MARY SCHWALM http://www.eagletribune.com/local/x12790665/Fire-destroys-historic-Merrimac-Paper-mill/?state=taberU (Full article)
Alysha Palumbo http://www.necn.com/01/13/14/Officials-investigating-giant-Lawrence-M/landing.html?blockID=861717 (Full news video)
When I heard on the news that there was a huge fire last night in a huge, old mill, I immediately thought of the studios. But it was one in Lawrence a bit east of Lowell, another old mill city like so many in New England. Luckily, it was a vacant building, but what a loss. Lit by the flames was all the lovely old wooden beams, the fan-lights and the brickwork, now all totally beyond salvaging for any reuse. When these old mills go up in flames, which several do each year, it is a spectacular sight. All that dry wood, which has absorbed whatever chemicals were used in the building over the decades, enclosed in a brick exterior, and often there is additional accumulated debris which adds more fuel. Each mill that falls to fire can never be replaced, the cost is too great for a dinosaur of a building, instead either an empty lot or cheap looking strip mall is the aftermath. The glory days of mills is over, even if the manufacturing remains it can be done with fewer workers in smaller buildings. But, oh the beauty of these old buildings. It is pure nostalgia as we all know what conditions were like and how low the wages were, but that doesn’t detract from how well the buildings were designed and built, and the presence they exude even today.