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Boston Rubber Shoe Company, Factory No. 2

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1883–1884, Edward Sawyer; 1890s additions. 72 and 78 Stone Pl. and 99, 99R, 37 Washington St.
  • Boston Rubber Shoe Company, Factory No. 2

The Malden-based Boston Rubber Shoe Company built a second factory here that is unusually handsome, safe, and well arranged. Given the hazardous processes, the company used slow-burning construction and automatic sprinklers for fire safety and soon added electric lighting, powered by its own dynamo.

The original factory formed a U shape, with the main building, three stories and attic, parallel to Stone Place (formerly Goodyear Avenue, for the inventor of rubber vulcanization). The north facade, with its varied rooflines, dormer windows, pitched roof, and central tower looked back to older factory designs. A second building to the east, onethird as long and of equal height, was connected by a one- and two-story power plant. The two lofts housed the major manufacturing operations—pressing rubber sheeting and forming it into boots and shoes. In the 1890s, two perpendicular wings of equal size were added to each building.

At the ends of the original U stand a two-story building for packing and finishing plus a group of connected power and lighting plants and workshops. A two-story office building and a large, plain four-story brick warehouse, south of the packing building, were added in the 1890s, as well.

Part of the U.S. Rubber Company by 1898, Boston Rubber Shoe Company retained its name and soon became the largest manufacturer of rubber shoes in the world. So many people worked here that the company arranged to have the adjacent railroad add a passenger station. In 1926, boot making was transferred to the Malden factory; in 1929 the factory closed. Various manufacturers subsequently occupied the building, including the National Company, an important maker of radios. Today, this unusually complete complex houses several small businesses and a furniture retailer.

Writing Credits

Author: 
Keith N. Morgan
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Citation

Keith N. Morgan, "Boston Rubber Shoe Company, Factory No. 2", [Melrose, Massachusetts], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—, http://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/MA-01-MR9.

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Massachusetts

Buildings of Massachusetts: Metropolitan Boston, Keith N. Morgan, with Richard M. Candee, Naomi Miller, Roger G. Reed, and contributors. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2009, 397-398.

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