Monday round-up: Art in decay, a tour of Biddeford’s millyard

Mills along the Saco: For over 100 years from the mid-1800s, the Pepperell Manufacturing Company made textiles at the Biddeford Mills. Today, many of the mills have been redeveloped into restaurants and office spaces. This view, from the Main Street bridge looks west into the heart of the complex.

One of the highlights of our mini-vacation in Portland over the weekend was stopping in Biddeford, Maine on the way to explore that town’s old millyard site. Over the years, Biddeford has worked hard to reclaim that mill complex along the Saco River.

And while, there are a good number of office spaces, condos and restaurants, there’s still plenty of good old fashioned, beautiful urban blight to explore.

We thought as a change of pace this Monday, we’d present an artful photo essay of this amazing site. If any of our readers have an cool stories or history about the Biddeford textile miles, let us know. Enjoy!

Here’s a link to the complete set: Biddeford Mills

Rotting time: The clock tower from the Lincoln Mill has been removed from its perch and is sitting near the street slowly falling apart.

Old storage door.

Waterbed warehouse.

Trash alley.

The smokestack still stands.

Click on the above thumbnails to see the larger image!

Signs of life: A long colorful mural spans a retaining wall near the river.

Past and present: Old design, new design. Both beautiful!

Headless mill: The Lincoln Mill with its decapitated clock tower.

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4 Responses to Monday round-up: Art in decay, a tour of Biddeford’s millyard

  1. Matt says:

    Hi there, my name is Matt and I work for the Pepperell Mill Campus, the company that owns most of the mills on the Biddeford side (minus Lincoln, RiverDam, and the Mills at Saco Falls). I was curious if you were able to visit the North Dam Mill (a building that is part of our complex) while you were visiting Biddeford?

    • Tom says:

      Hey Matt, it’s me Tom. I went into the underground archway of building 3, climbed over a spillway made of brick, probly a 12′ wide 12′ high underground masonry structure. I then entered a ten foot diameter metal tube and I walked to the end where a pile of crushed stone and gravel had been filled from above the courtyard area of #2.#3,and #4. I then went back and saw the archway, one of three under the building and came to the rivers edge. Four or five large granite stones from the archway had dropped five inches or more. The cavities of the granite were lodged with debris of limbs from water forcing and compromising the structure. I sent a pic to my pal and he said, don’t go down there again.

  2. Hi Matt! Thanks for finding us! Alas, We’re not too familiar with the actual names of each of the mills so I’m not sure if we visited North Dam. Is that the rehabbed one with the restaurant, etc.?

  3. Tom says:

    The mill is really an interesting part of history. Many granite archways for water traveled in and under the buildings. Such ingenuity back then and now nuclear power to kill Mo’s all of us, such a mistake.

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