History of Parker Mills

History of Parker Mills

Originally known as Parker Mill No. 2, this mill was built on farmland in East Warren in 1899 as a branch of Fall River’s Parker Mill Inc. The factory produced fine cotton goods and eventually operated 70,000 spindles, 1,405 looms and employed 450 workers. Built during the peak of New England’s domination of the textile market, it was considered state-of-the-art for its time. Together with every other textile mill in the region, its business declined steadily through the  1920s, forcing wage cuts, shorter work weeks and temporary shut downs, and by 1929 the Parker Mills closed.

In 1930  the company’s mills were acquired for a dollar by Berkshire Fine Spinning Associates, as part of the new company’s strategy to compete with Southern mills through conglomerate-style economic efficiencies. The mill reopened in 1931 as Berkshire’s King Phillip D Division, the company’s strategy worked and the mills’ valued jobs were saved. Berkshire, which became Berkshire-Hathaway, continued to manufacture cotton goods at the King Phillip D mill, however by 1964 the company was down from 15 mills to just its Warren and the original New Bedford plants, and its net worth had shrunk from $53 million down to $22 million since the merger.

In 1962, future investment wizard Warren Buffett began buying up Berkshire-Hathaway stock cheaply and in 1965 acquired controlling share of the once family-owned business. Buffet’s strategy was to grow the profits of the company but he chose to do this by investing solely outside of the textile industry, initially using the company’s insurance holdings as investment capital. Buffet’s strategy worked as Berkshire-Hathaway transformed into a hugely successful diversified holding company. However, Parker Mill, the only remaining textile mill in Warren, was quietly closed down in March of 1968. First sold to an electronics company, AVNET Inc., in 1981, it was then sold to the Carol Cable Company for warehouse use. Display World, Inc. bought the property in 1996 and while the business itself closed in 2006, owner Mark Lombari continues to lease the 250,000 sq. ft. structure as warehouse and small business space.

 

 

 

Warren, Bristol, Barrington, RI, Rhode Island, Seekonk, Swansea, New Bedford, MA, Mass, mill, loft, space