OPERATION TIME: 1793 to c. 1912
STATUS: Open as a museum
Slater Mill was built in 1793, with the original portion being six bays long and two stories tall. Being modeled after cotton spinning mills found in England, Slater Mill was the first water-powered cotton spinning mill in North America. It utilized the Arkwright system of cotton spinning, which was developed by Richard Arkwright.
The mill’s founder, Samuel Slater, was the apprentice of industrialist Jedediah Strutt while living in Belper, England as a young man. Shortly after coming to the United States, Slater was hired by Moses Brown, who lived in Providence, Rhode Island, to produce a machine that could work to spin cotton yarn using water-power.
Everything was completed by 1793, and Slater hired children and families to work in the mill, a pattern that was replicated throughout the Blackstone Valley that became known as the “Rhode Island System”, which was eventually replaced by Francis Cabot Lowell’s “Waltham System”.
During the mill’s operation, many of the children that worked there died in accidents, which is the most likely the cause of the mill’s hauntings.
Additions to the mill were added in the 1800s and early 1900s, beginning in 1801 and 1835. A large addition was made to the north end of the mill between 1869 and 1872.
Cotton spinning continued up until 1895, when the mill was used for industrial purposes until 1923. Many fires had occurred in the past, but the two that burned in 1912 brought awareness that the building needed to be preserved. The Old Slater Mill Association, a non-profit organization, was founded in 1921 in hopes of restoring the mill.
Efforts for restoration began in 1923 by adding to the structure and restoring the mill to its 1835 appearance. In 1955, Slater Mill opened as a historical museum. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places, and is known for having the lowest reference number. In 1966, it was designated a National Historic Landmark. The nearby Wilkinson Mill, which was built in 1810 or 1811, was also restored, being completed in 1978 as part of the Slater Mill site.
Paranormal activity includes the sound of a little boy screaming, the apparition of a man, being touched, and the sensation of witnessing an argument.
- History Channel. “The Ghosts of Slater Mill,” www.History.com
- Wikipedia. “Slater Mill,” www.Wikipedia.org