Athol, Massachusetts, USA
If you fly into Boston with the idea of driving to Brattleboro or other Vermont destinations, there’s a good chance you’ll take Route 2 west. Driving along this pleasant road full of greenery, it’s a probable miss on the signs for Athol in Worcester County. I drove this route several times in the past not realizing the L.S. Starrett headquarters were within such easy reach. A few years back I finally arranged a tour of the old factory on a day trip from Vermont. The small town of Althol itself is like a step into the past. The big old factory is perched over Millers River and it’s a short walk downhill to the main part of town. My nephew and I found only one little diner in town for lunch.
The factory tour involved a lot of walking, stair climbing but is an amazing environment full of old original equipment alongside the numerous workstation/machinery updates. Parts boxes made of wood lying about stacked on the floors. One small old horizontal mill (Hardinge, 1940s-1950?) looked as if it had performed the same operation on the same parts in the same spot for a long time.
Taking a tour of the Starrett Factory in Athol is an experience well worth the trip. Be prepared to walk and climb a good number of stairs in the old factory.
Pictures were not allowed in the factory (for us anyway). Below are a few images from L.S. Starrett's office. Love the belts running across the ceiling.