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Arctic Mill Complex

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1834, 1865, 1875. 21 and 33 Factory St.

Two mills in this complex, on the east and west banks of the Pawtuxet, typify local textile mill architecture. The 1834 stuccoed rubblestone mill is a low four-story plant that hunkers down close to the river (all the less assertive after a fire in 1875 destroyed the roof and occasioned the installation of the present low gable roof). Across the Pawtuxet, retained here by a handsome stepped granite-block structure, and on land higher than that on the west bank, the magnificent five-story L-plan 1865 mill rises forcefully along Factory Street as well as perpendicular to it: the main block, more than 300 feet wide, is fronted by an emphatic eight-story stair and bell tower with two-story belfry. The stonework here is particularly fine: random-coursed granite ashlar with stones of varying size and beautifully struck mortar joints. Stonemason Rufus Wakefield built the first mill and leased it to a number of woolen manufacturers before the Sprague Manufacturing Company bought it to use as a warehouse. After the breakup of the Sprague empire, B. B. & R. Knight bought the complex and continued textile manufacture until 1935.

Writing Credits

William H. Jordy et al.


What's Nearby


William H. Jordy et al., "Arctic Mill Complex", [West Warwick, 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, 330-331.

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