In 1850 Boston merchant and financier Benjamin Bates incorporated Bates Manufacturing Company and built Mill No. 1, and in 1854 built Bates Mill No. 2. These mills provided jobs for people from throughout New England, the French Canadian provinces and many parts of Europe for 100-plus years.
In the mid-20th century, as textile manufacturing shifted South, thousands of jobs were lost in mills across New England, including Lewiston. Bates Mill No. 2, although never completely empty, was underused for 50 years prior to 2012.
New owner Nathan Szanton wished to honor the pioneers who built the cities of Lewiston/Auburn by helping find 21st century uses for the enormous stock of historic mill buildings. Many of the workers for the 2012 building’s renovations were great-grand-children, grandchildren and children of factory workers there.
The project included repointing the West and South brick façades. New building systems installed included 18 solar panels added on the roof. Replacement windows and insulation throughout provided for 48 mixed-income apartments.
The building is located is at the heart of Lewiston’s redeveloping Riverfront and is the first project in Lewiston’s history to convert historic mill space into housing. For the leadership in preservation of Maine’s rugged and beautiful 19th century mills, Maine Preservation is pleased to present a 2013 Honor Award for the adaptive use of the Lofts at Bates Mill.