Mills along Main Steet
Market Square and lower Main Street were a dense warren of factories from the 1820's to the middle of the present century. Below, in the area of today's Main Street Bypass, stood more mills. Water to power these mills was provided by a system of canal like trenches fed from the dam at the falls. By the turn of the century, some of the major mills around Main Street included:
George C. Ballou Mill
Located on the old sawmill lot, now the site of the Market Square Pavilion in Market Square, the George C. Ballou Mill was built on the site of the Arnold family's original sawmill. The mill was a massive stone structure built by George C. Ballou in 1846. By 1889, it contained 16,000 spindles, 252 looms and had 200 employees. Featured on the seal of the City of Woonsocket, this mill stood for over 100 years and eventually became part of the Woonsocket Falls Mill complex. It was torn down in the 1960's.
Dexter Ballou Mill
This stone section of this mill, built in the Greek Revival style with a wooden stair tower, was built by Dexter Ballou in 1836. The 31/2 story, granite trimmed, mansard roofed addition was built by the Lippitt Woolen Company in 1865 . In 1889, the entire complex was occupied by the Lippitt Woolen Company. Located at the intersection of Main and South Main Streets, the building was converted into apartments as part of the Hanora Lippitt Manor complex in 1982.
Falls Yarn Mill
When the Bailey Wringer Company could not obtain satisfactory rubber rollers for its wringing machines, its principals formed the Woonsocket Rubber Company. Shortly after, the Woonsocket Rubber Company exceeded its sister company in size and profitability and become one of the largest rubber companies in the country. Eventually, the company occupied 1-½ acres at Island Place including the Falls Yarn Mills. The Falls Yarn Mill has now been restored and is a handsome addition to Market Square
The Eagle Mill was established in 1831 and occupied a site between Clinton Street and the river just south of the Providence & Worcester Railroad Bridge in the area of the current Main Street Bypass. The large stone mill contained 12,464 spindles, 440 looms and 250 workers. The mill was powered by water from Clinton Pond producing 175 horsepower supplemented by an 80 horsepower steam engine.
The Clinton Mill was established in 1833 by Edward Carrington, a major influence in the creation in the Blackstone Canal and the Hamlet Mill Village. It occupied a site between Clinton Street and the river just north of the Providence & Worcester Railroad Bridge in the area of the current Main Street Bypass. By 1854, the mill was the property of the Knight brothers who operated under the trade name Fruit of the Loom. The mill was 5 stories tall, built of stone with a large center tower. It contained 22,000 spindles, 512 looms and had 360 employees. It was powered by water from Clinton Pond producing 250 horsepower supplemented by a 150 horsepower steam engine.
This page utilizes information from:
- History of Providence County Rhode Island edited by Richard M. Bayles and published by W. W. Peston & Co., New York, 1891
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