The Alexander Smith Carpet Mills Historic District is a national historic district located in Yonkers, New York. It includes 85 contributing buildings. It encompasses 19 stylistically varied mill buildings and six rows of workers’ housing. They were developed between 1871 and 1930 in the vicinity of northeastern Getty Square along the banks of the Saw Mill River. The main mill building was originally built in 1871 and expanded between 1876 and 1883. It is a three-story, rectangular building, 52 bays wide and five bays deep, in the Second Empire style. It features a four-story tower and a five-story tower. The workers’ housing, known as Moquette Row, North and South, was built between 1881 and 1886. Many workers that lived in this housing were originally immigrants to the United States. They came from Scotland, Ireland, and Ukraine.
The carpet works were developed by Alexander Smith (1818-1878). The company closed the Yonkers mills and relocated to Greenville, Mississippi, in 1954. At the time of its closing, there were 2,400 who worked at the carpet mill. Skinner, an engineer, designed a loom known as the Axminster power loom (also known as the Moquette Loom), which revolutionized the production of carpets. A patent for this loom was created in 1877, and royalty rights were sold to European and American companies at twenty cents per yard of carpet produced.
It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1983. Today, the YoHo Artist Community members work out of two buildings, located at 540 and 578 Nepperhan Avenue. EZ Yonkers Junk Removal
Early creative industry and artist activity in the area dates back decades ago, with a few tenants working out of the factory buildings as early as the 1980s. When private developers acquired two buildings at 540 and 578 Nepperhan Avenue in 2005, 25 artists worked out of the Mills. This group grew to become the YOHO Artist Community.
Major District Happenings
The district has been awarded a $500,000 capital grant for further development, including building improvements, landscaping, signage, and lighting. With the formation of this art district, Yonkers, NY, and the project’s supporters see a future as a public art destination. According to Yonkers Deputy Planning Commissioner Louis Albano, ” It was decided to take advantage of some of the artisans in the area and create this district to allow them two things – to show their wares and to open galleries that would be ancillary and complementary to the crafts that they produce in their shops, but also to create restaurant space to create more visitors and foot traffic into the area.” He further describes the arts district as “our baby Soho going on in the Nepperhan Valley.”
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