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Conant Street Mill

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1919. 179–225 Conant St.

Named for the street, this factory had no business connection with Conant-Coats; nor did it continue that company's conservative approach to mill construction. By contrast, the Conant Street Mill is pier-and-spandrel brick construction pared to its near structural limit. Minimal projecting round-cornered piers (even dissolved at their tops by beveling into the wall below the cornice) oppose skimpy inset spandrel horizontals designed to maximize interior light through the most extensive openings possible. Now tatterdemalion screening in brick, insulation board, and aluminum, as determined by various tenants, counters what had once been prized. Imagine, however, the original impact of this stretch of four floors of paired wooden windows, each containing together twelve-over-twenty-four sash (as a few still do). The skeleton may indeed be pared to spindliness: the Conant-Coats walls maintain a better equilibrium between solid and void. Viewing these mills together makes vivid the trajectory of brick mill construction out of the mid-nineteenth century into the opening decades of the twentieth.

Writing Credits

William H. Jordy et al.


What's Nearby


William H. Jordy et al., "Conant Street Mill", [Pawtucket, 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, 141-142.

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