Merrimack Valley Life

Then & Now July 2022

Then & Now is a monthly feature presented by Salem Life in conjunction with author and Salem historian, Douglas W. Seed.



One hundred fifteen years have seen many changes at 227 North Broadway in Salem. William Croft opened his Granite State Potato Chip factory there early in the 20th century. The company grew and grew. Many additions were built to accommodate soaring sales. In the mid-century, his team of salesmen and fleet of trucks delivered the delicious potato chips to stores as far away as Worcester and the seacoast.

After many decades of success, by the early 21st century, national food companies like Eagle Snacks and Utz dominated the supermarket snack aisles and little guys like Granite State and Royal Feast, of Methuen, were completely squeezed out. Even the Salem School District and many local stores stopped buying from Salem’s little potato chip factory in favor of deals from the big brands. Croft’s great-grandson, William, known to most of his generation as Buddy, vowed to — and succeeded in — keeping the business open past its 100th anniversary.

Today, a Dunkin’ Donuts store and an iPhone repair shop occupy the lot.

Now Bottom image courtesy of Google Maps

Now Bottom image courtesy of Google Maps

A granite bench on the rail trail commorates the location of the chip factory and the Croft family legacy.

Salem History Books Are Available!

Enjoy over 400 vintage images of Salem, complete with detailed captions, co-authored by Douglas W. Seed and his sister Katherine E. Khalife, in the two-volume book set, “Salem, NH Volume I” and “Salem, NH Volume II Trolleys, Canobie Lake and Rockingham Park.”

Get a FIRST EDITION set, directly from the authors for just $49.99!

Contact DougSeed@

Other Salem books are available, too.

Books Make Great Gifts!

Photos, text, header and layout Copyright © 2022 Douglas W. Seed.

May not be reproduced without permission.



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