As the numbers of Shakers at the Hancock Shaker Village began to decline in the second half of the nineteenth century, farm workers were hired. These men ate and received their daily work assignments at the Trustee’s Office and lodged in a separate building. After the original Hired Men’s building at Hancock burned down, the Shakers utilized another structure, built before 1820 and originally used as a seed shop, which they moved to its current location to become the new Hired Men’s Shop in 1907. Read More
The Ministry’s Shop at Harvard Shaker Village was built in 1847-1848. For half of each month, it was the residence and workplace of the Ministry–the Elders who governed a bishopric that included both the Harvard and Shirley Shaker villages. The building, at 84 Shaker Road in Harvard, is now a private residence. It has a wing and ell that were added in the 1930s by architect Stanley Bruce Elwell.
Shaker communities were guided by two Elders and two Eldresses who together were known as the Ministry. Hancock Shaker Village was overseen by a Ministry that also had responsibility for the Shaker communities in Tyringham, Massachusetts and Enfield, Connecticut. Like the Shaker brethren and sisters, the Elders and Eldresses were also required to perform hand-labor. The Ministry had an early workshop at Hancock Shaker Village that was moved to north side of Route 20 in 1829 when the Brick Dwelling was constructed. By 1848 there were two Ministry shops, one for Elders and one for Eldresses. A new Ministry Shop was built in 1873 on the foundation of one of these earlier shops. The Ministry Shop was later used as a home for Shakers who had been displaced by the closure of the Enfield, Connecticut community in 1917. Read More
It can be argued that at least one of the places that the Industrial Revolution in America began was in Waltham in 1813, when Francis Cabot Lowell and The Boston Associates established the Boston Manufacturing Company, which produced cotton textiles. They hired mechanic Paul Moody of Amesbury to design and build the machinery and mill along the Charles River in Waltham. The BMC mills employed a method of production called the Waltham-Lowell System that was later duplicated by the Boston Associates on a larger scale at the famous mills in Lowell and would be copied by other industries. The image above displays the long factory building of the Boston Manufacturing Company which was constructed in three sections. The section on the far right, up to the tower, was built in 1813-1814. Closer to the second tower (seen in the distance) is the mill constructed in 1816. These two buildings were later joined by the middle section, built in 1843. Beyond the second tower, at an angle to the earlier buildings, is a mill constructed in 1852. The 1813-1843 buildings now contain senior housing and artists lofts. The image below shows the 1873-1880 mill building with attached smokestack along the Charles River. This section is now the Charles River Museum of Industry and Innovation.
An earlier building that had served the Hancock Shaker Village as a Cider House was enlarged in 1835 (the foundation wall has a stone inscribed with the date 1835) for use as a Tannery. By 1875, the Shakers were unable to compete with other large tanneries in the area. The building was then converted into a cider press and a forge was installed in the north end. The upper floor of the structure was later used as a carpenters shop.
Holyoke‘s most striking old factory building was constructed by the Albion Paper Company at what is now 15 Water Street. An earlier mill building on the site, belonging to the Hampton Company, was acquired by the Albion Company after the latter was formed in 1869. The Albion Company was sold to D.H. & J.C. Newton in 1877, who rebuilt the mill complex with substantial additions in 1878. The building features two mansard-roofed towers (the second one added post-1887), whose bells summoned workers for their shifts. The company manufactured book paper and engine sized flat paper. After experiencing accumulating large debts in the 1890s, the company was incorporated into the American Writing Paper Company in 1899. Another adjacent mill building, which was built circa 1880 by the Nonotuck Paper Company and later became the Mt. Tom Division of American Writing Paper Company, was destroyed by a fire earlier this year.
Probably built in the 1790s, the Sisters’ Dairy and Weave Shop at Hancock Shaker Village is where the Shaker Sisters produced butter and cheese. It was constructed over a natural spring which provided cold water used to cool the milk products. The second floor of the building was added after 1820 and used as a weave loft, where the Sisters made clothing, rugs and bonnets.