FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 28, 2014
Shelly Angers, N.H. Department of Cultural Resources
Peter Michaud, N.H. Division of Historical Resources
Cocheco Mills named to National Register of Historic Places
The New Hampshire Division of Historical Resources is proud to announce that Cocheco Mills in Dover has been honored by the United States Secretary of the Interior with placement on the National Register of Historic Places.
Cocheco Manufacturing Company was the largest and most prosperous business in Dover in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It was largely responsible for the city’s unprecedented growth from a secondary commercial center to down-river Portsmouth, to the largest industrial city in seacoast New Hampshire.
Initially, Cocheco’s mill workers were primarily young women from New Hampshire and southern Maine who averaged 70-hour work weeks. When their wages were reduced by five cents a day in 1828, they went on strike – the first women’s strike in the United States. By the 1840s, workers included Irish immigrants; French-Canadian and Greek immigrants were major parts of the workforce in the 1920s, when the company employed approximately 1,200 people.
Cocheco Mills’ red brick exteriors, segmented arched windows, deep overhanging eaves with brackets, and bays separated by brick piers make it an excellent example of a classic late 19th and early 20th century mill complex. Most of the existing structures were built between 1880 and 1925; Mill #5 is the only surviving building that was constructed in the early 19th century. Two buildings, Mill #1 and Mill #3, had water storage tanks for fire prevention, one of the many slow-burning construction methods that came into practice for complexes like Cocheco Mills.
Administered by the National Park Service, which is part of the U.S. Department of the Interior, the National Register of Historic Places is the nation’s official list of cultural resources worthy of preservation and is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate and protect our historic and archaeological resources.
For more information on the National Register program in New Hampshire, please visit www.nh.gov/nhdhr or contact Peter Michaud at the New Hampshire Division of Historical Resources at 603-271-3483.
New Hampshire’s Division of Historical Resources, the “State Historic Preservation Office,” was established in 1974. The historical, archaeological, architectural and cultural resources of New Hampshire are among its most important environmental assets. Historic preservation promotes the use, understanding and conservation of such resources for the education, inspiration, pleasure and enrichment of New Hampshire’s citizens. For more information, visit www.nh.gov/nhdhr or call 603-271-3483.