At the corner Vermont Route 100 and “A” Street (or simply an extension of Main Street) sit two red clapboard buildings overlooking the Lamoille River at the edge of the Morrisville Historic District. Once important structures to a village, mill complexes don’t often serve industrial purposes today. If they have not been adaptively reused to meet the needs of a modern population, mill buildings sit empty. Such is the case in Morrisville. These buildings are currently owned by Morrisville Water & Light, appearing to be buildings no longer used, though in good condition.
(Some information from the National Register Nomination – these buildings are contributing structures in the Morrisville Historic District.)
The warehouse and grist mill date to 1867 as part of the Safford Mills Complex, constructed for and owned by J. Safford & Sons. The warehouse is a Greek Revival style clpaboard industrial building. While its original purpose is unclear, its location and plan suggest it was the receiving office/warehouse for the grist, saw, and wood-turning mill below. Its front is 1.5 stories, while the rear is 3.5 stories from the bottom of the bluff. Freight doors at the top and bottom and a platform elevator inside allowed flour, lumber, and other finished goods to be raised easily to the to of the bluff, thus avoiding a steep ascent by wagon via the access road.
The Saffords, owners of the mill complex, were a prominent family in Morrisville and resided in the adjacent Noyes House, a federal style brick mansion.
The good news is that Morrisville is on the upswing. Recently completed tax credit projects on Main Street show that there is interest and growth in the village. Perhaps there is life left for the Safford Mill buildings.
Any good mill projects in your small town?