Mills of the Blackstone Valley

Not surprisingly, the Blackstone Valley is full of old mills. Some are very old, some relatively recent. Some of the oldest are the best preserved and a few have been fully renovated and put back to use as housing or shopping areas.

The Crown and Eagle mills pre-renovated.

Renovated into elderly and affordable housing, the old Crown and Eagle mill in Uxbridge is beautiful today.

Renovated into elderly and affordable housing, the old Crown and Eagle mill in Uxbridge is beautiful today.

Thousands of water lilies bloom on the small canal that runs to the renovated Crown and Eagle mill.

Thousands of water lilies bloom on the small canal that runs to the renovated Crown and Eagle mill.

On the Mumford. Converted to a liquor store.

Mill on the Mumford. Converted to a liquor store.

Huge brick mill-factory on a large pond. Northbridge. Rain is falling.

Canal between the falls and the small mill, and the former Bernat Mills that burned down five years ago. Uxbridge.

Many mills have been converted to condominiums or mini malls. Some have become office space.

English: The Brick Mill, built 1826, Whitinsvi...

The Brick Mill, built 1826, Whitinsville, Massachusetts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Many have burned down or been torn down because they presented a fire hazard. Fortunately, many others have been renovated, turned into malls, senior housing, mini-malls and other kinds of commercial  real estate.

The last standing parts of Bernat Mills.

The last standing parts of Bernat Mills.
Old Mill No. 4

Old Mill No. 4

1911 - Mill No. 4

1911 – Mill No. 4

Mill buildings converted to antiques complex.

Mill complex converted to antiques complex.



Categories: Architecture, Blackstone Valley, History, Life, photo, Photography

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

5 replies

  1. I moved to Oregon over 6 years ago because my job in the textile industry disappeared due to a company shutdown. Avondale Mills was one of the largest textile companies in the world. It was put out of business by the Chinese competition after our government signed the Fair Trade agreement with China. Then, 5 years later, I was laid off by Intel Corp. because of competition from China in the semiconductor industry. The South shut down 13 textile plants in 3 states just when Avondale went belly up. How many jobs, how many lives were affected by loss of industry. I’m afraid I’m too close to these losses to be objective. I’ve seen too many boarded up plants.

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    • The mills in the north, all over New England, closed due to competition from within the United States, almost entirely from the southern states. The mills you knew took the jobs away from this region. C’est la vie. By the turn of the century, most mills had moved closer to the sources of production and more than half the cotton was milled in the same states where it grew by 1899. By the 1920s, it was close to 100%. Now, we don’t even grow cotton because we have no one to pick it. Without Mexican labor, there aren’t enough hands and bodies to bring in the crops. Mississippi is one of the hardest hit places in the country. Egypt and India have the right climate, so the growing has moved there, the milling to China. Who is to blame? Not everything can be laid at someone’s door. The industry for which I worked disappeared too, as did my son’s and my husband’s changed so much that we all became obsolete.

      It happened fast and the result is what you see. We need a lot more than a few band-aids to fix the mess. There are millions and millions of affected workers, many of whom will never work again and here, in the Northeast, the economy has never recovered from the death of the the mills in the early 20th century. It’s not a simple problem and simple answers are nonsense.

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      • I was born in the Midwest where cars were made. They shut the steel mills down there in Granite, Illinois when the car industry tanked. McDonnell Douglas is St. Louis lost 10,000 workers in one day. I know because I was one of them. America is broken and needs a transfusion.

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  2. I love the old mills of New England. Sad to see so many of them are being lost but I am glad to see that many more are being renovated. They are part of the flavor of our area.

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