From nearly 100 years, the JP Squire hog slaughterhouse dominated the East Cambridge Somerville line. Founded in 1855, it employed thousands of worker and dumped so much waste into the Millers River, the waterway had to be filled in. It was destroyed by a fire in 1891, rebuilt and destroyed again in 1965 after shutting down. The site now houses the Twin City shopping plaza and a storage warehouse recently converted to luxury housing.
This site aims to tell its story.
In 1891, the Squire factory was partially destroyed by fire and soon rebuilt with a modern system of artificial refrigeration (Eliot, 1913). To the new factory complex, Squire added eight boilers, two refrigeration machines, and a 230-foot chimney (Cambridge Chronicle, 1892). These improvements significantly expanded the capacity of the factory, allowing for the refrigeration of over 12,000 hogs at a time (Stone, 1930; Gilman, 1896).
Life-long neighborhood resident Bob Travers remembers when strikers let the hogs out of the rail cars.
From: A History of Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1630-1913
by Samuel Atkins Eliot
No great business house in Cambridge has a more interesting history than the John P Squire Company When John P Squire started in business in 1842 he was the entire concern and his plant was a wheelbarrow Today the company employs one thousand men in its plant at East Cambridge alone This means that fully five thousand people or a large sized town are dependent upon this concern This does not include the great chain of wholesale houses throughout New England and the millions of dollars that are paid annually to farmers throughout Iowa Illinois and in sections of Ohio for hogs The success of the John P Squire Company from its humble beginning to the great success of today is a romance in business that has no rival in fiction.