Building Description Kimball Brothers Shoe Factory, Manchester New Hampshire
The Kimball Brothers Shoe Factory is a four-story, brick industrial building situated at the intersection of Massabesic and Cypress Streets, approximately 1.5 miles east of the city's central business district. The property is bounded by railroad tracks on the north, Jewett Street on the east, Woodman Avenue on the south, and Cypress Street on the west. The surrounding area is primarily late-nineteenth century residential (none of which is directly associated with the factory) and modest twentieth century commercial structures.
The factory was built in three sections, each comprising roughly one-third the total mass. Despite the fifteen year time span between sections, the three wings are identical. Fenestration, the primary design element, is regularly spaced, consisting of 10/10 wooden, double-hung sash set within arched masonry openings and resting on granite sills. Walls are flush red brick and terminate in a simple corbelled cornice. The roof is slightly pitched on the 1885 wing and flat elsewhere. It is covered with tar and gravel.
The earliest section of the building forms the north wing. Measuring 110x40 Feet (13x4 bays), it is sited perpendicularly to Cypress Street. The main entrance, which was recessed, was centered on the north elevation; it is now covered by an early 20th century brick addition. Above it is the date "1885". A secondary entrance was found on Cypress Street, since converted to a window.
Five years after the original wing was constructed, the factory was doubled in size by extending the Cypress Street elevation an additional sixteen bays. Separating the new from the earlier portion is a three-bay stair tower flanked by wide, flat piers. Within the tower section, 8/8 sash is flanked by elongated 4/4 sash. Until the mid-20th century, the tower was finished with a slate roof and capped with an open, arched belfry. It is now the same height as the rest of the building. The date "1890" appears below the top story.
The final major addition to the factory was made in 1900. A 80x50 foot (10x6 bays) wing was added to the southeast end of the 1890 section, completing the U-plan of the building.
Despite the phased building process, the factory is architecturally cohesive and representative of late-19th century New England industrial architecture. Later additions to the building include a frame coal house (a re-worked version of the original storage structure) attached to the east wall of the one- story boiler room; a one-story concrete addition at the southwest corner of the courtyard, added ca. 1940; a frame penthouse in the southwest corner of the roof, erected ca. 1930; a five-story elevator tower behind. the concrete addition; and, on the north elevation, a one-story brick storage structure built ca. 1930 which is adjacent to a concrete loading platform of the same vintage. The one-story brick boiler room at the east end of the 1885 wing is contemporaneous with that wing.
Major alterations to the building include replacement of sixteen windows at the northwest corner with 2/2 sash; conversion of approximately two doors to windows and four windows to doors; rebuilding of the roof chimney on the 1885 wing; and removal of the tower and belfry. The only original doors surviving on the building are on the north elevation of the boiler room.
The interior of the building has survived intact and complements the exterior in its functional appearance. The floor space is open, broken only by round columns set in double rows at eight foot intervals. Walls are exposed brick, and floors are softwood. The tongue and groove ceiling and supporting beams are fully exposed. The 1890 tower stairway has square newel posts with chamfered corners and a tongue and groove railing. Original five-panel double doors lead onto each floor from the stairway. The stairway in the 1900 wing is Similar, though more simply detailed. In the northwest corner of the 1885 wing, the original office area survives. Walls are finished with tongue and groove boards, doors are paneled, and the floor is hardwood.