AO FACILITIES, PART 3:

The Modern Era, 1900 and Beyond

Booming business forced the constant expansion, addition and extension of the wooden buildings. By the turn of the century, however, wooden structures were being replaced with fire-resistant brick & mortar and steel construction.

As George W. Wells notes in his writings: “In 1899 the first brick and timber wing now known as the north front of the Main Works, was erected. This settled the architectural design of the front elevation and marked a new era in buildings. Thenceforth the reconstruction was rapidly advanced and the pleasing appearance of the front, while settled upon eleven years ago, stands out in contrast to the architectural appearance of many industrial plants erected today. The last of the wooden buildings occupied in 1872, center of plant, were demolished in 1908.”

“The first unit of the present group of modern brick buildings was erected in 1900 at the northern end of the present metal division buildings, on the site of an old cotton mill. This is flanked with a tower atop which is a weather vane. The next year the ell on the southern end was built, also with a tower bearing the date of its construction. The old office building in the center of the plant was torn down in 1904 and rebuilt with brick, the present administration headquarters.” (The Southbridge News, September 5, 1933). 

NEXT WEEK: AO Facilities, Part 4: The Growth of Lensdale

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