Blackstone River Valley NHP: Slater Mill

Welcome back to National Parks and other public lands with T!

New England Road Trip➤

Patty and I hit the road again in April 2023. We planned to visit a friend in Rhode Island and attend a meetup of the National Park Travelers Club in Massachusetts. Along the way we hit several other National Park Units and historic sites. We visited Slater Mill in the Blackstone River Valley National Historical Park along the way.

Blackstone River Valley NHP➤

Blackstone River Valley National Historical Park preserves, protects, and interprets the industrial heritage of the area. Some of the earliest successful textile mills in the United States developed in the Blackstone River Valley. These mills contributed significantly to the American Industrial Revolution. The Blackstone Canal, constructed a few years after the Erie Canal, helped to sustain the region’s industrial strength. The park encompasses a state park, the river and several historic districts, including the Slater Mill Historic District.

Slater Mill➤

Samuel Slater apprenticed as a young man with industrialist Jedediah Strutt in Belper, England. He used the skills he learned in England to found a textile mill complex on the banks of the Blackstone River in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. In 1793, the dam, waterwheel and cotton spinning mill opened for business. This began the revolution that transformed America from an agricultural nation to an industrial power.

On this site, there are three historic buildings. The Old Slater Mill offers guided tours of the historic cotton spinning operation during the summer months. The Sylvanus Brown House served as the home for Samuel Slater’s mechanic. The Wilkinson Mill made the machines for the textile mills.

None of these buildings were open, so we strolled the grounds and crossed the river to get a better look at the dam and the complex from the other side.

New England Posts➤

  • Mark Twain
  • Roger Williams
  • Slater Mill
  • New Bedford Whaling
  • Cape Cod: Nauset Marsh Trail
  • Cape Cod: Three Sisters Lights
  • Cape Cod: Nauset Light
  • Pilgrim Memorial State Park
  • Minute Man: Hartwell
  • Minute Man: Battle Road
  • Springfield Armory

Location: 67 Roosevelt Ave, Pawtucket, Rhode Island
Designation: National Historical
Date designated/established: December 19, 2014
Date of my visit: April 13, 2023

7 thoughts on “Blackstone River Valley NHP: Slater Mill

  1. I live in Belper, and amongst locals with a good knowledge of local history Samuel Slater is a notorious character, known as “Slater the Traitor” for stealing industrial secrets and taking them with him when he crossed the Atlantic to the USA. What he did wasn’t actually a crime, of course, but nevertheless such behaviour was – and still is, in some quarters – regarded as morally dubious.

  2. Kings On the Road

    Thanks for another very informative post. We’ve never spent much time in the northeast but you have given us so many interesting sites to visit we’ll have to get up there again soon.

  3. I don’t know offhand how close Pawtucket is to Smithfield, but my ancestors worked as weavers at a mill in Smithfield in 1850. I would love to explore these buildings to see and learn more about the conditions they worked in. I’m sure it was not pleasant.

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