Brown Stocking Mill Historic District

Brown Stocking Mill, Ipswich MA

The Brown Stocking Mill was near the intersection of Mt. Pleasant Ave with Brownville Ave. A development known as “New Mill Place” is now at that location.

At the turn of the 20th century, Harry Brown established a hosiery mill called the Brown Stocking Mill Co. atop the hill northeast of the center of Ipswich. In the first optimistic flush of his enterprise (which briefly employed 800 operatives), Brown laid out Brownsville Avenue just south of his factory and built 22 houses, extending west from the factory down the slope of Brownsville Ave. to Topsfield Rd. The hosiery mill soon failed, but the houses remain. All are front-gabled with front porches, and vary from 1 to 2 1/2 stories in height.

brown-mills-district

The Brown Stocking Mill Historic District includes mills and worker housing dating from 1906 built by the Brown Stocking Mill on Brownville Ave, established by Harry Brown. The area is defined as 24—32 Broadway Avenue, 3—41 Brownville Avenue, 10 Burleigh Avenue, 3—5 Burleigh Place, and 35—47 Topsfield Road.

Subsequent history of the Browns Mill facility

  • The use of the facility from 1910 to 1954 needs research.
  • McMillan Radiation Labs Inc. operated out of the facility from 1954 until its dissolution in January 1979.
  • Paul Beswick founded Beswick Engineering in 1963 in Beverly, MA, and in 1972 moved operations to the Brownville facility. They moved from the Ipswich location in 1996 to a modern facility in Greenland, New Hampshire.
  •  In 1976, Rich and Steve Pierce opened a woodworking plant in the former Brown’s Mill building and started The Pierce Company. After Steve left, Rich started making custom furniture and remained at the Brown’s Mill building until 1999 when he moved into the closed Ebinger Brothers leather company building on Peatfield Street. They moved from there to Mitchell Rd. and are no longer in business.

National Register of Historic Places

Due to their historic nature, the Ipswich Mills neighborhood known as Pole Alley, and the Brown Mills neighborhood were each eligible for designation as a National Historic District, an area or property associated with events or developments of significance to the history of their community or which have significant architectural history or engineering achievements.

Both districts were added to the National Park Services Registry of Historic Places in August of 1996 after being documented by a professional preservation consultant. That same year EBSCO Publishing moved into the old Ipswich Woolen Mills buildings. Owners of properties listed in the National Register may be eligible for a 20% investment tax credit for the rehabilitation of income-producing commercial, industrial, or rental residential buildings. Properties must be rehabilitated according to standards set by the Secretary of the Interior.

Mill housing on Brownville Avenue in Ipswich

Mill housing on Brownville Avenue in Ipswich

Due to their historic nature, the two Ipswich neighborhoods were each eligible for designation as a National Historic District, an area or property associated with events or developments of significance to the history of their community or which have significant architectural history or engineering achievements.

Owners of properties listed in the National Register may be eligible for a 20% investment tax credit for the rehabilitation of income-producing commercial, industrial, or rental residential buildings. Properties must be rehabilitated according to standards set by the Secretary of the Interior.

Brown Stocking Company

Essex Hosiery Company sale

Auction of the Essex Hosiery Company (former Brown Hosiery Company) on Brownville Ave.