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


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.


From the Church Hill Industrial District nomination form, 1982

The Campbell Machine Shop is a long, 5-story red brick mill, its entrance facing Bayley Street, its length facing Commerce Street. The roof, above a dentiled cornice, is extremely low-pitched, almost flat; the windows have granite sills and are set under segmental arches; most of the original 12-over-12 sash remains in place. A windowless, flat roofed stair tower is set on the east side. Large freight doors open into each story on the north end.

[…] The last structure built in the Church Hill Industrial District is the Campbell Machine Shop, constructed in 1888-1889 for the Campbell Machine Company, organized in 1880. Still largely unchanged from its construction until today, the building was erected to house the manufacture of a sewing machine invented by Duncan H. Campbell. The Campbell sewing machine was the first of its kind — able to form a lock-stitch with waxed thread and capable of 400-stitches per minute. It was widely used by harness and shoe manufacturers, and created enough demand for its manufacturing company to open a branch office in England. Campbell also produced knitting machines here. The Campbell Company’s mill was used for yarn production for several decades in the twentieth century, but is today vacant. […]

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.

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.

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