Category Archives: mills. studio spaces

Mills and Mills

The region is dotted with many old and no longer operational water-powered paper and pulp mills. Brick factory buildings are also easily found. This part of New England has a strong history in a huge variety of manufacturing and other types of production-related businesses from the original Frank Jones Brewery complex in downtown Portsmouth, to the Button Factory on the other side of Islington. The Schultz meat plant is geographically right between the two. And, is decaying, where the other two now house an athletic club and artist studios, respectively.

The Schultz factory, Mat House Annex side (c)Daryl-Ann Dartt Hurst

The Schultz factory, Malt House Annex side (c)Daryl-Ann Dartt Hurst

I asked a friend of mine who is very involved in Portsmouth New Hampshire politics (where I am sure this is a terrific embarrassment), and the owner seems to have no motivation to clean it up and make it serviceable to businesses, artists, etc. What a shame!!

And, I actually find that whole idea extremely short-sighted considering what the Button Factory charges for studio space, and the last time I checked they were full!! http://www.buttonfactorystudios.com/studio_availability.htm

I have friends who have studios in the 1 Washington Street Mill Building in Dover, New Hampshire. This is a multi-use building that serves a myriad of businesses like Terra Cotta Pasta, a few smaller galleries, framing studios, apparel retailers, and other concerns. Dover has at least three complexes that are all successful in renting to those who need space but maybe don’t need the street-level, strip mall type exposure.

The Rollinsford Mill is very much like the 1 Washington Street Mill except it is heavily rented as art studio space. They, like the Button Factory, host open-studio events where the public is invited to come and experience the art at the Mill and purchase it outside the pretty gallery setting, directly from the artists.

In my travels taking pictures and just reveling in the spring sunshine, I drove (for no reason) to Sanford, Maine. In Sanford, there is a mill complex that looks a lot like the Schultz Factory.

the empty Sanford Mills building (c) DA Dartt Hurst

the empty Sanford Mills building (c) DA Dartt Hurst

No apparent recon is going on with this site, yet it is on a terrific piece of property with a great view. I took a few minutes to walk along this side of the building, and the front and shot this for art.

Sanford Mill venting, (c) Daryl-Ann Dartt Hurst

Sanford Mill venting, (c) Daryl-Ann Dartt Hurst

But, I wasn’t through wandering-the weather was not allowing this cabin-fevered child to be inside all day!

I went home, and lost the New Balance and socks to Tevas. Yes, and toes are happy! But, I was not done finding new treasures.

Gonic is a non-incorporated town that is really part of Rochester, but, like East Rochester, there is a different personality. I got here quite by accident, and found another mill building. But one I didn’t know about. And, one that has been restored, but hasn’t become trendy yet. Uh-oh!

This one has huge spaces, and though I haven’t seen them yet, they could be possibly rented as a group and sub-divided. Rents are crazy-cheap! Like they should be for a studio!

Gonic Mill, with the Cocheco River (c)Daryl-Ann Dartt Hurst

Gonic Mill, with the Cocheco River (c)Daryl-Ann Dartt Hurst