Campbell Machine Shop

also known as Parkin Yarn, now Bayley Lofts

A late 19th-century mill building used originally as a machine shop but largely as a cording manufacturer that converted to residential in 2004

About this Property

#Redevelopment

During 2003 and 2004, partners Peter Case (Truthbox architects) and George Potsidis acquired and renovated the former Parkin Yarn spinning mills. After 20+ years of vacancy, the large, five story mill was given a new life as 25 condominium apartments, some of the first such units in Pawtucket during the early oughts.

At one point this site was considered to be razed and developed into a Home Depot or a similar urban strip mall. The building had been purchased with Federal money, and the City of Pawtucket had a lien on it as well. The use of Federal funds prohibited the possibility of tearing the structure down, since it was also listed on the National Register of Historic places.

Nearly 8 years of planned developments disintegrated before Case and Potsidis finally came to the table with some strong financial backing. State Historic Tax Credits were also instrumental in the success of this project.

#Current Events

While originally targeted to artist and “artist-types”, the building has been condos and some units come onto the rental or retail market at around $1200-$1500 a month or $230,000–$300,000 to purchase. While opened with low-to-middle range pricing, the market has since taken over.

#History

From “RHODE ISLAND: An Inventory of Historic Engineering and Industrial Sites”, Gary Kulik and Julia C. Bonham, 1978

This 5-story, brick building with segmental-arch windows, granite lintels, and a roof of slight pitch, housed the Campbell Machine Shop during the late 19th century. The firm was organized in 1880 and the present building was erected in 1888-1889. The shop’s principal product was a lock-stitch, wax-thread sewing machine, the invention of Duncan H. Campbell. This was the first machine capable of forming a lock-stitch with wax thread and was used by shoe and harness manufacturers. The machine was capable of 400 stitches per minute in the hands of a skilled operator. The invention was important enough to develop a European market, and a branch of the firm was established in Leicester, England. The company also built a knitting machine capable of knitting irregular shapes for use by hosiery and underwear manufacturers. The building is presently occupied by the Parkin Yarn Mill.

Credit: Grieve and Fernald; Pawtucket City Tax Records; Everts and Richards; Barlow Bancroft Insurance Survey, 24 May 1892.


Tom Parkin and Percy Hodgson started Parkin Yarn Mill in 1922. The company started with only 14 employees, and many of them did double duty. Percy, for example, was a general manager, superintendent, bobbin boy, master mechanic, salesman and stenographer. During World War II, the mill was engaged in 100 percent war work.