The first Newmarket Manufacturing Company mill was incorporated in 1822. Over the years, the mills got bigger and more complex. After starting with cotton textiles, the company later added silk. At one point, the weaving room at the mill was the largest room in the world, with over 700 workers and 906 looms. The mills dominated community life and life on the river. The company built and owned the seven textile mills, a machine shop, office, storage buildings, agent’s house, and multifamily residences built for the workers – some 140 sites in all. All are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. They represent “a unique example of a New England mill town developed as a Waltham-type cotton textile manufacturing community.” The granite mill buildings are among “the most beautiful of all textile factories of the period” and are the best preserved examples in New Hampshire.
The Newmarket Manufacturing Company’s influence went well beyond Newmarket. It also built and controlled dams at Pawtuckaway and Mendums Ponds. Water releases from these distant ponds supplemented flows in the Lamprey during dry periods and guaranteed power year-round in Newmarket.Textile mills operated continuously at this site until 1929 when a dispute between mill owners and workers erupted. The mills closed, the jobs went to Lowell, Mass., and life as many knew it collapsed. It took many years, but the mills and the community are undergoing a rebirth of sorts. The mill buildings have been modernized and now serve as offices, light manufacturing facilities, and residential space. The downtown area has a variety of small shops, galleries, and an active calendar of events. With its long history, Newmarket is a nice place to “mill around”.