The Slatersville Mill Village

The first American village built solely for the purpose of producing cloth, Slatersville became the model for industrial villages in the Blackstone River Valley for the rest of the nineteenth century.

Lower Dam
Lower Dam

Located on the Branch River in present day North Smithfield, Slatersville was formed in 1803 when Samuel Slater and his brother John, in partnership with the Providence firm of Almy and Brown, purchased the land and began construction of a textile mill. By 1807, the village included the Slatersville Mill, the largest and most modern industrial building of its day, two houses for workers, the owner's house and the company store.

Slatersville Mill
Slatersville Mill (c. 1826)

When the original mill building was destroyed by fire in 1826, it was replaced by the large stone mill which stands on the site today. Behind the 1826 mills stands a stone mill of similar design built in 1843. The mills were powered by water from the 170 acre Slatersville reservoir.

Slatersville Congregational Church
Slatersville Congregational
Church

Slatersville Green was laid out in 1838 and adds a traditional New England quality to the village. Many of the houses around the Green were built by the Slater company in 1810-20. They were substantially renovated earlier in the twentieth century to make Slatersville look more like a traditional New England Village. At the head of the Green stands the Slatersville Congregational Church, a lovely Greek revival building topped with a three stage belfry. John Slater's house stands just beyond the Green on School Street.

John Slater House
John Slater House

The Slater family owned Slatersville until 1900 when it was sold to T.R. Hoope who used the village to bleach and dye cloth. In 1915, Hoope sold the village to industrialist Henry P. Kendall. Kendall took a personal interest in the village and initiated many of the improvements which give Slatersville its traditional New England character. Today, Slatersville is in private hands but its residents still take pride in this historic mill village.

This page utilizes information from:

  • History You Can See - Scenes of Change In Rhode Island 1790-1910 written by Hadassah Davis and Natalie Robinson and published by the League of Rhode Island Historical Societies, Providence, 1986.
  • Working Water - A Guide to the Historic Landscape of the Blackstone River Valley published by the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management and the Rhode Island Parks Association, 1987.



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