Springdale Mill Village Ghost Town

Holden, Massachusetts
The Spingdale Mill Village Ghost Town in Holden, Massachusetts is an old community site that was established in 1873 but sits in ruins.
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The Spingdale Mill Village Ghost Town in Holden, Massachusetts is an old community site that was established in 1873 but sits in ruins.

The Springdale Mill Village was formed after the Springdale Woolen Mill was established in 1864. The woolen mill started with a 85-foot dam across the Quinapoxet River which was quickly extended to 115-feet and this allowed for a mill pond to form which would power mill operations. Although the first mill made of wood tragically burnt down in 1875, a newer granite mill was erected. The Springdale Woolen Mill thrived. It boasted four sets of machinery that produced tens of thousands of yards of fancy cassimeres each year.

It was important for the success of a mill operation to have a reliable source of workers. To ensure this, mill owners in New England usually constructed housing near their mills. These multi-family buildings were owned by the mill owners and rented to workers. Multi-family houses were called tenements. The owners of the Springdale Mill, over time, created a small community of homes. In 1905, the Springdale Mill Village consisted of a single four-tenement house and four two-tanement houses, along with several related outbuildings. Other members of the mill workforce were often the children of local farmers of boarders who rented rooms at nearby farms. The mill would have about 35 people employed at any given time.

Today, as you walk around the former site of the Springdale Mill Vilage, you can see it is essentially a ghost town. Just the foundations of the old tenement houses remain. Although no people still live here, it is amazing to think of what life was like for the former residents. While exploring today, there are some informational plaques at the old foundations. At the four tenement foundation, the plaque reads “This site was the first of the tenement housing built for the Springdale Mill by Greenman J. Smith in 1873. Time and nature’s elements are slowly reclaiming the site.” And at one of the two tenement foundations, the plaque reads “A typical tenement house was a wood-framed two-story structure with two seperate entrances in the center of the front wall. Based upon the 1880 and 1900 census figures, 8 to 12 people who have lived in a single tenement.” It should be noted census records also showed the youngest workers at Springdale Woolen Mill were 11 years old. Whole families would live and work together here. A young child usually could tent two of the self-acting spinning jacks on the third floor of the mill.

These ruins can be found about a mile and a half from the Mass Central Rail Trail trailhead in Holden, Massachusetts. The rail trail is a wonderful public resource. Located snugly between the Quinapoxet River and the MCRT, the stone foundations of the workers’ village in Springdale, Holden, offer a glimpse into the industrial past of the region.


Address: River Street, Holden, Massachusetts
Place GPS Coordinates: 42.384722, -71.821472
Parking GPS Coordinates: 42.384722, -71.821472
Parking Notes: There are a few parking areas for the rail trail. One of the best parking areas for visitors of the Sprindale Woolen Mill ruins can be found along River Street in Holden, Massachusetts.

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