The Golden Belt Historic District is neatly segregated into three clearly defined areas. Golden Belt Manufacturing Company’s industrial buildings take up more than one-third of the district. This seven-acre complex of factories, warehouses, and offices covers the gentle slope that descends from the railroad tracks at the district’s west edge. The Romanesque Revival architecture of the factory buildings features towers, ornamental brickwork, rows of closely spaced arched windows, and Doric pilasters on the main facades that face the railroad tracks.
East of the factory complex, all of the remaining houses built by the Golden Belt Manufacturing Company line the east-west streets in a grid of eleven and a half blocks. All of the mill houses are positioned on fairly modest lots with small front and rear yards that can accommodate vegetable gardens. The historic district’s 109 houses were constructed in two building campaigns, the first from 1900-02 that yielded 63 houses. Except for two two-room-deep houses with tall, hipped roofs (Worth Street and Morning Glory Ave), all of these early houses are one-room-deep gable-roofed units with four different roof forms. The second phase of house construction occurred in the late 1910s and yielded 46 houses, all either one- or one-and-one-half story bungalows. Most of these historic houses have been updated and weatherized over the years, but for the majority, the original material and historic features remain. The district does contain several vacant lots where houses have been lost.
The third area is a small neighborhood commercial district in the long, 900 block of E. Main Street that marks the Golden Belt Historic District’s southern edge. Like the rest of the district, Julian S. Carr owned this wedge-shaped block at the turn of the century. But unlike the rest, Carr’s Golden Belt Manufacturing did not develop this area. Most of the frame stores that dotted this block prior to 1910 were replaced with one- and two-story commercial buildings and a brick church, all constructed between 1910 and 1930.
In 2008, the six-building factory complex reopened as the Golden Belt Arts District, developed by Scientific Properties. The historic buildings have been rehabilitated and converted into 37 live/work residential lofts, 35 artist studios, a central gallery space, a live music venue, an event space, boutique retail shops, restaurants, and office space. The rehabilitation achieved LEED Gold certification.
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