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Looking Back 8/9/18

In the late-1800s, local regions were thriving after the explosion of a new industry: acid factories. The birth of the wood chemical industry sparked growth in towns, as employees flocked to Delaware County and Sullivan County to work in these factories, which produced wood alcohol, creosote, wood ashes, acetate of lime, charcoal, wood tar and formaldehyde.

Because the production process required high quantities of hardwood and fresh water, the Catskills provided the perfect location for acid factories. Scraps and leftover treetops were most commonly used in the factories. Four-foot lengths of wood were cut, split, and stacked by thousands of men.

Although acid factories have become virtually obsolete in the area, their historical influence is evident. Many towns still carry names related to acid factories, such as Acidalia and Burnwood.

Harvey English will host further discussion on the subject of acid factories at an upcoming “Dinner at Douglas City,” which will be held on Tuesday, August 21, at 6 p.m. at the Long Eddy Hotel in Long Eddy, NY. If interested, RSVP via email to or call 845/887-6703.


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