The western suburbs of Boston are rich with history and the tales of early settlers from a bygone era are plentiful and make up the rich tapestry of New England’s history. Despite being a smaller town, that hasn’t lauded as much attention on the global stage than some surrounding towns such as Concord and Sudbury, the Town of Maynard, MA is no exception. Originally settled as “Assabet Village” an unincorporated independent municipality until its official renaming on April 19, 1871, the Town took its name from Amory Maynard, the owner and operator of the Assabet Woolen Mill and the primary employer in the region at the time.
The Assabet Village was originally formed on a parcel of land that included part of the towns of Sudbury and Stow, which were paid the sums of $23,600 and $8,000 respectively, for the purchase of the land. Amory Maynard and his partner, William Knight, bought the water rights to the Assabet and set about building a carpet mill on the site where Mill & Main now stands. The mill and surrounding community flourished and, at one point during the Civil War era, the mill became the largest producer of wool, used for U.S. military uniforms, than any other facility in the country.
Amory Maynard died in 1890, leaving the mill to his son, Lorenzo, who ran it until its bankruptcy and subsequent sale to the American Woolen Company in 1899. The property remained active in wool production until 1950, when it was sold and turned into a multi-tenant space for office and manufacturing tenants. In 1957, two young engineers, Ken Olsen and Harlan Anderson, who had both been working at MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory, leased 8,600 square feet in the complex to start what would become Digital Equipment Corp. Digital, of course, grew to be a tremendous success story for not only the Town of Maynard and Metro West region, but the State as well. In fact, in the 80’s DEC became the second largest employer in Massachusetts, second only to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts itself! Digital also owned the mill from 1974 through 1998, when the company was acquired by Compaq.
The mill and the Town of Maynard have gone through many business cycles and, despite some trying times, the mill is still a stunning example of architecture from a bygone era that can be repurposed and appreciated in modern times. Over the next few years, the property will undergo a massive transformation under the new ownership of Saracen Properties and Artemis Real Estate Partners and now that the property has been officially rebranded as Mill & Main, a new era of activity, creativity and productivity is poised to unfold. Built in 1847, Mill & Main will be born again in 2016!