Sunday, October 18, 2015

Whiting Mills #Historic Building

Whiting Mills - View from Holabird Ave. Parking Lot
      Winsted, settled in 1750, was formed at the junction of the Mad River and the Still River.  Winsted is part of the town of Winchester and derived it's name from the towns of Winchester and Barkhamsted when the congregational church moved from the hill to the valley forming the the First Congregational Church of Winsted.  The beautiful stone church is still located near the Winsted green.  Winsted is one of the first mill towns in Connecticut. 
      The Winsted Hosiery Company, founded in 1882, was a small manufacturer of men’s hosiery and occupied two red brick industrial buildings and a stone building on Whiting Street. The company later expanded its products and by 1936 became the largest hosiery manufacturer in Connecticut. The company’s red-brick industrial complex exemplifies the Italianate and Renaissance Revival design influences on manufacturing facilities around the turn of the century. The designers of the Winsted Hosiery buildings developed pragmatic solutions to the needs of a large manufacturing facility, maximizing natural lighting through open plans and continuous rows of windows. 
     On a tour of the building my childhood neighbor told me how her grandmother worked at the mill.  She would take home scraps of wool, dye them and braid them into rugs for her home.  
    In June of 2004, Whiting Mills, LLC was established when Jean Paul and Eva Blachere purchased the 135,000 sq ft complex. The historic Whiting Mills building was turned into artist studios. There are now more than fifty studio spaces occupied by herbalists, master artists, photographers, wood workers, cabinet makers, craftspeople and a railroad hobby store.   The majority of which are on the third and fourth floors.
Sign at entrance in back parking lot

    The Mill is set up a little quirky but that is the charm of it as well. The four floor building is built into the side of a hill and has a ground level entrance on each floor.  It can make it a little confusing for first time visitors.  If you enter from the main parking lot behind the building you are on the third floor.  These studios are numbered in the three hundreds.  The old freight elevator is located across from Tina's Baskets & Woven Art. If you take the stairs located next to this you will see a sign that says this way to the second floor.  Don't be confused - you are actually going to the fourth floor.  The studios her are numbered in the four and five hundreds.  That's right, the five hundred series of studios is on the fourth floor.  
Sign directing you to the stairs that lead to the 4th floor

Sign in stairwell pointing to the 4th floor
If you enter the building from the Holabird Avenue side of the building (the parking lot next to the firehouse) you can enter on three different floors.  Entrance 210B towards the bottom of the hill will bring you in at the second floor and the Northeast Farrier Supply.  You can take the stairs from here to the third and fourth floor.  Going up the hill entrance 210A is a small section of the third floor and hosts several artists.  There is no way to get to other parts of the building from here so to continue your tour you must exit the building and enter another way.  At the "top" of the hill you enter the five hundred series on the fourth floor.  The four hundred series of studios is just down the hall.

   I am located in studio 418. My large windows face the west and I receive tons of afternoon sun. I was told that people might have a hard time finding me around the corner in a hallway with two other artists but follow your nose.  The latest soap creation wafts through the halls and will lead the way.  
A view of my windows before moving in

My studio (418) with the windows in the background

1 comment:

  1. I love this old, quirky bit of history! And I love how your soap scents waft!


I would love to hear from you