ATTLEBORO — The 210-year-old Dodgeville Mill has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places, but its history making days are far from over, owner Gary Demers said.
Demers said the process took years, but the listing signals an ambitious new beginning for the former cotton mill, which dates to 1809.
“This designation marks the beginning of the next chapter we envision for the historic Dodgeville Mill,” Demers said in a statement emailed to The Sun Chronicle last week.
“We are committed to highlighting the history, to embracing the present, and to celebrating the future of our community,” he said.
The Massachusetts Historical Commission approved the designation on Dec. 14, according to the Secretary of State’s Office.
The building, now in its third century of life, will retain the critical elements of its past, but will also be infused with 21st century technology to aid in the creation of its new life.
“A significant internet presence and YouTube will create national and international recognition and regard,” Demers said.
Demers’ plans for the sprawling building, which dominates the landscape at 453 South Main St., includes the creation of a museum, a space for new businesses and possibly a “cultural center” for the Dodgeville neighborhood.
He said the museum, to be known as The Museum at the Mill, will anchor the newly energized building and will not only teach about the past but the present and future as well.
“That space will afford an historical presentation of the mill and community through the centuries in Attleboro,” Demers said. “Invention and innovation in Attleboro will be recognized while maintaining the fabric of the mill buildings. Programs utilizing STEM initiatives (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) will be offered.”
Another part of the mill will be used to create professional office space. The goal is to make it a “destination” building, Demers said.
That part of the project is known as “A Nest for New Business.”
Demers said he hopes the architectural features of the building, which include high ceilings, numerous windows and “astonishing floors,” will attract new occupants to the site.
But he’s shooting for more than just an office building.
“The vision includes rooftop terraces, green spaces, nature experiences, dining experiences and future professional space with indoor parking access,” he said.
Meanwhile, the cultural center would aim to “celebrate the community and the neighborhood.”
It would provide meeting and event space.
“Galleries, classrooms and studios will be available,” Demers said.
Woodworking and metalworking classes would be offered there, too, he added.
“This is the next chapter in preserving the history of the Dodgeville Mill and we look forward to sharing it with the public,” Demers said. “We have the place, the people and the vision.”
George W. Rhodes can be reached at 508-236-0432.