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Russell Company Upper Mill facts for kids

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Russell Company Upper Mill
In 2016
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Location 475 E. Main St.,
Middletown, Connecticut
Area 1 acre (0.40 ha)
Built 1836
NRHP reference No. 86000150
Added to NRHP February 6, 1986

The Russell Company Upper Mill is an historic structure in Middletown, Connecticut, built in 1836 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The building stands at the junction of Russell Street and East Main Street in South Farms. There is a small pond to the south. East Main Street's commercial and industrial development ends there. To the north, small businesses border the street, followed by the buildings of Russell Manufacturing Company, the area's most dominant feature. Russell Street crosses Sumner Brook nearby and ascends to a large residential district to the west. The mill is currently a condo-apartment complex.


This factory was erected by the Russell Manufacturing Company in 1836, and is the oldest surviving textile mill building in the city. Incorporated in 1834 by Samuel Russell, Samuel Hubbard and others, in 1841, the company was the first to produce elastic webbing on power looms. By 1896, it manufactured a wide variety of woven products and was the nation's largest manufacturer of suspenders. Approximately 900 workers were employed in the company's seven mills.

The original brick structure, identified as the "Webb Mill" on the 1859 Walling map, runs parallel to Sumner Brook. A mill race once flowed through the building. The long main factory section has a gabled roof trimmed by a corbeled brick cornice moulding. The exterior of the structure has vertical, metal supports that reinforce the brick walls. The two mansard roofed ells, added prior to 1874, have a number of gabled dormers. A smokestack and decorative towers that crowned different parts of the roof were removed after 1896.

The building, together with dam and pond nearby, reflects South Farms' early industrial history. The success of the Russell Manufacturing Company transformed the area into a thriving city district. Three company factories bordered the brook here in 1850. Of these, this structure is the last remaining building.

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