LACONIA – Laconia Public Library will host a presentation on the history of Laconia's Belknap Mill with author and historian Carol Lee Anderson on Tuesday, Sept. 23, beginning at 6:30 p.m. Anderson is the author of the recently released book titled, "A History of the Belknap Mill: The Pride of Laconia's Industrial Heritage."
The publication follows the release of Anderson's second book, "The New England Life of Cartoonist Bob Montana: Beyond the Archie Comic Strip," which came out last fall. She is also the author of the award-winning, "The History of Gunstock: Skiing in the Belknap Mountains," published by The History Press in 2011.
Also on hand to speak during the presentation will be Manchester businessman J. Paul Morin, who wrote the foreword to the book. Morin's great-grandfather, J.P. Morin, bought the Belknap Mill in 1913, and the Morin family subsequently owned and operated a hosiery business at the mill for three generations. J. Paul is the last of his generation to have first-hand experience with the family's complex enterprise.
"A History of the Belknap Mill" took Anderson nearly a year to write. It encompasses not only the mill's history but also the industrial history of Laconia. The tale of this history includes the stories of many of the French-Canadian immigrants who worked as mill operatives, and it further chronicles the story of women mill workers, who were known as "mill girls." The women far out-numbered their male counterparts and performed far more complicated tasks.
The intense battle for the mill's preservation and restoration is described throughout several chapters of the book, which features an interview with Save the Mills and Belknap Mill Society founder, Peter Karagianis. Anderson conducted additional interviews with Dr. Richard Candee, an architectural historian who helped those who saved the mill from demolition during urban renewal and helped guide the Belknap Mill Society through the mill's complex restoration process.
Following the presentation, books will be available for purchase and signing. The event is free and open to the public.