TOWNSEND -- The Townsend Historical Society will hold its Annual Potluck Supper on Friday, April 4, at 6 p.m. in the Congregational Church's Fellowship Hall, Brookline Street, in Townsend Center.

The program following the meal is a showing of the 1947 film featuring the Fessenden Mill. Those who attend will have the rare opportunity to view the working factory and its operations, captured on 8 mm film (recently transferred to DVD). Though the mill shut down in 1960, it was still turning out 3,500 barrels a day when the film was made.

In 1947, Fessenden employee Ted Lancey filmed the day-to-day workings of the barrel factory that was Townsend's largest industry for almost 100 years. The employees are shown at each stage in the barrel-making process, from unloading and cutting huge logs to catching the finished barrel from the conveyor chute. All the working machinery is shown: the steam engine, planers, fire pit, splitting and band saws, hoop machines and steam box. Outside the factory, the viewer will see the water tower, railroad cars parked and waiting, trucks piled with logs and steam spewing from the mill.

There will also be a display of still photos of the Fessenden Mill from the society's collection.

The program is free and open to the public. Everyone is invited to bring a favorite dish to share, a good appetite for food and conversation and a curiosity about the thriving barrel industry, once synonymous with Townsend.


For information, contact the Townsend Historical Society at 978-597-2106 or email