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 junction with the North Branch in 1812, but by 1816 the company had failed.
In 1834 the company constructed a dam and a stone mill on a newly acquired water “privilege” downstream from the original mill. A third mill was built in 1844 and enlarged in 1855 to become one of the seven largest cotton mills in the state. Before the Civil War the primary product of the mills was a cotton twill fabric known as “Kentucky Jeans.” Following the Civil War the market collapsed and the company suffered financial losses.
In 1884-1885, the property was purchased by the Knight Company, one of the world’s leading cotton manufacturers of the famous "Fruit of the Loom" brand.
The Knights owned the mill until 1931 when it was bought by its present owners, the Original Bradford Soap Works. This firm, founded in Providence in 1876 by English immigrants James Rodgers and William Murgatroyd, produced soaps for the textile industry. With the collapse of the Rhode Island textile industry in the mid-2Oth century, Original Bradford diversified by producing chemical and cosmetic soaps. Today they produce products for such global brands as Dove, Paul Mitchell, Clinique, Johnsons Baby, Olay, Palmers, Neutrogena, Cetaphil and others.