Champion Paper, which later became Champion International Paper, International Paper and then SMART Papers, was a paper mill in Hamilton, Ohio. Once employing 5,000 and boasting the largest facilities in the nation, the factory was the bread-and-butter of the working-class city.
At its height, Champion Paper was part of “The Paper Valley,” aptly named due to the concentration of paper mills along the Great Miami River and the Miami & Erie Canal. Mills existed at Crescentville, Port Union, Rialto, Hamilton, Woodsdale, Rockdale, Excello, Middletown, Franklin, Miamisburg, West Carrollton and Dayton. There were thirty separate mills that operated generally between 1890 and 1930, dipping to the low 20′s during the 1960′s and only a handful by the 21st century.
And Champion Paper, after a merger with International Paper and economic decline, has ceased to exist and has now joined the ranks of the dead mills that litter “The Paper Valley.”