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Bridge and Dam

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1886, bridge, Boston Bridge Works. 1875, dam. Sneech Pond Rd. at Abbott Run

This metal bridge with Pratt pony truss construction crosses Abbott Run, completing the Boston Bridge triad. Above it is a handsomely crafted, cut stone dam (1875, later raised), with bursts of water pushing through the crevasses here and there. Only the foundations of the three-story clapboard mill (1825, addition to east) now exist, on which a modern restaurant with touristy “general store” has risen. Across the road are the foundations and race of Amos Arnold's 1747 gristmill. Joseph Metcalf purchased the mill rights in 1818–1819. With his brother Ebenezer (who eventually bought out the partnership) he built the mill and operated it as a textile machine shop. It remained in the Metcalf family until 1896, then housed a series of lesser enterprises—wagon repair and grain mill, blacksmithing, even straw hat manufacture, among others, before its purchase in 1975 by the City of Pawtucket, which continued to rent it until the late 1980s. By the late 1980s it had become a picturesque ensemble of patches and adjustments skirting the edge of outright decay. Then (when it was momentarily vacant) flames did it in—and the village enclave which perhaps best represented the rural phase of the small-scale early Rhode Island industrial entrepreneur substantially lost its reason for being.

Writing Credits

William H. Jordy et al.

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