Date Of Visit: March 25, 2017
Location: Ludlow Mills, East St and State St, Ludlow, MA (about 2 hours west of Boston, MA and 15 minutes northeast of Springfield, MA)
Parking: There is a parking lot at ghe side and rear of the building. There is also parking available in nearby parking lots
A few of the great things about New England are the old buildings and historical structures. It’s funny how we can become attached to inanimate objects. However, I don’t really consider these buildings as being dead or never having been alive in the first place. The people and the activity in the buildings give them an energy and a life of their own. Yeah, I really do have strong feelings about brick, stone and concrete structures. Maybe I should look into that.
Buildings and structures (especially abandoned ones) are like living, breathing entities with countless stories to tell. They are not just buildings. They become fixtures of their communities. Such as the case with the Ludlow Clock Tower and Lower Mills area. In fact, the the clock tower is such a prominent fixture of the town it is depicted on the town seal.
Oddly, the clock remains stuck at 10 past twelve o’clock at the front facing clock and 11:45 at the side facing clock (it was a little after 10 a.m. when I took the photos).
The Ludlow Clock Tower, or at least the building attached to it, is scheduled to be renovated as part of the Massachusetts 351 Project. As part of this project, some of the space will be set aside for senior housing by the WinnDevelopment corporation. Some of the space will also be taken by HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital which is estimated to cost $288 million and house 53 hospital beds.
Although it is good the space will be put to good use, it is sad the once prominent manufacturing facility will be renovated. With the walls, bricks, and probably a little asbestos, a lot of history and memories will be demolished.
The clock tower , which was constructed as part of the complex in 1886 by the Ludlow Manufacturing and Sales Company, has seen various business and tenants roam its hallways over the years. The commercial space has seen many changes from the horse and buggy days to the current days of motorized vehicles.
At its height in the 1920’s, before the Great Depression, the commercial space is said to have employed over 4,000 people. Now it stands largely unoccupied in stark contrast to the busy manufacturing powerhouse it used to be.
Like many other buildings and facilities, the Lower Mills facility fell victim to modernization. Lower Mills stopped their operations in the 1960s. Currently, 38 small businesses occupy the space.
Een though the building and neighborhood will clearly be better for the renovations and modernization (there is also a river walk way being considered), I can’t help feeling the neighborhood will lose just a little of its charm.