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Pettee Silk Mill

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c. 1838. 44 Oak St.
  • Pettee Silk Mill (Keith Morgan)

Between 1836 and 1839, Otis Pettee joined thousands of New Englanders who experimented with growing a new strain of mulberry tree, the Morus multicaulus, to raise silk worms. The severe winter of 1839–1840 killed most of the trees. About 1838 Pettee built this stone barn to raise silk worms, moving part of his machinery operations here when the silk boom busted and a fire destroyed his other machine shops in 1839. The high fieldstone building features door and window surrounds of cut stone and brick. A monitor roof, running the length of the gable ridge, lights the interior space. Remarkably well preserved today, the building remains distinctive for having ground-level doors on all four floors, made possible by its hillside site.

Writing Credits

Keith N. Morgan


What's Nearby


Keith N. Morgan, "Pettee Silk Mill", [Newton, Massachusetts], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

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, 491-492.

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