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Stephen Taft converted a paper mill to cotton in 1811, then sold out to A. and W. Sprague in 1846. They in effect built a new town, centered in two stone mills set in line with one another, parallel to the river, and at right angles to Washington Street. Of all the Spragues' vast mill holdings, Quidnick, as built, was the corporate jewel. The public entrance to the mills was (and still is) on Washington Street, directly opposite the mansarded house of the mill superintendent (495 Washington Street, now much altered as a restaurant). Mill workers' houses, many destroyed and most of what remains much altered, lined Washington Street, together with the brick company store (487 Washington Street, now a garage). From Washington Street, Quidnick Street runs across a rise parallel to the mill fronts and offers the best view of them. On North and South streets respectively, mill owners built single-family and duplex houses, a few recognizable, though all have been altered and most demolished by the present owner of the mill. The single- family houses go back to the old Taft mill (c. 1815); the double on South Street, in better condition, were built by the Spragues (c. 1848). A company farm, long disappeared, was adjacent.

Writing Credits

William H. Jordy et al.

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