River Street has been the most well-defined example of a working-class neighborhood in North Adams ever since Arnold Print Works opened its sprawling factory in the 1860s. The factory, then Sprague Electric Company, closed in 1985, and the street rapidly deteriorated. But it is now recovering, thanks to the work of the grassroots United Neighborhood Organization, the opening of the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art in 1999 in the former factory, and the opening of the Porches Inn, which occupies six renovated mill houses on River Street.
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