Centreville Mill

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 with ring spinning, weaving, carding, spooling, and warping cotton, it bleached and dyed cotton, rayon and merino yarns.  Now it houses a boxing gym, flea market and thrift shop, among other tenants.

Replacing a sawmill and gristmill, Colonel Job Greene erected Rhode Island's second Arkwright cotton spinning mill of two stories, 40’ X 26’ at Centreville in 1794 on the west side of the river but the company failed and the building no longer survives.  In 1807 a wood-frame mill of three stories was built on the east side of the river.  It survives today but was moved in 1873-1874 to the northwest corner of the site to be used as a storehouse where it is in altered and deteriorated condition.

The site went through numerous changes in ownership finally being bought by Benedict Lapham of Burrillville, Rhode Island.  He built a 3-story addition in 1861 which still stands, adjacent to the dam.  In 1871, he built with local stone the 4-story mill, 303’ X 70’, which prominently marks the site.  (The one-story addition on the south side was built in 1965.)

The mill suffered a fire and explosion around 1871; the mill, probably the present complex, was rebuilt.  A stone storehouse opposite the main mill was added in 1896 and the mills at the north end of the site were built between 1907 and 1909.  By the early 20th century, the mill was owned by Robert B. Treat and contained 31,000 spindles, 700 broad looms and employed 350 persons. 

In 1903 it was sold to Robert Knight of B. B. & R. Knight.  It was the last mill acquired by the Knight Company, which made extensive enlargements and reorganizations.  About 1920 the Centreville Mills were manufacturing print book cloths.  In 1958, the Centreville Cotton Mill was owned by the Marston Braid Company.   The complex now survives with a variety of tenants.

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