Quidnick Mill

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 history.  But the Spragues lost it all in the financial panic of 1873.

Replacing a cotton mill built in 1811, in 1847 the A. & W. Sprague Manufacturing Company built this 450’ X 50’, four-story, granite mill designed by William Sprague, a sixth generation Sprague.  He became superintendent of the mills, built a beautiful home in Natick and started a large farm where the Rhode Island Mall now stands.  Needing even more water power the company took over 260 acres to create the Tiogue Reservoir (Tiogue Lake).  The Sprague empire acquired more mills naming them to rhyme: Natick, Arctic, Baltic (in Connecticut) and Quidnick.  Four generations of Spragues lived in the Sprague Mansion next to the Cranston Print Works Mill and the family produced two governors who went on to become senators. 

Disaster struck when Amasa Sprague, who supervised the Print Works was brutally murdered in 1843, but the family carried on although with less interest in the mills.  The family helped create banks in the area, start the parent paper of the Providence Journal, develop the Providence, Hartford, and Fishkill Railroad (now the Washington Secondary Bike Path), and by 1873 became the wealthiest family in Rhode Island only to lose it all in the financial panic of that year.

The mill became part of the Union Company. In 1884 the Quidnick Manufacturing Company bought the site. They operated 31,460 spindles, 877 looms, and employed 500 in the manufacture of print cloths, sheetings, and twills.

The main mill is now occupied by Clariant International a Swiss multinational specialty chemicals company.  Other portions of the site are used by Rhodes Technologies  currently in bankruptcy due to the opioid class-action suit.

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