By Marion C. Mang, 1975
The Daniel Green Company Factory Complex was entered on the National
Historic Places on September 17, 1974. It was given a
statewide significance which is rarely bestowed. A copy of
form as prepared by Mrs. Doris Manley, Research Assistant of the
Historic Preservation was sent to Mrs. Eleanor Franz, Historian of
Mrs. Franz had been requested by the State to furnish the research upon
this summary is based.
The Village of Dolgeville is located a short distance to the north of
Falls in Herkimer County. The structures of the Daniel Green
Complex are located partly on the Herkimer side of the East Canada
flows past the village and partly on the Fulton County Side.
creek is dammed above the factory and water is fed through the turbines
create the electrical power needed by the industry. Surplus
power is sold
to the Niagara Mohawk Company, a public utility. The Daniel
Complex consists of a large limestone building, a frame factory
double span iron Pratt Truss bridge on limestone and concrete supports,
large wood factory building, a complex of lesser buildings which make a
pleasing grouping on either side of the creek, and a large
were once part of the Alfred Dolge and Sons Felt and Sounding Board
and the mansion was his home.
The handsome limestone factory of which was erected in 1886 on the site
abandoned tannery, some of the structural features of which were
utilized in the
new building. It was constructed of hand-cut limestone drawn
by teams from
the Inghams Mills quarry. It is a long (300 by 700) feet,
three and a half
story structure with a clear story running the length of the roof
mansard roofed tower with dormers holds the administrative offices. The
has windows of normal size and spacing. The stonework, but
moat-type ditch around it confer a fortress-like effect.
Although there are a number of lesser buildings all constructed
1882 until 1894 of wood and stone, the other principal factory building
across t he East Canada Creek in Fulton County. This was at
one time a
horse barn and was converted into a factory by raising the top
has some attractive cupolas.
The two section Pratt Truss bridge of iron is in excellent condition,
it was built in 1887. It is supported by limestone and
foundations. Across the river in Fulton County is the Alfred
and grounds. It is an imposing mansion built of wood in
interior has ornate decoration and Swiss carvings. The
cherubs and other ornamentation were constructed by Italian
are sloping lawns, a formal garden with fossil rock and behind the
mansion is a
wooded hillside, part of a park owned by the village.
The Daniel Green Factory Complex is notable not only for its fine
architecture and the fact that it is a monument to the memory of the
truly exceptional man who built it, but also because the entire
has been meticulously maintained in its original condition by the
subsequent owners, the Daniel Green Company. The factory
complex was built
by Alfred Dolge who desired earnestly to establish an ideal society for
factory workers at a time when profit was the usual motive of industry.
Alfred Dolge was born Dec. 22nd, 1848 in Chemnitz, Saxony. He attended
public school in Leipzig until he was 16 when he entered his fathers’
business as an apprentice. (A. Dolge and Co., Piano Manufacturers). He
pursued high school studies in a night school conducted by the Free
Masons in Leipzig and received his diploma from them. He first came to
the US when he was 17 and returned to Leipzig for three months in 1868.
Then he returned to the US to make it his home. He worked in
making and importing in New York City.
He first came to Brockett ’s Bridge, now Dolgeville, in 1874 in search
suitable location for more felt manufacturing. In April 1875,
manufacturing in the old tannery which he purchased. Within a
the village grew from 325 to over 2,000, many of whom were German I
whom he had interested in the area by advertisements and
Eventually, he built felt mills, made felt shoes, autoharps, piano
sounding boards, piano hammers, and ran lumber yards.
He built a railroad, laid out the village, built two schools, installed
electric system, a water system, sewage, a fire department , a free
concert hall, a gymnasium, public parks, a newspaper and pioneered in a
and profit sharing system for employees. In 1887 the citizens
petitioned the authorities at Washington to change the name of the
Brockett’s Bridge to Dolgeville.
Alfred Dolge failed financially and left Dolgeville in May of
lived in California and started a business there. He died in
on Jan. 5, 1922 on a round the world tour. He is buried in
Inspired by his early readings of Liebnecht, Marx, Mill and
Smith, Dolge Instituted at Dolgeville a form of what we now call social
in his attempt to create an idealistic socialistic utopia. About 1876
factory was first well established, Dolge began to set up his Pension
which remained almost exactly the same throughout his tenure.
extremely generous, ranging from 50 percent of wages for disability
10 years service up to 100 percent after 25 years.
Later he added a system
of life insurance paid for by the firm and finally by an intricate
bookkeeping, a program of Earning-Sharing whereby, an employee received
portion of the earnings according to his contribution in brains or the
his work. This was not to be turned over until retirement,
but was to be
reinvested. The Pension Plan was non-contributory by the
The employer paid all.
The government of Germany officially requested details of his Plan and
it with some changes. In 1889, the government of France asked
detailed account. The insurance, pension and endowment plans
Dolgeville were also copied and adapted by railroads and many other
Much source material exists locally on Alfred Dolge’s contribution to
concept of Social Security. He had had printed a 243 page
book entitled "The Practical Applications of Economic Theories in the
Factories of Alfred Dolge and Son." This appeared in 1896 and
extracts from his speeches. When Dolge’s business failed in
1899, few of
the benefits which he had envisioned had been paid, but the ideas which
pioneered proved to be very lasting.
Because of Dolge, Dolgeville has these firsts: first Social Security
slipper and shoe of felt made in America 1881, first electric dynamo
water power 1879 (Edison’s was the second dynamo), first public
New York State 1889, first park system in the area 1876 and the first
village lighted by electricity 1891.