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Ann and Hope Store Complex (Ann and Hope Mill, Lonsdale Mill)

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Ann and Hope Mill, Lonsdale Mill
1886, 1901, Frank P. Sheldon. 1 Ann and Hope Way

These are the second and third mills of the Lonsdale Company in Cumberland, diminished but not destroyed by foreground encumbrances. The four-story 1886 mill (now a warehouse) was named for the wives of the founders of the Lonsdale Company, Ann Brown and Hope Ives. Previously, while still merchants in shipping, and before their conversion to manufacturing, Nicholas Brown and Thomas P. Ives had christened two sailing vessels in succession with the same compound name. The 448-foot length of the 1886 mill allegedly made it among the largest of its time. The projecting segmental arches over narrow windows which are punched directly into the plane of the wall depend on Victorian precedent and mark this factory as an early Frank P. Sheldon design. So do the brick moldings and corbelings of its squat, deeply projecting tower. Yet already there is an abstraction and precision about the thin layering of these residual castellated motifs which anticipates qualities developed in subsequent Sheldon industrial buildings.

The same tendencies pushed a bit further are evident in the tower embellishment of the later two-story addition (now a discount store), whose similarity to the earlier building may reflect the desire to harmonize the two units. Both have lost their low pyramidal roofs (a similar one still exists at Ashton [ CU11]). The 1901 building, however, shows the transformation away from the narrow-windowed, thick walling of the 1886 mill to the skeletal pier-and-spandrel walling typical of early twentieth-century factories, but consummately proportioned and articulated in accord with evolving Sheldon standards for this new design approach. Note, too, in the older mill, the refinement of the projecting corbeled band under the cornice at the level of the springing of the topmost row of windows to create a frieze that contains the bracketing, while also marking a transition to the eaves above—a detail which is not unique to Sheldon buildings, but is handled here with admirable straightforwardness and elegance. Inside the discount store, much of the “slow-burning” heavy timber construction of the original mill is still visible.

Writing Credits

William H. Jordy et al.

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