July 8, 2010

Delicious Decay

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I spent the better part of last Friday exploring and shooting this old mill building in Lawrence, Massachusetts.

It was originally part of the Washington Mill complex. Most recently, it was an office of a paper manufacturer. When I think of paper mills, my mind conjures up a ghastly odor that drifts for miles upon miles from the mills processing the river soaked logs that, through some magical process, are eventually transformed into things like stationary, napkins, and post-it notes.

If you have ever been to Livermore Falls, Maine, or anywhere within a 50 mile radius (depending on the direction of the wind), You know that odor.

So imagine my surprise when I found out that one of the original textile mills in Lawrence found its most recent life as a paper mill. The building’s most recent life was as a paper mill. The Newark Group, I believe, manufactured several grades of paper / paperboard from recycled paper products.

Unfortunately, they left town in 2002, unable to justify the cost of renovating this century old building.

From the press release:

The company decided that the mill would require a series of major investments to increase productivity while maintaining the required quality levels of the coated boxboard market The expensive rebuild would not change the commodity nature of the production and the added capacity would not easily be absorbed in the mill’s regional market, it says.

I’ve heard there development plans for the property. A park maybe. Apartments maybe. I don’t know for sure.

I’m just happy to have the chance to photograph this old relic. For me, its delicious decay.

Look for more images from this complex over the next few days. As I said, I spent the better part of a day in here.

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