The Dorchester-Milton Lower Mills Industrial District is an historic district on both sides of the Neponset River in the Dorchester Area of Boston and in the town of Milton, Massachusetts. It encompasses an industrial factory complex, most of which was historically associated with the Walter Baker & Company, the first major maker of chocolate products in the United States. The industrial buildings of the district (now in mixed industrial/retail/residential use) were built between about 1868 and 1947, and were listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980, with a slight enlargement in 2001.
Description and history
Lower Mills Village is located on either side of the Neponset River, which demarcates the southern boundary of Boston and the northern boundary of Milton. The river is crossed by Adams Street, which roughly bisects the district. The district is bounded on the south by the MBTA rail right-of-way in Milton and River, Washington, and Adams Streets in Dorchester.
The district includes sixteen industrial buildings, all but one of which were directly associated with Water Baker & Company. Most of the buildings are built out of brick, with numerous additions and ells. They are stylistically diverse, having been built between 1868 and 1947, reflecting styles from the Second Empire to the Queen Anne, Romanesque Revival, and utilitarian modern.
Chocolate-making in the immediate area has a history dating to the mid-18th century, when Dr. James Baker and John Hannan established the business in 1765. The company they founded grew to national prominence in the first half of the 19th century under Walter Baker, James Baker’s grandson, but a major portion of the present complex was built beginning in 1868 under the leadership of Henry Pierce, and continuing under his successor, H. Clifford Gallagher. In 1926 the company was acquired by General Foods, which continued to manufacture chocolate under the Baker name on these premises until 1965, when it consolidated operations at a plant in upstate New York.
Wikipedia contributors. “Dorchester-Milton Lower Mills Industrial District.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 31 Oct. 2015. Web. 13 Jun. 2016.