General Electric Capacitor Division

Demolished
Also known as: Union Bag & Paper Corporation, Bag Factory
48 Sumpter Street, Hudson Falls, NY

Neo-Classical factory building built in 1916 demolished in 2018

Photo 

General Electric Capacitor Division

Baker Falls on the Hudson

Photo taken by Richard Doody in 1989

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Description 

The main entrance to this Neo-classic brick and concrete factory was inscribed, "Union Bag and Paper Corporation", the original owners. It sat on a bluff above the Bakers Falls Dam which was built by the same company in 1915 to generate hydro-electric power from the 68 foot high falls of the Hudson River to power its nearby pulp and paper mills. The Sumpter Street factory produced paper bags until 1951 when it was sold to General Electric which used it to expand the production of electrical capacitors from an adjacent plant.

General Electric opened its Hudson Falls plant in 1941 to produce ball turrets for bombers. The plant switched to the manufacture of electrical capacitors after World War II. A key component of the capacitors was poly-chlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) which act as insulators. The company discharged up to 1.3 million pounds of PCBs into the Hudson River between 1947 and 1977 when the US EPA outlaw their production and declared them a carcinogen. Years of remediation studies and litigation followed before GE began dredging contaminated soil from the river in 2009. This capacitor plant and another at Fort Edward, NY were closed in 2014. Demolition of the Hudson Falls plant was completed in 2018.

Update Log 

  • March 1, 2019: New photo from Richard Doody
  • March 1, 2019: Added by Richard Doody

Sources 

  • Richard Doody