Photo Gallery: Historic mills of Berkshire County


Nearly every community in Berkshire County has one. Chances are you live here thanks to an ancestor who was lured by the opportunity to work in one. Today, you might work or live in one. The mills of Berkshire County.

Mills made the Berkshires the place it is today. At times fueled by wars and at times fueled by peacetime prosperity, the mills made millionaires of the industrialists who owned them and provided reliable -- though not always easy -- work for the people. Thriving mills bustled with cotton looms or pumped out capacitors from the mid-19th to the latter half of the 20th centuries. Life centered around the work.

When economies and product needs changed, the jobs went south. The mills stayed behind. A few of them have stayed true to their original purpose -- papermaking, for example. Others remain empty and waiting for a new purpose.

Yet many more have found new life as museums, artists studios, incubators for small businesses, lofts, condominiums, storefronts, office spaces, business warehouses -- the list goes on. This year's Berkshire Business Outlook celebrates the history of the mills, the industry of yesteryear, and the rebirths of many as places to live, work and play.