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Granite Mill Housing

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c. 1813. 23–29 and 6–18 Stillwater Rd.

On Stillwater Road near its intersection with Higgins Lane are two groups of granite mill housing predating Zachariah Allen's arrival, which are among the earliest and best preserved of their vintage still extant in Rhode Island. First, to the north of the Higgins Lane intersection, is a U-shaped court of three one-and-one-half-story houses in rubble masonry set into a slope. Probably rough-stuccoed originally, they show hard use. Each of those with gable ends to the road has two entrances: one facing the road for a semibasement apartment permitted by the fall of the site, the other at the center of the flank walls facing onto the court. The unit which closes the back of the court has two entrances centered side by side and a later dormer. Brick end chimneys serve each unit. At least the rear one (and probably all of them) had been converted to warehouse use when Allen took them over and returned them to housing.

To the south of Higgins Lane are slightly later rubblestone houses of various sizes, also associated with the 1813 mill. Number 18 (with later additions), sited on a larger lot than the others, is given the special distinction of a jerkinhead clip to the front peak of the gable, which is repeated in the door hood. It seems to mark the special status of an overseer.

Writing Credits

William H. Jordy et al.


What's Nearby


William H. Jordy et al., "Granite Mill Housing", [Smithfield, 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, 261-262.

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