CANAL WORKS HISTORY
"The Grandest Enterprise of its Time..."
The Canal Works building has a rich history in Bristol, PA dating back to the 1880s. The borough of Bristol, PA, formerly known as Buckingham, was founded by Samual Clift in 1681. Bristol grew rapidly during the early part of the eighteenth century but suffered a “Great Fire” in 1724 that destroyed much of what the early settlers had built. The rebuild attracted new establishments like The Hotel George on Second. Soon after, the elite were flocking to Bristol to take to the waters of Bath Springs, known today as Silver Lake and the town became known as the premier spa in the United States.
Construction of the Bristol Canal took place between 1827 and 1832, which transformed Bristol into a bustling transportation hub and caused a tremendous real estate boom. As much of the economy was suffering from the economic recession of 1855, Bristol took advantage of the industrialization that began along the canal after the Civil War. The Bristol Mills generated new wealth, new jobs and was largely responsible for the expansion of the town that occurred during the second half of the nineteenth century.
Joshua Pierce: The Father of Bristol Industry
1868: Joshua Pierce, a Bristol native, returned to Bristol and was resolved to revive the town’s depressed economy. This pioneer’s first action of business was to purchase the 49 acres of vacant land running along the Bristol Canal.
1876: Pierce was the driving force behind the post-Civil War development of Bristol’s industrial and manufacturing interests. He and several local businessmen formed the Bristol Improvement Company. The company developed facilities built to accommodate manufacturers’ specific needs; much like Canal Works continues to do today.
1880: Pierce sold the 49-acre plot to the Bristol Improvement Company and encouraged the establishment of other industrial enterprises in the surrounding vicinities. Firms including Bristol Foundry, Sherman Planning Mills, Bristol Rolling Mills and The Wallpaper Mill (later known as Canal Works).
Bristol Mills Timeline
1876 – The Worsted Woolen Mill
1877 – The Keystone Mill
1880 – The Star Mill
1882 – The Wallpaper Mill
1887 – The Bristol Carpet Mill
1892 – The Star Mill & Wallpaper Mill were connected to form what stands today as The Canal Works
The Canal Works Today
Where Businesses Come to Grow
In 1996, B. Mazzocchi Development, which specializes in “Building the Future out of the Past,” took ownership of The Canal Works. Our property development company is known for restoring historic commercial and residential properties to their original charm, while incorporating the luxuries of today. Canal Works is evidence of B. Mazzocchi Development’s success in historic renovations. This once-thriving, industrial complex, left vacant for several decades, has been reborn to achieve its rudimentary purpose. Once again, Canal Works is a bustling community of professionals and a home for many impressive companies. The diverse grouping of companies at Canal Works stimulates a professional networking atmosphere that thrives and allows businesses to grow!