census his grandfather, Henry J. Reed, age 17 was also listed as a cutter in the shoe factory. This helps me picture what it was like for him to head to work. Looks like it employed quite a few people.

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