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The Aldrich mill

So here is the bright red mill building--Aldrich Mill--which we passed on our way to the dino tracks place last weekend.

Aldrich Mill

Look at its lovely foundations. . .


And the Batchelor Brook, streaming away beside it

Aldrich Mill and river

The earliest mill on this site was used as a distillery, but this mill was built in 1836 to manufacture woolen goods. The Aldrich family acquired an interest in it in the 1840s, and from 1860 on, it was solely theirs. During the Civil War, it manufactured wool blankets. In 1870, it became a grist mill, and in 1913 a blacksmith shop. (Sources for these facts are here. and here. Mr. Nash told us some of them, but I refreshed my memory by searching online.)

Why did the mill have a bell? Maybe for calling people to work?

Aldrich Mill

Bell on Aldrich Mill

In the 1940s, a water wheel was added, but never used. The water wheel isn't on anymore--at least, we couldn't see evidence of it--but here's a picture of what it looked like.

It's still owned by the Aldrich family, according to Mr. Nash.


( 27 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 15th, 2015 03:42 pm (UTC)
Wow, that's a handsome water wheel!
Aug. 15th, 2015 04:08 pm (UTC)
According to one of the sources I checked, in 1960 it was the largest mill wheel in New England.
Aug. 15th, 2015 04:48 pm (UTC)
What a beautiful old building and what a wonderful history.

That waterwheel was something!
Aug. 16th, 2015 11:31 am (UTC)
And imagine coming round the bend on a bike ride and finding it! And it's not something that's set up as a historical site--there's no plaque or anything--it's just there, part of the everyday landscape. It was wonderful to stumble upon.
Aug. 15th, 2015 05:56 pm (UTC)
Wondering if it's the same Aldrich family that owns the beautiful, rundown Hudson Valley Estate Rokeby, http://suzannesmomsblog.com/2013/03/13/a-tale-of-three-houses/
Aug. 16th, 2015 11:33 am (UTC)
Could be! Aldrich isn't a rare name, but it's not as common as Smith. With all the genealogical sites around, it wouldn't be hard to find out.

I love that there are still people with all the historical names of this region still living here.
Aug. 15th, 2015 09:15 pm (UTC)
I read somewhere, possibly here, that barns and mills were painted red because they'd mix the paint with rust to keep fungus from growing on the wood.
Aug. 16th, 2015 01:34 pm (UTC)
So the idea is that rust helps inhibit fungus? Does it work, I wonder. It certainly makes for scenic buildings.
Aug. 16th, 2015 02:26 pm (UTC)
I'm not actually sure.
Aug. 16th, 2015 01:09 am (UTC)
Mill bells were essential--who had clocks? And they were up before the sun a good part of the year. Bells called them to work, rang for noon-time, and dismissed them home at night.
Aug. 16th, 2015 01:11 am (UTC)
And the Ramtail Factory in Rhode Island had a haunted bell-rope. Here's the story: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ISA1B8v6SF8
Aug. 16th, 2015 01:36 pm (UTC)
A haunted bell-rope! How cool! I'll go watch the video next.
Aug. 16th, 2015 03:55 pm (UTC)
That was marvelous--loved the telling of it! Love the old text saying haunted
Aug. 16th, 2015 01:35 pm (UTC)
I knew that about big mills like the ones Lowell, but hadn't really thought about it for a small mill like this--but yeah, it makes sense.
Aug. 16th, 2015 02:28 am (UTC)
Great photos.
Aug. 16th, 2015 02:51 am (UTC)
Thanks--I got your message and sent you a reply....
Aug. 16th, 2015 08:33 am (UTC)
I love that red. And those foundations, very cool.
Aug. 16th, 2015 01:36 pm (UTC)
Right? A real pleasure to stumble upon.
Aug. 16th, 2015 10:04 am (UTC)
Great photos! I love the bright colour of the walls and how the roof (and the whole building) seems to sag at one end. Talk about ageing gracefully...
Aug. 16th, 2015 01:37 pm (UTC)
I've noticed that roofs seem to be the first thing that collapses in old buildings around here. I don't know why that is, though. I wonder if they're going to need to do something to brace this one's roof at some point.

I love the red too. It's ***really** bright.
Aug. 16th, 2015 10:33 am (UTC)
Yes, indeed, great foundations! :)
Aug. 16th, 2015 01:38 pm (UTC)
I'd love to scramble down and take a closer look if the owners didn't mind.
Aug. 16th, 2015 01:29 pm (UTC)
With that colour it could almost be Sweden. :)
Aug. 16th, 2015 01:39 pm (UTC)
Maybe the color's a transporter. I could touch it and find myself in Sweden.
Aug. 16th, 2015 03:57 pm (UTC)
That could be, better try it. ;)
Aug. 16th, 2015 03:17 pm (UTC)
Glad I was able to point you to New England lore you didn't already know: I'll be mentioning the Ramtail Factory at Necronomicon Providence next week. And now for more pedantry: Roofs. They're always the weakest point! Think of all those roofless Greek temples and Medieval castles. They all had roofs at one time. Unless someone replaced them regularly, all those roofs fell in. And so with our abandoned mills, New England Gothic's stand-in for those romantic ruined castles.
Aug. 19th, 2015 11:16 am (UTC)
They really are our stand-ins--and they do well for drama and imposing-ness.

I pointed a few more people to that video on Twitter (Claire Cooney, for one!) crediting you with showing it to me.
( 27 comments — Leave a comment )

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