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Old Mills New Life By Peg Lopota

T

hey say a cat has nine lives — maybe a building does too. For the Colony Mill in Keene, New Hampshire, it’ll soon be starting another life as homes for dozens of people. If you like modern life with a touch of history living in a converted mill building such as this one may suit you perfectly. It works great for Lisa Page, a registered nurse in her mid-50s who lives in a converted mill, the Newmarket Mill, Newmarket, New Hampshire. “You get a sense of history when you see the granite walls and the unique design of different apartments,” says Lisa Page. “I love Newmarket Mills.” Some folks purposely choose to live in converted mills, such as Taylor Weiss, 30, who works for a local surveying company and operates a small farm; and her partner, Julia Jones, 26, a graduate student at the University of New Hampshire who works for an investment firm. They also live in Newmarket Mills. They not only like the historical aspects of the building, but they also enjoy its location right in downtown. This lifestyle will soon be available in Keene at a former mill, then mall, on West Street. Originally constructed in 1838 by two local families, the Faulkners and the Colonys, according to the Historical Society of Cheshire County, the site has been used for mills since 1775. According to the Horatio Colony website, the mill was built on the site of an 18th-century saw and grist mill. Owners of the mill, Francis Faulkner and Josiah Colony gradually added more textile-making machines. During the Civil War, the mill made uniforms for Union troops, producing some 700,000 yards of flannel per year by 1855, according to the Historical Society. By 1942 some 500 people were employed here.

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