There are several old mills and factories in Rhode Island. Many of them have been abandoned and neglected. Most are probably beyond repair. Some are not and people are starting to take notice of their potential. A mill revitalization movement seems to be sweeping the state. Old mills are seeing new lives.
Revitalizing America's Factories – A Rhode Island Monument
I was born and raised in Rhode Island. Rhode Island is state with a long history of manufacturing. In fact, the Old Slater Mill located in Pawtucket, Rhode Island was one of the first successful factories in the United States. It was originally built in 1793, for the production of cotton thread. The historical significance of this mill was recognized in the 1920s. Money was raised to restore and preserve it as the monument to our country's industrial roots. The Slater Mill is now home to a museum. The museum is dedicated to the American Industrial Revolution.
Peace Dale Mill
The Peace Dale Mill Complex, is a mill that I passed everyday when I was growing up. The mill is now experiencing new life. Located in Peace Dale, Rhode Island, it was home to a manufacturer of woolen goods in 1837. Today, it is home to many businesses. These include an outlet store for a company that manufactures their products in the USA, a winter farmers' market, and a distillery. Old factories can bring new life.
Kenyon Outlet Store
Kenyon has been making thermal underwear and fleece outwear since 1978 at their location in West Kingston, Rhode Island. They proudly make clothing for the US military. Theirproducts can be purchased at this single outlet store , or from their website.
South Kingstown Wintertime Farmers' Market
The South Kingstown Farmers' Market is the longest running farmers' market in Rhode Island. For the past four years, from November to April, the Peace Dale Mill Complex has been its. The market offers a variety of vegetables, and meats from local farms and seafood from area fisherman. Visitors can also find a wide variety of other products made in the USA. Oilcloth wallets and bag are sewn by Elizabeth Iovino of MIO Bags. I love her tote bags! The inviting smell of fresh coffee made by Updike's Newtown Coffee Roasting Company and Cafe from beans roasted in North Kingstown (RI), fills the large room. It is awesome to see this open space full of people purchasing American made items in a building that was created for American manufacturing! This is another example of old factories keeping growth alive.
Sons of Liberty Spirits Company
Rumor has it that this mill building was home to a bootleg liquor distillery at some point in its' history. Currently. the Sons of Liberty Spirits Company is distilling whiskey and vodka here. They have called it home for the past 2 years. Their American Spirits are only available in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Plan a road trip and take a tour of this distillery. This is one of many factories helping to keep Rhode Island on the Made in USA map!
Do you live in an area of abandoned manufacturing buildings? Have any of the mills or factories near you been revitalized?
It’s so good to see the mills being renovated. When I lived in RI in the 90’s, I had the pleasure of playing my trumpet in a funk band. We had rehearsals in a crumbly old mill in North Kingstown and since then it has been renovated to provide studio space among other things.
I’ve also been to Kenyon’s mill and other historic mills scattered around South County as well as some old factory buildings closer to Providence. I have to say, the red brick mills in New England have made quite an impression on me.
Thanks for writing this article.
I knew exactly what mill you were talking about before I even saw the link! It’s amazing what they have done with that old building and it is great seeing the space is still being used by artists. Thanks for commenting and thanks for sharing the link to the Mill at Shady Lea!
Leave it to New Englanders to bring new life to history!