Mill Record Sprague

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Complex Name (Common)
Baltic Mills Co. LARGELY DEMO’d
Complex Name (Historic)
  • Baltic Mills Co. LARGELY DEMO'd
Address or Location
Main Street, Sprague
County
New London
Historic Designation
Associated Mill Community
Historic Information

Companies Associated w/Complex

  • Baltic Mills Co.
  • Baltic Mills Co.

Use (Historic)

Largest Documented Workforce

n/a

Historic Narrative

Frederick Sayles of Pawtucket, Rl built the present mill on the Shetucket River in 1901. It stands on the site of an 1857 mill, then the largest in Connecticut, erected by prominent Rhode Island textile entrepreneurs Amasa and William Sprague. The Spragues lost Baltic when their empire collapsed in 1873, and the original mill itself burned in 1887. Most of the extant industrial structures date from Sayles' subsequent rebuilding, though the village and parts of the water power system were in place in the 19th century. The original dam washed away in 1876. The new dam lasted until 1955 before suffering a similar fate. The stone bulkhead with six sluice-gates was built in 1876. Races seen today have mostly the same configuration as the original layout, which mirrored the symmetrical arrangement of mill and wings. The headrace parallels the north side of the mill; water entered wheelpits beneath each wing and exited into the tailrace, which runs parallel to the south side of the buildings. Supervisors lived in the row of 10 dwellings northeast of the mill. The gable-roofed, double-entry, frame houses have cross-gable center bays. Across the river southwest of the mill the workers lived in 96 houses of similar design, arranged in a gridiron pattern with eight houses per block. Supervisory housing was later augmented with a second row of seven dwellings, while some 35 more were built in the workers' village. The firm organized by Sayles, Baltic Mills Co., operated until 1966. (Roth)

Architectural Information

Number of Existing Buildings

Two

Dates of Construction

c.1877, 1901

Architect

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Builder

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Building Type

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Architectural Description

Sayles' 5-story mill, about 500' x 70', has a flat roof and a central stair tower on each side. Walls consist of random-coursed granite blocks. Two 4-story wings, with similar stone walls, stand to the east and west of the mill, just like the original complex except that there is no wheelpit below the east wing. Sayles built the sawtooth-roofed weave shed, about 450' long with width ranging from 100' to 150'. Other extant structures include the gasholder house, boiler house and storehouse. (Roth)

Exterior Material(s)

Structural System(s)

Roof Form

Roof Material

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Power Source

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Condition

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Condition Notes

A c.1877 warehouse on the north side of Bushnell Hollow Road from the main complex has been rehabbed for mixed use. Most of the factory complex between the river and the road has been demolished with the exception of the easternmost addition which appears to be in ruins; a major fire broke out 4/2018 during demolition work.

Property Information

Specific Location

Located in Baltic Historic District (1987).
http://npgallery.nps.gov/nrhp/GetAsset?assetID=4516de62-1fbf-4696-a0da-38d492828a46

Adjacent To

Exterior Visible from Public Road?

Yes

Parcel ID / Assessor Record Link

n/a

Acreage

n/a

Use (Present)

Sources

Form Completed By

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Date

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Bibliography

  1. Roth, Matthew, et al, Connecticut: An Inventory of Historic Engineering and Industrial Sites (Washington DC: SIA, 1981).
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Photographer

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Photography Date

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