Thursday, August 21, 2014

Oldest Companies in the United States

My data base of 100-year-old U.S. companies lists 12 that were established prior to 1750 and are still in operation.  Half of these are agriculture-related and many are still in the same family.  One is a resort, one a restaurant, one a flour mill, one a stone carver, and two are manufacturers.  So here are my candidates for the oldest companies in the U.S.  If you know of others I would really like to hear from you!

1. Avedis Zildjian Co. in Norwell, MA.  Founded in Istanbul in 1623, Avedis III moved the company to the U.S. in 1929 so it is arguably the oldest company in the U.S. Fifteen generations of the Zildjian family have run the company that still manufactures fine cymbals.


2. Tuttle's Red Barn of Newbury, MA began in 1632, was sold in 2013, and is now Tendercrop Farm at the Red Barn.  A farm market store offering a variety of fresh produce, baked goods, a butcher shop, and other local products, the current owner is committed to carrying on the Tuttle tradition.


3. Shirley Plantation in Charles City, VA.  In the same family (Hill-Carter) for 11 generations, the plantation was founded in 1613 and the farm business began in 1638. Today Shirley continues to be a working plantation along with a growing business as a venue for weddings, tours, and a gift shop.


4. Fieldview Farm in Orange, CT.  Established in 1639, this farm is still in the Hine family (12 generations). Today it mainly produces dairy products, but it also sells agricultural equipment.


5. Emery Farm in Durham, NH.  In the same family since 1655, Emery Farm has over 350 years as a working farm.  They sell their own fresh fruits and vegetables, and also offer hayrides, corn maze, and Christmas trees.
                                  Emery Farm Home
6. Seaside Inn in Kennebunkport, Maine. Run today by ninth generation Gooch family, the oldest recorded document the family has of an inn being located on the property is dated 1660. John Gooch arrived in Maine in 1637 and some records show him taking over the inn in 1667.  No matter which date one uses, it's been around for well over 300 years.

7. The White Horse Tavern in Newport, RI. From "farm to table" since 1673, today the White Horse Tavern offers fresh, contemporary cuisine in an historic tavern atmosphere.


8. Saunderskill Farms in Accord, NY. Today the 12th & 13th generations of Schoonmakers run a greenhouse, farm market, bakery, and also offer lunch. The prime Roundout Creek bottomland of Saunderskill Farms has been continuously farmed since 1680.


9.  The John Stevens Shop, Newport, RI. Stone carvers since 1705, the John Stevens family produced some of the finest colonial American gravestones, many of which still stand in the nearby Common Burying Ground in Newport. The John Stevens Shop, now in the Benson family, still specializes in the design and carving of custom inscriptions in stone.


10. The Rowland Company of Philadelphia, PA. When it began business in 1732, Rowland made shovels and similar tools, as well as springs for wagons.  The company evolved over the years and became involved in the distribution of automotive and truck parts. Today The Rowland Company is a specialty distributor and fabricator of industrial power transmission components.


11. Lakeside Mills in Spindale, NC. Producing stone ground corn meal products since 1736, Lakeside Mills was owned by several different families but is now run by the fourth generation King family.  Today the company offers corn meal, flour, and grits as well as hushpuppy, biscuit, and pancake mixes - all available in grocery stores and restaurants throughout the southeastern U.S.

12. Lyman Orchards, Middlefield, CT. A sweet way to finish our list of U.S. companies in operation since before 1750 is Lyman Orchards, established in 1741.  Still a fruit  farm it's also a store, bakery, golf course, wedding venue, and more.

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