Stop 2: Slatersville Commercial Blocks

Commercial Block, Slatersville, two brick buildings on the right of street
Commercial Block in Slatersville

The Slaters finished construction of their first mill in 1807. They succeeded in building the largest textile mill in the country at the time. But they soon faced a big problem: their new mill was essentially isolated. There was very little infrastructure around them, and there was only small cluster of buildings nearby. This meant that the Slaters and their partners needed to hire people to build everything that their newly arrived workers would need. This included a store where workers could purchase goods.

By 1850, a larger store was needed and the brick building you see on the right was constructed. A second commercial building was added by 1870 (the one on the left). These structures housed the company store, a bank, barber shop, hardware store, and eventually a dance and movie hall.

The company store became an important part of a mill village. This was where employees went to purchase everything from dry goods to foodstuffs. Often, only company script could be used in the store and workers could pay off their debts against their paychecks. This indebted many workers to their employers through the guise of the company store.


Last updated: September 8, 2022

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