Montgomery Building – Now – #ThursdayDoors

The kept the lower level (the one that will likely flood) as a parking garage.

A couple years ago, I featured doors from the Montgomery Mill complex. At that time, a developer was making plans to purchase, restore and repurpose the former “Decorative and Electrical Tinsel” plant into apartments. The complex is located on the industrial island between the Windsor Locks Canal and the Connecticut River – a challenging place to work.

The project is complete, and I have to say, these guys surprised me. They did a marvelous job. I was sure that the more modern section of the building, the grid of poured concrete beams and girders, would look like so much industrial waste. They spent months repairing and replacing sections of concrete to make it look very nice. The brick sections of the building received a similar amount of attention, and the complex today is beautiful.

The entrance to the Windsor Locks Canal State Park sits at the north end of the complex. In all the years we’ve been hiking and biking the canal path, that “parking area” was little more than a landing pad of mud and gravel. Today, it’s a paved parking lot and a picnic area. The gate at the entrance to the canal path is new and it’s both a formidable barrier to protect the nesting bald eagles, and a welcoming entrance.

This post is part of Thursday Doors, a weekly feature orchestrated by Norm Frampton. Please visit Norm’s site to see his doors and the doors from others all over the world.


56 comments

    1. Back when we were allowed to take pride in our work and time to embellish function with beautiful form. I’d say, don’t get me started, GP, but…

      I am pleasantly surprised. This was one old mill that I thought was beyond saving. They really pulled a rabbit out of their hat on this.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Wow! Incredible restoration of the old mill. The entire area looks so attractive. I too love the intricate brickwork on the old building, Too bad they couldn’t have incorporated it into a few sections of the new structure. Hats off to all those who accomplished this restoration.
    🐾Ginger 🐾

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It really is an attractive area now, Ginger. We used to enter the Canal Park parking lot on the access road along the canal. Now we have to drive around the building. I was surprised at how pretty it is. They really thought more about the area than just the building. I was impressed.

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    1. It is kind of sad. Usually, these companies are in it for the money, and that shows. This seems to be a first class operation, at least from the outside. I know the rental percentage is high, so they must be doing something right.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m right with you on being surprised, Lois. I had a sense this was going to be a nice job when I saw how much effort they were putting into the concrete restoration and repair. It’s really a pretty site, and both times that I’ve been there, there have been people working the grounds or the building.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. The buildings along the other side of the canal are largely screened from the road. I didn’t even know the large one was there. I don’t normally see it from the canal path, because this end is usually not open until July.

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  2. My uncle was a structural engineer, who was asked to write a report on the fire safety of old warehouses. This was back in the mid-60’s, when developers were first thinking about repurposing old buildings in downtown Minneapolis. He noted that it takes hours for a raging fire to compromise the structural integrity of massive wooden beams – but minutes to do the same with steel.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s not surprising, especially since they weren’t very good at protecting steel for a long time (I’m not sure we’re not still in that time). My cabinet shop was in an old textile mill building. The beams were 14″ chestnut, and hard as a rock.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I went back to compare the ‘before’ post to the ‘after’ post – these folks did an amazing job with this.
    On another note, man did you see the rents on these places?! 2 bedrooms start at $1600!!! Holy crap, that’s almost $20,000 a year for RENT!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They did do a good job, and lots of attention to details outside. There’s even a sign in the driveway that says “Welcome Home”

      Sadly, that rent is not out of line in this area. There were some low income units, but I think they were between $1,100 and $1,200.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Dan, this is fascinating in a different way. I love seeing industrial buildings from the 20s and late 1800s restored to living spaces. Thanks for the link. I was extra curious to see the inside.
    Believe it or not, I considered moving to Detroit a few years ago. It “should” have been a path to promotion, so I was willing to try — if I could find affordable housing in a safe area. Lots of cheap houses there, but the safe part was another story. But you know I also needed to be VERY close to work. That meant the river walk area, which was far above my price range. My rambling point is that there were some similarly restored buildings from that area. When done well, they have such a cool vibe. The one you showed did a terrific job. I love that they kept the 1920 on the concrete. Marvelous post. Hugs on the wing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They really worked to get this right, Teagan. And, in a few years, the train station will be moved directly across the canal. It’s currently 2 miles south, but that’s the train I would take to DC. But now we also have a $3 train into Hartford. I like that they used industrial looking windows.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Your comment about the windows was my thought as well. Maintaining the industrial style of windows helped to keep the original integrity of the building. From the renovation of the old Wrigley’s building here in Toronto, I can vouch that the industrial windows give it a spectacular vibe from the inside.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I went back to see the older post with the original and 1920 addition and wow! They did an amazing job on the restoration! I really want a tour of the apartments now. I really like that they kept the little black portico, and the big garage doors they kept green too. I do love the red brick though.

    The canal park looks lush and lovely.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thanks for sharing part of your neighborhood. I would love to walk out my door and (maybe?) see eagles nesting, but the river walk would be enough. Had to look up “electrical tinsel” but “decorative” hmmm, like Christmas tinsel? Maybe they will do some festive decorating around the holidays to honor the building’s past. Like that they kept the sign on the top.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I really liked the fact that they restored and kept the sign. I think the ‘decorative’ refers to yarn that they made. They incorporated metal fibers and then realized that the yarn was a good conductor so they moved into electrical tinsel.

      The park is very pretty, and the new entrance is a big improvement.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Great pictures and lovely post. Sometimes I wonder if people really live in the USA. Most streets are so empty. Over here, it is almost impossible to find such empty spaces even in the rural areas. They did a fine job here to convert the mill into an apartment building. The other day I was watching a show on Slovenia (Europe) and they showed how they transformed a local prison into a hostel. They kept the original prison bars to connect it with the history. The hostel is so bright and airy and colorful that it is hard to imagine it was a prison in history.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Hi Dan – I can see what you say … it looks very sympathetically restored – really eye-catching in its historical restoration. Interesting to see – thank you … Hilary

    Liked by 1 person

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