Historic Structures

Woonsocket Company Mill 1, Woonsocket Rhode Island

Date added: November 17, 2016 Categories: Rhode Island Industrial Mill

Mill number 1 was built in 1827 by Daniel Daniels and Jonathan Russell and was operated as the Russell Manufacturing Company. In 1929 the company failed during the depression. In 1831 the property was purchased by Sullivan Dorr and Crawford Allen, and in 1832 the firm was chartered as the Woonsocket Company.

The Mill measures 137'8” x 45'8” and is 3 stories plus basement and attic.

In 1833 the Number 2 Mill was built. About this time the name of the village was changed from Danville to Bernon after a relative of Crawford Allen.

Number 3 Mill was built in 1835 on the northwest corner of Number 2 Mill. By 1846 the mills employed 250 people, had 288 looms with 11,500 spindles and processed 500,000 pounds of cotton in 2,100,000 yards of print cloth per year. In the early 1850s a addition was placed on Mill Number 1. Mill Number 4 was built north of Mill Number 1 in 1859.

In 1872 steam power was brought to the mill and by 1876 it employed 300 people, had 337 looms with 15,000 spindles.

In 1883 the Company declared bankrupcy and was sold to the trustees for $225,000. In 1887 it was purchased by the Woonsocket Electric Machine & Power Company. Engines and dynamos were installed in Number 1 Mill. 300 horsepower of water power was supplemented by steam to supply incandescent and street arc lamps.

In 1888 Valley Falls Mills leased Mill Number 2 for cotton print cloth. It had 340 looms and employed 60. In 1890 a boiler house with 4 140 horsepower boilers was built on the river side of mills 1 and 5. By 1892 Valley Falls occupied most of Mills Number 2 and 3, and Simson and Kirkaldy Worsted Manufactory occupied Mill Number 4.

In 1900 Mill number 3 was demolished and replaced by a brick steam station with two 750 horsepower engine generators and eight horizontal boilers. Sometime before 1911 the river bank was filled in and the steam station was extended with two 800 KW steam turbines. A two unit hydroelectric station was built between the old headrace and river south of Mill Number 2. The water turbines were also removed from Mills 2 and 4.

In 1911 the electric company occupied all of Mill 1, Mill2 was occupied by the Macrodi Fibre Company and the Woonsocket Spinning Company. Mill 4 was occupied by the Perforated Pad Company, and the engines and dynamos were removed from Mill 1.

In the 1920s a transformer house and substation were built on the northwest of the steam station. Manchester Company purchase the Macrodi Fibre Company and continued to occupy Mill 2. Mill 1 was offices, shops, and storage for the electric company, now called Blackstone Valley Gas and Electric Company.

In the 1930s-1940s all generating equipment and boilers were removed from the steam station. Number 2 Mill was occupied by the Apex Weaving Company, which manufactured rayon goods.

Mill Number 2 was purchased from Blackstone Valley Gas and Electric by Gerard Hemond. In 1968 Mill 4 was only used for storage and shops. The Hydroelectric station was abandoned.