Making Places, the Trust’s pilot initiative to survey and stimulate re-use of Connecticut’s vast historic industrial resources, is in full swing. The project is funded by the State Historic Preservation Office, Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development through the Community Investment Act.
At the core of Making Places is a historic resource inventory of mills, factories and related villages constructed from the beginning of Connecticut’s industrial revolution in the early nineteenth century until 1965. The inventory builds upon and updates Matthew Roth’s 1981 survey, Connecticut: An Inventory of Historic Engineering and Industrial Sites. Beyond identifying properties that encapsulate the social, architectural and economic histories of Connecticut’s communities, the inventory will list vacant, underutilized and distressed sites with greatest opportunity for rehabilitation and re-use.
Historic factories and mills are integrally woven within the physical fabric of Connecticut’s communities. Our early and successful industrial areas birthed a multitude of companies, and as manufacturing grew, so too did transportation networks, dependent support industries and increasing labor pools. The age of American post-industrialization which began after World War II brought rapid decline in Connecticut’s labor intensive manufacturing industries, and with it losses to local economies. Too many of these complexes have become sources of blight. Adapting them to new uses is essential to maintaining or restoring a community’s economic vitality and quality of life.
Through applications to our VCI and HPTAG grant programs, the Trust recognized a need for Making Places to assist municipalities, community groups and property owners who recognize the value of historic industrial buildings, understand their unique challenges, and are committed to adapting them. Making Places provided financial assistance through Making Places Grants, a pilot competitive grant program, awarding a total of $350,000 to nine projects to fund early stage strategic planning projects. Making Places continues to award limited scope professional problem solving and task completion in the form of technical assistance consultancies on a competitive basis to stimulate project initiation and momentum.
While there are thousands of distressed historic industrial buildings in our state there are also hundreds of mills adapted to new uses. Making Places profiles a cross section of successful projects which either extended or adapted the use of these buildings in Got Mill?, an informative presentation. A preview is available at Got Mill? Is your community curious about what is possible for your distressed mill? Making Places staff is available to make the presentation in person.
Please feel free to contact us with information about industrial resources in your town, or for more information about TACs and/or arranging a presentation of Got Mill?.
Renée Tribert, Project Manager- Making Places
Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation
940 Whitney Avenue, Hamden, CT 06517