Connecticut Trust For Historic Preservation

Kenyon Mill, Coventry

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The Town of Coventry is seeking proposals for the adaptive use of the historic Kenyon Mill and four other interconnected buildings.  The long, two-and-a-half story building is located next to a mill pond in the South Coventry Historic District, which is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.  Built in 1859, the wood-frame building has a clapboard exterior and rests on a foundation of cut-granite blocks.  A vertical line of three loading doors forms a stricking feature directly below the hoisting timber located at the peak of the gable-end facade.C.H. Kenyon, a manufacturer of woolen pants, bought the mill in 1864 from another woolen maker.  Historical records show that in 1870 Kenyon’s mill was a mjor enterprise with more than 70 employees (40 men and 34 women) and extensive equipment, including two sets of carding machines, 52 looms, and 1,200 spindles.The town has invested $500,000 to stabilize the complex, including installing a new roof on the 1859 mill and repairing areas of water-damaged floors.  It has restored the north facade with cedar clapboard and twelve-over-twelve windows and paneled doors made of wood.  The bell tower seen in historical images is now missing, but its base has been repaired.  Some windows on the building are boarded up and others are covered with plexi-glass or plastic to secure the mill.  The town has conducted environmental remediation on all the soil that required off-site disposal.  Environmental and structural reports have been prepared, as well as drawings for documentation of the historic building.  All utilities will need to be replaced, as will access drives and parking surfaces.The Town of Coventry is looking for proposals that will preserve the unique characteristics of this piece of its nineteenth-century manufacturing history.  The new use must also be compatible with the primarily residential character of the surrounding neighborhood.  A pedestrian link with the village center is another priority.  Possible uses include professional offices for high-tech, research and design, or environmental firms.  The picturesque setting could make it a desirable location for a restaurant, conference center, or arts center.  A non-polluting, low-impact industrial use might also be considered.  Lot size: 10.1 acres. Usable square footage: 1859 mill - 14,140 sq. feet; all buildings combined - 32, 412 sq. feet.  Minimum offer: $65,000.  Deadline: 11 am, March 14, 2006. Contact: John Elsesser, Town Manager, 860-742-6324 or jelsesser@coventryct.org.  For further information and maps see http://www.coventryct.com.