Massachusetts Historical Commission - 2006 Preservation Award Winners
Hammond Organ Reed Factory / 9 May Street • Worcester
Hammond Organ Reed Factory / 9 May Street • Worcester

Adaptive Reuse, Rehabilitation & Restoration

The Andrew H. Hammond Organ Reed factory is a complex of structures built between 1868 and ca. 1900. Up until the First World War, it was believed to be the largest organ reed factory in the world. The factory also produced other small mechanical parts for cotton and woolen machinery manufacturers. The buildings are characterized by their load-bearing brick masonry walls with double-pitched Mansard roofs. The complex is considered to be one of few remaining Second Empire-style factories in Worcester and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The complex later functioned as a storage facility through the 1980s and was vacant for fifteen years prior to this recent restoration project. Its character-defining window dormers and slate roof were particularly deteriorated.

The restoration of the Hammond Organ Reed Factory involved extensive repointing of the exterior brickwork. One large expanse of wall, approximately 65 feet long and once covered by modern industrial siding, was completely missing and had to be reconstructed. Many fourth-floor window dormers were deteriorated beyond repair and were replicated using new materials. New slate was installed on the mansard roofs facing May and Silver Streets. A landscaped entry courtyard was created for the full use of the remaining buildings. This restoration and adaptive reuse project managed by Worcester Common Ground, Inc., a company dedicated to rehabilitating abandoned properties and creating affordable housing, furthers the city’s goals to revitalize this neighborhood and to provide quality affordable rental housing to residents.

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