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Mill Talk: Mill Village / Mill City - Our Manufacturing Landscape

  • Charles River Museum 154 Moody Street Waltham, MA, 02453 United States (map)

THIS EVENT IS FREE TO THE PUBLIC

This talk will be given by renowned photographer Steve Dunwell.

New England is blessed with abundant streams and rivers, offering many opportunities for industrial waterpower.  For the first 40 years of American industry, hydro was the only power available.  A half-century later, it was still the dominant source.  

  Photo: STEVE DUNWELL

Photo: STEVE DUNWELL

Let’s explore the way in which mills were located to exploit the hydro opportunities at various sites.  Some started small, then expanded gradually.  Later, more ambitious plans were promoted, tapping huge hydro power sites and creating the great mill cities at Lowell, Lawrence, Holyoke, Manchester and Lewiston. 

The Francis Cabot Lowell mill in Waltham is an excellent starting point, with its 500-horse-power dam, and its incremental growth from all-hydro to mostly steam. 

The hydro story takes us to fascinating mill villages in rural areas such as Ponemah (Taftville, CT), North Grosvenordale, CT, and Pontiac, RI.  Each has its own quirky story, and its own mix of immigrants who kept the machines running.

With this geography in mind, Steve Dunwell will also show each of the portraits in the exhibit “With These Hands” and tell us about these mill workers. 

  Photo: STEVE DUNWELL   STEVE DUNWELL makes photographs of New England – its people, landscape, and industry – for publications, for collectors, and for advertising. Many of his photographs are featured in fourteen picture books on regional subjects.  Industrial history has been a primary interest for Dunwell throughout his professional career. Between 1973 and 1977, he photographed inside and around numerous textile mills in New England. Combined with a rich illustrated historical narrative, this work was published as The Run of the Mill by David R. Godine Press in 1978.  “With These Hands” is a collection of the textile worker portraits that formed the core of that mill documentation project.  In 1980, Dunwell worked with Michael Folsom to document the existing condition of the F. C. Lowell mill at Waltham for the Historic American Engineering Record. Folsom did the groundwork for the re-use of this mill for housing, and created the Charles River Museum of Industry on the site.  Since that time, Dunwell has continued to visit and document industrial sites around New England, with a special emphasis on early hydro power and textiles. He also works on corporate and editorial assignments, concentrating on architecture and aerials. His outstanding regional images are published by Back Bay Press, including Extraordinary Boston and the best-selling Boston Freedom Trail.  Steve Dunwell lives in Boston. His photographs are included in numerous corporate and private collections as well as museums and libraries.

Photo: STEVE DUNWELL

STEVE DUNWELL makes photographs of New England – its people, landscape, and industry – for publications, for collectors, and for advertising. Many of his photographs are featured in fourteen picture books on regional subjects.

Industrial history has been a primary interest for Dunwell throughout his professional career. Between 1973 and 1977, he photographed inside and around numerous textile mills in New England. Combined with a rich illustrated historical narrative, this work was published as The Run of the Mill by David R. Godine Press in 1978.

“With These Hands” is a collection of the textile worker portraits that formed the core of that mill documentation project.

In 1980, Dunwell worked with Michael Folsom to document the existing condition of the F. C. Lowell mill at Waltham for the Historic American Engineering Record. Folsom did the groundwork for the re-use of this mill for housing, and created the Charles River Museum of Industry on the site.

Since that time, Dunwell has continued to visit and document industrial sites around New England, with a special emphasis on early hydro power and textiles. He also works on corporate and editorial assignments, concentrating on architecture and aerials. His outstanding regional images are published by Back Bay Press, including Extraordinary Boston and the best-selling Boston Freedom Trail.

Steve Dunwell lives in Boston. His photographs are included in numerous corporate and private collections as well as museums and libraries.

 THIS MILL TALK IS SPONSORED BY THE LOWELL INSTITUTE

THIS MILL TALK IS SPONSORED BY THE LOWELL INSTITUTE

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