Slater Mill acquired by US National Park Service

Blackstone Valley

PAWTUCKET, R.I. (WPRI) — Sen. Jack Reed announced Monday the U.S. National Park Service (NPS) has acquired Slater Mill and other key historic buildings that are part of the Old Slater Mill Historic District in Pawtucket.

The buildings are officially being transferred to the NPS by the Old Slater Mill Association (OSMA), which acquired them a century ago.

“The nation owes a debt of gratitude to the Old Slater Mill Association for saving and preserving this national treasure,” Reed said. “But COVID-19 has impacted them, just like other non-profits, and brought into stark relief the need for stable federal funding to maintain this nationally significant gem.”

Slater Mill was completed in 1793 and is the first successful water-powered spinning mill in the United States, and helped set America’s Industrial Revolution in motion.

Other historic buildings in the area include Sylvanus Brown House, built in 1758, and Wilkinson Mill, which was added in 1810.

The transfer will allow the federal government to “bring new preservation and operating resources to the effort to permanently protect this special place and the natural beauty of the area and share it with future generations,” according to Reed.

Reed also encouraged the NPS to acquire the Slater Mill dam, which is essential to the historic nature of the park and the story of the Blackstone River Valley as the birthplace of the American Industrial Revolution.

“The Old Slater Mill Association was established a century ago in 1921 for the purposes of preserving the mill and its associated resources for the enjoyment and education of the public,” Stephen Olausen, president of OSMA, said. “We look forward to continuing our work with our partners at the National Park Service to ensure the successful transition of the mill and are proud that it will be an essential piece in the full establishment of the park.”

NPS plans to close on the acquisition in March, according to Reed.

“This iconic landmark of our city has been a source of pride for our community for years and, with the support of the National Park’s Service, can continue to be experienced by many generations to come,” Pawtucket Mayor Donald Grebien said.

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