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, forcing the operations to move to Westerly. Thankfully, unlike most mills, the wood-frame mill buildings never experienced a fire. The mill is now being redeveloped for low-income housing.
The Lippitt Manufacturing Company built this 106’ x 34’ cotton mill in 1809. The building’s clerestory monitor (the highest windows) is one of the earliest examples of this form of mill lighting. By 1887, the mill ran 10,640 spindles and 238 looms. During the Depression following of War of 1812 the Company survived by supplying yarn to convict weavers in the Vermont prison.
In 1889 all of the Lippitt Company assets were sold to the firm of B.B. & R. Knight.
In 1925, the Knight family sold the Lippitt Mill property to Joseph Hayes, owner of the Riverpoint Lace Works. The Hayes family stopped manufacturing lace here in the early 1970s, but continued with dye and finish work on fabric. They retained ownership of the property until it went into receivership in 2008.
Pawtucket Development Group LLC is now using low income housing tax credits for the renovation of the mill to be completed by the end of 2021. The project will consist of 65 units, of which 20 will be market rate units and the remaining 45 will be available to tenants at or below 60% of area median income.