Logo   Slater Mill Historic Site, Pawtucket RI
Water-powered cotton and textile mills changed all of New England in the 19th century, and it all started in Pawtucket, a few miles from downtown Providence.




In 1793 three enterprising men named Slater, Almy, and Brown set up the first water-powered cotton-spinning factory in America, on the Blackstone River. Today the early mills and the Sylvanus Brown House (1758), home of the skilled artisan, make up the Slater Mill Historic Site.

The mills have many of their old machines in working order, such as the water wheel, shafts, and pulleys in Wilkinson Mill (1810), and you can see them in action. Earlier handcraft devices for doing the same jobs are also on display to show you what a breakthrough the machine-filled Slater Mill (1793) was.

Besides the permanent exhibits, traveling and temporary displays are set up from time to time, and guided tours interpret the history of the textile industry and the impact of factories on working conditions.

To get there by car, take I-95 north from Providence, get off at Exit 28, and turn left (under the highway) onto School Street. Cross the Blackstone River and turn right onto Roosevelt Avenue; the Slater Mill Historic Site is on your right.

From Boston or the north, follow I-95 south to Exit 27 and follow signs to the mills.

—by Tom Brosnahan

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Slater Mill, Pawtucket RI

Slater Mill Historic Site, Pawtucket RI.



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