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The History of Garnet Hill

Grant and Pegge Kirschner, founders of Garnet Hill

In The Beginning...

It was the summer of 1973 when Grant Dowse and Pegge Kirschner first discovered flannel sheets. While vacationing in Denmark they decided to make a quick trip to England. Having left all their camping gear behind, they were forced to make a few purchases to make "car-camping" bearable. One of the items was a cotton flannel sheet that would change their lives.

The sheet was so cozy that they brought it back to use in the wood-heated sugar house that was their home in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Eventually they tried ordering something similar from an American mail order company. They were disappointed to receive a synthetic imitation of what they had grown to love.

Wanting to share the heavenly warmth of English flannel with the rest of the United States, they decided to start a small mail order business. In 1976, working out of their small cottage (without plumbing) in the woods, they mailed their first catalog. It was a tiny die-cut brochure with flannel swatches. They named the company "Garnet Hill" after the rise of land behind their home.

Almost immediately, orders began rolling in. Their bedroom became the office with two typewriters on a handmade desk. The loft was the shipping room and Pegge's weaving studio was transformed into the warehouse. The catalogs were assembled, stamped and labeled on the kitchen table. It cost twenty-five cents to order a subscription for Garnet Hill, and envelopes with quarters in them arrived daily.

Within six months the business operation had outgrown the little sugar house and a gambrel-roofed building was erected on Main Street in Franconia. This original structure is still at the center of the main office building that we occupy today.

Grant and Pegge began Garnet Hill with blind faith in a quality product and hearts full of good intentions. On the same spot, with the same view of the mountains and the same reverence for the luxury of natural fibers, we continue to keep their dream alive.