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Kenyon Mill

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1844, 1866 and later. c. 1866?, superintendent's house. Mid-19th century, worker housing. Mill: Kenyon School Rd. easiest access on Charlestown side at 36 Sherman Ave. Worker housing and superintendent's house: Sherman Ave.

In 1844 Abiel Kenyon built a masonry mill for cotton and woolen manufacturing, which he enlarged in 1866. All of this has been mostly shrouded by later ad hoc additions of dates extending up to the near present. The forceful mansard tower (1866), stucco-surfaced with quoining of quarry-faced gray granite, is all that remains of architectural consequence. But Kenyon continues to operate as a dye factory for textiles, and there is a certain rough-and-ready picturesqueness about the village, especially around the post office. This appears to be wholly unintended—and unappreciated, as twentieth-century addenda to the factory and parking lots make clear. At the eastern end of the main street, Sherman Avenue, granite gateposts mark the entrance to a mill superintendent's (possibly owner's) house, possibly from the 1860s, with quite refined neoclassical porches added in the early twentieth century. It takes refuge from the town on a wooded bluff overlooking the river but shares its enclave with three mid-nineteenth-century two-and-one-half-story mill workers' duplexes—an example of the close proximity in which management and workers frequently lived. There is also a random mix of other mill workers' houses in the village.

Writing Credits

William H. Jordy et al.


What's Nearby


William H. Jordy et al., "Kenyon Mill", [Richmond, 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, 425-425.

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