This site was famous during the revolution for an iron forge called Hope Furnace (across the street from the mill) which declined after 1800 to be replaced by the Hope cotton mill.  The Hope Furnace was initiated by Governor Stephen Hopkins, and the…

Rhode Island Governor Charles Jackson built the first cotton mill here in 1825.  By the late 1880s the mill was owned by Christopher Lippitt and Company and produced sheeting.  Fifty workers were employed and 120 broad looms were in operation. By…

From cotton and bookcloth to fuel cells, films and printing media these two 150 year old mills are state-of-the-art! The Arkwright Company of Coventry, R.I. began in 1810 as a textile mill owned by James DeWolf. Two mill buildings were constructed,…

Although the mill across the street is gone, what you see behind the Harris Mill Lofts sign is a classic example of the evolution of a mill over 150 years, starting small and adding on and on. Between the street and the river a two-story spinning…

Like every other mill you are visiting, Phenix Mill was “paternalistic” providing necessities such as housing, utilities, fuel, churches, civic organizations and education.  Shopping and professional services grew along with the village and Phenix…

Built in 1809, Lippitt Mill is one of the most important mills in the state, and was one of the oldest American textile mills still in operation until, in 2011, when a bad main valve flooded the second floor with 300 gallons of water a minute,…

“A prettier mill you will not find.”  Built in 1873 the Italianate Anthony Mill has the distinction of being one of the best mills – architecturally speaking – in the entire state.  When it was built, it was the largest building in Rhode Island.  At…

This mill in the village first named Greeneville, then Taftville, and finally Quidnick after one of its reservoirs upstream, became the jewel of the Sprague textile empire, one of the most important firms in Rhode Island economic and industrial…

Crompton Mill, home of the “Velvet Mills,” the first U.S. company to manufacture velveteens and corduroys, by 1888 employed 600 and operated 40,000 spindles and 1,000 looms in buildings on the west and east side of the river.  Sadly the west…

This Centreville Mill complex saw 18 new owners from 1794 to 2004 and an explosion and fire in 1871 but, at one time, it had 31,000 spindles and 700 broad looms!  At various times it manufactured print book cloth, fancy cassimeres, and braid.  Along…

Few historic Rhode Island textile companies have survived to the present; but Arctic Mill was home for a number of years to global NATCO Home the 12th largest home textiles supplier.  It is still a family owned company which was founded four…

The mills here at Riverpoint, where the North and South Branches meet, experienced more fires, floods, construction episodes, strikes and changes of ownership than just about anywhere.  The textiles are long gone but now they house beautiful…

From “Kentucky Jeans” to “Fruit of the Loom” to the world’s most popular soaps and cosmetics, the “lower mill” at Riverpoint has seen a lot of fame! The Greene Manufacturing Company built a small spinning mill here on the South Branch just above its…

Unfortunately the Natick Mill burned down in 1941 but we include this site on the tour because by 1883 the four original buildings had been joined into a single entity and further extended until it stretched 1,350 feet with a uniform height of six…

In between a fire, seven new owners, labor strikes, and financial failures, this original home of the iconic “Fruit of the Loom” brand was very successful, but shut down in 1970 and is now just a nice place to live. The mill produced uniforms for…

The “Pawtuxet,” named by the Native Americans as “the river of many falls,” had numerous cataracts due to the underlying hard crystalline rock of the area producing an average fall of 4.7 feet per mile and it never ran dry! It had everything needed…

When 20,000 textile workers went on strike in the 1928 New Bedford Textile Workers Strike, 18-year-old factory worker Eulalia “Eula” Mendes (1910-2004) became a leader in her mill and community by encouraging Portuguese industrial migrant workers to…

With careers marked by a series of firsts in New Bedford politics, Rosalind Poll Brooker (1928-2016) and Rosemary Tierney (1932-2020) were trailblazers for women in law and politics. Rosalind, the first woman elected to the City Council, the first…

The Handy House is not the home of a famous person—Washington did not sleep here! Yet the story of the people who lived here provides an extraordinary window into a world of ordinary lives that is otherwise lost to history. As you walk through this…

The Bell School was built in 1841 as a school for District No. 14, on the west side of the river. There was evidently some jealousy aroused in the other school districts when the residents of the Head of Westport decided to build so magnificent a…

“We claim . . . that to deprive the colored people of this State of the immunities of citizenship, on account of the color of the skin, (a matter over which they have no control), is anti-republican; and against such a procedure we enter our solemn…

This 25-acre parcel and 12-building campus along the Woonasquatucket River was once home to one of Providence’s premier companies, Brown and Sharpe. In 1833 David Brown and his son opened a shop in Providence for the making and repair of…

In 2009, a group of volunteers stepped into the Woonasquatucket River at Donigian Park wearing waist-high heavy rubber boots and sturdy gloves to protect against the river’s pollution. Donigian Park in the Olneyville neighborhood of Providence had…

Few places in downtown evoke such fond memories like the iconic Shepard Company Department Store, a fixture of the 19th and 20th-century Providence shopping experience. Built in the 1870s, Shepard’s initially was 6,400 square feet. By 1903, it grew…

In the mood for a seance? If you were a member of the cultural elite in 19th-century Providence, all signs would have pointed to yes. East Side artists and intellectuals attended seances held in private homes, which also played host to literary…

Repurposing older structures is a tenet of historic preservation. Here the West Broadway Neighborhood Association practices what it preaches. Since 1983, the WBNA has been one of the strongest and most active neighborhood associations in the city.…