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Contact: John Warren
Pawtucket, R.I. – The National Park Service has acquired the Old Slater Mill National Historic Landmark District. NPS staff, in cooperation with the Old Slater Mill Association, completed the transfer of the property to the Blackstone River Valley National Historical Park this week.
The birthplace of the American Industrial Revolution, Slater Mill is a place of national importance where visitors can come to contemplate the many ways in which the nation changed as a result of the Industrial Revolution.
“We are honored to become the stewards of this incredibly important National Historic Landmark," said Park Superintendent Eric Breitkreutz. “We look forward to working with our partners, the Old Slater Mill Association and the City of Pawtucket, to continue the public interpretation of this seminal historic site on the banks of the Blackstone River.”
The National Park Service will now own and operate the three historic buildings on the property, including the 1793 Old Slater Mill, the 1810 Wilkinson Mill, and the 1758 Sylvanus Brown House. Also included in the transfer are the approximately three acres of land surrounding the structures, that include the raceway infrastructure for both mills and Hodgson Rotary Park on the west bank of the Blackstone River.
“For 100 years the Old Slater Mill Association has served as the caretaker for the history and historic fabric of this national treasure,” stated National Park Service Interior Region 1 Regional Director Gay Vietzke. Vietzke continued, “we at the National Park Service will be proud to carry on their fine tradition of preservation and education for the next 100 years and beyond at the Old Slater Mill.”
The National Park Service also recently accepted a conservation easement on a portion of the Blackstone River State Park in Lincoln, Rhode Island from the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management. This agreement will bring segments of the Blackstone Bikeway, a contiguous section of the historic Blackstone Canal, and the Captain Wilbur Kelly House Museum of Transportation into the National Historical Park’s boundary.
In addition, four local historic districts have been established in four unique mill villages in the Blackstone River Valley. The Ashton Historic District in Cumberland, Rhode Island, the Slatersville Historic District in North Smithfield, Rhode Island, the Whitinsville Historic District in Northbridge, Massachusetts, and the Hopedale Historic District in Hopedale, Massachusetts all protect critical resources in the Valley. Mill Villages were a pivotal part of manufacturing in the Blackstone Valley, providing housing and a sense of community for the workers.
These acquisitions and historic district creations are major steps towards the realization of a National Park Service unit in the Valley. They will help to ensure the protection of these sites in perpetuity and will allow the National Park Service to develop interpretive programing that highlights the importance of Slater Mill and the Blackstone River Valley on a national stage.
About the National Park Service. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America's 419 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at www.nps.gov, and on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.
Last updated: April 1, 2021