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Preserving the Past

Dating to 1838, the Garnerville Arts & Industrial Center has a storied past that has caught the attention of the Preservation League of New York and the New York State Historic Preservation Office. The former textile mill, originally known as Garner Print Works became Rockland Finishing Company and, later, Rockland Print Works until its acquisition by Deering Milliken. Abandoned during the Great Depression, businesses within the community united in 1934 to form the Garnerville Holding Company, pooling their funds to obtain a matching grant from Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Reconstruction Finance Program to reopen the Print Works. The new owners convinced the textile businesses to reopen at the Garnerville mill with the promise of free rent, the only requirement being that they pay for their electricity which was then steam-generated on site. The plant reopened as the Garnerville Industrial Terminal, putting thousands back to work. The cooperative presented its owner/contributors with a commemorative Reopen the Print Works key to hang in their business establishments (see image below) and celebrated the reopening with dancing in the streets.

With the creation of studio spaces and influx of artists in the late 1990s, the Garnerville Industrial Terminal became known as the Garnerville Arts & Industrial Center in 2002. After serious damage from Hurricane Irene in 2011, the Preservation League of New York State named the site a Seven to Save Site which helped with obtaining grants for the preparation of a National Historic Register nomination. In 2012 the site was listed on the New York State Register of Historic Places as the Rockland Print Works and in 2013 it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In the same year, the Garnerville Arts & Industrial Center rebranded as the GARNER Historic District of New York.

The complex has captured the imagination of the many businesses, artists and artisans that operate within it, and of the many thousands of visitors attending the GARNER Arts Center’s Arts Festival, gallery exhibitions and Creekside trail. This site’s incredible history is recounted in the National Register of Historic Places Nomination. (Learn More below).

Garnerville Arts & Industrial Center prides itself in assuring that the historic character of the District is preserved while modernizing and upgrading features necessary to conduct business in the 21st century. Our tenants appreciate the opportunity to build their businesses in an historic, yet professional atmosphere.

Weavers at the textile mill

Passaic County Historical Society, Paterson, NJ

Historic Register Nomination

For a fascinating recount of our history and to learn the bases for our listing as the Rockland Print Works on the National and New York State Registers of Historic Places, we recommend you review our Historic Register Nomination. The Nomination was prepared by Gregory Dietrich Preservation Consulting and supported by a grant from the Preservation League of New York State.