Massachusetts Historical Commission - 2013 Preservation Award Winners
Linwood Mill Apartments

Linwood Mill Apartments • Northbridge

Adaptive Reuse, Rehabilitation & Restoration

Located in the Linwood National Register Historic District, the Linwood Cotton Mill was built ca. 1866 and operated by the Whitin family. A fine example of Italianate design and mid 19th-century mill construction, the brick building rises 3 ½ stories under a slate mansard roof. Linwood Mill stopped cotton textile production in 1940, but the mill was active in various manufacturing capacities until the 1980s, when it was vacated and used primarily as an office storage facility. Prior to the project, the building had severely deteriorated.

An adaptive reuse project, which utilized state and federal historic rehabilitation tax credits and was completed in July 2012, transformed Linwood Mill into 75 affordable rental apartments for seniors, with 20,000 square feet of ground-level retail space. The mansard roof, dormers, trim, and historic bell tower were repaired and reconstructed. A functioning bell was added to the tower, and the original weathervane was replicated. At the main entrance, accessibility was made possible by raising the existing grade to meet the historic entry. This required construction of new retaining walls, which are not visible from the main road. To preserve the mill’s historic profile, the design team took measures to conceal rooftop units and other mechanical equipment from view. Some larger equipment was located within one of the existing outbuildings, and elevators were located within the building to avoid additional rooftop structures. At the interior, the design exposed as much brick as possible. Commercial areas and residential common areas have exposed brick and repurposed historic fire and elevator doors. Residential units include exposed original columns, beams, and decking. In the engine house, the floor was raised in a portion of the room to provide accessibility; the space is now a library for residents. The restoration of Linwood Mill has strengthened the area’s unique historic identity, while serving the community and creating new business opportunities.

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