Biddeford is a small, formerly industrial city on the Southern Maine coast with a collection of impressively severe looking 19th century mills. The larger mill structures are tightly packed around a falls in the Saco river in the middle of town. Most of the mills produced textiles- blankets, I think. They changed hands several times over the years and ended up as part of the West Point Stevens company at the end. All production in the mills ceased in 2009 but had dwindled to almost nothing long before that. Many of the older mill buildings were built in the mid 19th century and are architecturally impressive. At one point the mills employed 12,000 people.
In spite of losing it's original economic engine and the 12,000 jobs the mills provided, Biddeford is remarkably vital. Open shops, bars and restaurants line the main commercial street. Most of the historic mill buildings are intact and secured. The large mill buildings on Saco Island have been reproposed as offices and retail and several others in a complex on the other side of the river are being used as well. There was a street festival going on when I was there so the place was lively and crowded. It was a very interesting, pleasant town to walk around in. There is an impressive amount of community redevelopment and historic preservation work going on in Biddeford. That was very nice to see and read about. I wish them luck. They have a lovely town to work with. There are some links below to more information about Biddeford and some of these efforts. The Mill District redevelopment plan is especially interesting.
The Lincoln Mill. The clock originally sat on top of the tower and was lowered at some point to (hopefully) preserve it.
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