A.A. Burdett House (1852)

The house at 260 Church Street in Clinton was built in 1852 by Oliver Stone, a local contractor, for Henry Kellogg, director of the Clinton Gas Light Company. Alfred A. Burdett, a local druggist, bought the house in 1867. As related in The Spatula, An Illustrated Magazine for Pharmacists, Vol. VIII, No. 10, June 1902:

To Alfred A. Burdett belongs the distinction of having been the longest in business of any man in Clinton, Mass. Mr. Burdett, who recently passed his 75th mile-stone, opened the first drug store in Clinton in 1849, and still retains his connection with the business, which is carried on by his son Oscar A. Burdett at the old stand on High street. His son Henry is likewise a pharmacist, with a store on the same street. Mr. Burdett and his wife observed the 53d anniversary of their marriage not long ago. He has served a term in the Massachusetts Legislature, and has held many positions of trust in his own town, having been selectman, town treasurer and a member of the school committee. Mr. Burdett has carefully preserved the record of his very first day’s business, on Feb. 25, 1849. On that day his total sales were $1.08, divided as follows: candy, 14 cents; cigars, 9 cents; medicines, 31 cents; fancy goods, 44 cents; valentines, 10 cents. The profits were reckoned at 55 cents.

John R. Foster House (1882)

At 271 Church Street in Clinton is the elaborate Stick Style house, designed by Henry M. Francis and built for John R. Foster in 1882. Foster was a wealthy merchant who owned a chain of clothing stores throughout New England. As related by Andrew E. Ford in his History of the Origin of the Town of Clinton, Massachusetts, 1653-1865 (1896):

John R. Foster was born in Moretown, Vt., November 7, 1834. He began to work in a store at the age of twelve. He was for some time a clerk in Waterbury, Vt. In September, 1856, he went into partnership with W. H. Ashley, in the clothing business, in Clinton. Their store was in the A. H. Pierce Block on Church Street; thence they moved to the Clinton House Hall Block. Ashley remained in Clinton but a few months, then Mr. Foster took the business alone and carried it on until 1870, when he started the clothing stores in Danielsonville, Ct., Willimantic, Ct., and other places, which have proved so profitable to him, and have enabled him to add so much to the beauty of the town through his private residence and public benefactions.

Foster donated a fountain for Clinton’s Central Park in 1890 that was destroyed in the Hurricane of 1938 (a replica was rededicated in 2000). His second wife, Catherine Harlow, was a member of the corporation that formed the Clinton Home for Aged People. In 1900 (or 1909?), the house was purchased by Dr. Walter P. Bowers for the Clinton Home for the Aged, now called The Clinton Home Foundation, Inc.

Lancaster Mills Company, Mill No.7 (1870)

Erastus and Horatio Bigelow ended their involvement in the management of the Lancaster Mills Company in Clinton (producers of gingham cloth) in 1849. The new manager, Franklin Forbes, oversaw the erection of new buildings, including Mill No. 7 (Carding Mill, also labeled in 1929 as Ring Spinning), which was built between 1857 and 1870. It has a six-story tower added c. 1879-1898. Mill No. 7 is connected to Mill No. 1. The mills closed in 1931. For several decades the buildings were owned by Colonial Press and then were used by other companies. Recently, they have been renovated as condominiums, the Lofts at Lancaster Mills. Read More

Lancaster Mills Company, Mill No.1 (1844)

The brothers, Erastus and Horatio Bigelow, whose carpet company built the mills in Clinton discussed in my last two posts, were also founders of the Lancaster Mills Company, which produced checked gingham textiles. In the early 1840s, Erastus Bigelow had developed a power loom to mechanize the production of cotton checked cloth. In 1844, the Lancaster Mills Company was established and it soon built a complex of mill buildings at the head of the Wachusett Reservoir on a site bounded to the south and west by the Nashua River. The complex is dominated by the massive Mill No. 1 (Weaving Mill), which is only one-story high, but covers a large area. It was originally a single immense room, lighted by skylights. It was built in 1844-1849 and was expanded to the north in 1879-1898, when the current entrance, below a two-story brick tower with a pyramidal roof, was constructed. The image above depicts that later entrance. The building is notable as an early example of a large-scale industrial building designed to house a horizontal manufacturing process. In 1899, it became the first textile mill to be powered entirely by electric generators. The Lancaster Mills Company was the nation’s largest producer of gingham cloth. In later years, the Lancaster Mills buildings became part of the sprawling campus of Colonial Press. In 2011, part of the complex was renovated to become the Lofts at Lancaster Mills. Read More

Bigelow Carpet Mill (1886)

The Bigelow brothers, Erastus and Horatio, had established the Bigelow Carpet Company in 1854. A number of mill buildings were constructed along Union Street in Clinton the 1850s. The company grew rapidly and soon constructed another group of woolen mills along Main Street in 1864-1866. After the death of Erastus Bigelow in 1879, the company continued to expand and soon developed the property on Union Street, constructing a new mill building and rebuilding the earlier structures to create an architecturally unified complex. After the mill closed in 1932, these buildings were used as a warehouse and were partially vacant. In the 1970s, the Nylon Products Company (Nypro) rehabilitated the structures for their own manufacturing use.

The building pictured above was built in 1886. The tower to the rear, on the left side of the picture, is part of another building, which is attached to the 1886 building. It was originally constructed in 1855 and was rebuilt in 1885. Read More

Bigelow Carpet Company Woolen Mill (1864)

In 1837, two brothers arrived in Clinton and soon established the Clinton Company, which manufactured cotton, woolen and silk goods. Erastus Bigelow (1814-1879) was a mechanical genius and self-educated inventor who created a series of power looms that were the world’s first machines for weaving carpets. His brother, Horatio N. Bigelow (1812-1868), was the company’s business manager and a civic leader in the development of Clinton, which grew rapidly as industry expanded in town. The brothers went on to incorporate the Bigelow Carpet Company in 1854. The new company purchased the old property of the Clinton Company in 1863, which included an earlier mill (c. 1810) where the brothers had started their operations in Clinton. The company initiated a major building program, constructing new mills on the property, including the building pictured above, which has an elaborate five-story tower. It was built in 1864-1866, as a wool spinning and carpet weaving mill. Read More

First Congregational Church, Clinton (1892)

The First Congregational Church in Clinton is located at 34 Walnut Street. The church began as the Second Evangelical Church of Lancaster in 1844, with a chapel being constructed at the southwest corner of Main and Sterling Streets.The congregation became so large that a new church was built on Walnut Street in 1846. It was remodeled and enlarged in 1858-1859. The construction and remodeling of of these church structures was supported by donations from H.N. Bigelow of the Bigelow Carpet Company. The current church was built in 1892. The Gothic Revival edifice has stained glass windows which were donated by a group of Chinese laborers who were working at the time on the construction of the Wachusett Dam.