Home > Uncategorized > Former tannery subject of heated city council meeting in the 1970s

Former tannery subject of heated city council meeting in the 1970s

Hello there!  We had a successful project kickoff and have numerous events planned for the upcoming months.  Plus, the website is up and fully functioning.

One of our first submissions is an illuminating article from the May 21, 1975 edition of the Montague Observer which describes a fiery meeting of the Whitehall City Council.  The Svensson family had owned the White Lake Villa and Jeanette and Charles Jr. who attended the meeting had built the Windy Cove Campground south of the Whitehall Leather Company.  The couple took the council to task for allowing the tannery a delay in addressing a persistent stench from the tannery’s waste lagoons and in completing a connection to the new county wastewater facility.

The meeting erupted in a heated exchange between council members. Then mayor Richard Cogswell said he accepted the smell as part of the industry’s operations.  Council member Harry Pillinger yelled that he was with the Svensson family and was instructed to keep his voice down.  Read the entire article here and then come back to the blog and provide your feedback.

Is this an issue you are familiar with? If so, let us know your perspective.  What do you think about the Council meeting?

Whitehall Leather Company
Photo credit: Jerry Grady

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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Ray Jensen
    November 7, 2012 at 10:02 pm

    It’s good to hear the Svenssons voiced their concerns about the stink from the six chromium sulfate lagoons to the city council. I lived adjacent to the Tannery property White Lake Marina is in the late ’50’s and used the swampy area where Bush Creek enterss the lake to explore and would trespass over to the ponds at times. The Tannery dumped excess hides in the swamp as fill. The smell from the hides was bad at times, but must not have been toxic as 50+ years later a section of the lake bank consisting of the decomposed hides is still visible. The lagoon sludge was a toxic bubbling smelly mess. I guess the Svensson’s complaint was a precursor to the final $6.7 clean up of the mess.

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