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Butterfly Mill

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1811–1813, c. 1950. 700 Great Rd.

The stone Neo-Colonial house diagonally opposite Hearthside is what remains of Stephen Smith's Butterfly Mill. Once two stories, long abandoned and very dilapidated by 1950, it was important as among the earliest stone cotton mills in the state. It is revealing of the taste of the times that the mill should then have been whittled down into a “colonial” house, whereas today enthusiasm for vernacular conversions and for loft living spaces might have preserved its mill image (although possibly subdivided into condominiums!). The mill's name derived from a configuration made by dark stones in the random masonry, once embedded in its front elevation and now moved to a new chimney.

Writing Credits

William H. Jordy et al.


What's Nearby


William H. Jordy et al., "Butterfly Mill", [Lincoln, Rhode Island], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of Rhode Island, William H. Jordy, with Ronald J. Onorato and William McKenzie Woodward. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004, 197-198.

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