The former Fuller Brothers Hat Manufacturing complex is historically and architecturally significant as an important and rare surviving example of the mid-19th century large scale industrial development in the city of Middletown under National Register Criteria A and C. The building displays architectural elements from the Italianate and Romanesque styles and retains a high degree of materials and craftsmanship. It is one of the few remaining industrial complexes associated with the city of Middletown’s major industrial area and the large scale industrial development of the mid and upper Hudson Valley regions.
The factory complex was built by the Fuller Brothers in 1874 and throughout its history it has been owned by a number of different entities. The original factory consisted of seven principal buildings, but it has undergone various alterations since its construction including additions to the main building and the construction and demolition of outbuildings on the property.
The project is located at 34 Mill Street in the City of Middletown, Orange County at the corner of Mill Street and Harding Street. The buildings have been mostly vacant since 1978. Adaptive reuse of the property allowed for the rehabilitation of the property for needed affordable housing. This project serves two important purposes: first, the preservation, reuse and restoration of the most significant components of the property, namely, the main mill building and the smokestack—the signature element of this historic complex, as well as an additional outbuilding; and second, the provision of needed affordable housing in the City of Middletown.
Magnusson Architecture and Planning PC designed and carried out an adaptive reuse of the main mill building as residential units and commercial space, and one of the original outbuildings for a residents’ community hall. As preservation consultants, Henson provided the necessary analysis and specifications to reconstruct, and maintain the façades of the main mill building and the original chimney stack. A new addition of 15 additional units and residential support facilities is attached to the east of the main mill building through a three-story glass corridor, replacing the remainder of the original outbuildings.
This project has been recognized by the Brick Industry Association with the 2017 Gold Award, and the Society of American Registered Architects with the 2019 Design Award of Merit.
November 5, 2019