Essex Company Machine Shop

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Essex Company Machine Shop
Essex Company Machine Shop, Lawrence, MA.jpg
Essex Company Machine Shop is located in Massachusetts
Essex Company Machine Shop
Essex Company Machine Shop is located in the United States
Essex Company Machine Shop
LocationLawrence, Massachusetts
Coordinates42°42′34″N 71°9′17″W / 42.70944°N 71.15472°W / 42.70944; -71.15472Coordinates: 42°42′34″N 71°9′17″W / 42.70944°N 71.15472°W / 42.70944; -71.15472
Part ofNorth Canal Historic District (ID84000417)
NRHP reference No.72000138[1]
Significant dates
Added to NRHPNovember 9, 1972
Designated CPNovember 13, 1984

Essex Company Machine Shop, also known as Stone Mill or the Lawrence Machine Shop, is a historic machine shop on Union Street in Lawrence, Massachusetts. It was built in 1846 and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1972.


The Essex Company was incorporated on March 20, 1845, for the purpose of creating a manufacturing town on the Merrimack River. The town eventually became Lawrence.

Site plan of the Essex Company complex as it appeared in 1850. Note that north is at the bottom of the plan.

To attract manufacturers, the Essex Company dammed the river with the Great Stone Dam and created a canal to provide a power source for future businesses. The machine shop was created at the head of the canal as part of a foundry to service the Essex Company and tenant manufacturers. The facility consisted of the machine shop, a foundry, a forge shop containing 32 forges, and a chimney connected via an underground flue to the forges. The entire complex was warmed by steam and had power provided by two Fourneyron water turbines.[2]

A branch of the Boston and Maine Railroad encircled the complex to allow for delivery of raw materials and coal.[2]

In 1850, the complex employed 400 but was designed with the capacity to employ 800-1000 workers.[2]

Description of the building[edit]

The machine shop building is one of the few remaining structures from the original Essex Company site. It is 404 feet (123 m) long and 64 feet (20 m) wide. It is four stories high and was designed to allow access to steam locomotives. The other surviving structure is the 142' (43 m) high chimney.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. April 15, 2008.
  2. ^ a b c d Massachusetts Sanitary Commission (1850). Sanitary Survey of the Town of Lawrence. Boston, MA: Dutton and Wentworth.