Pawtucket, Rhode Island

Nestled in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, the Slater Mill stands as a historic textile mill complex, a testament to the birth of American industrialization.

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About This Location

Nestled in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, the Slater Mill stands as a historic textile mill complex, a testament to the birth of American industrialization. This revered site is renowned for its distinction as the first water-powered cotton spinning mill in North America to implement Richard Arkwright's revolutionary Arkwright system of cotton spinning.

The visionary behind Slater Mill was Samuel Slater, whose remarkable journey began in England. Slater served as an apprentice to industrialist Jedediah Strutt in Belper, England, where he honed his craft. His path eventually led him to the United States, where he was hired by Moses Brown of Providence, Rhode Island.

Samuel Slater's mission was monumental: to create a functional set of machines capable of spinning cotton yarn using the power of water. In 1793, this vision was realized as the Slater Mill came to life. The mill complex featured an array of machines, a dam, a waterway, a waterwheel, and, of course, the mill itself. At its core, the mill operated based on Richard Arkwright's cotton-spinning system, incorporating carding, drawing, and spinning machines.

The impact of the Slater Mill extended beyond innovation; it also played a pivotal role in labor practices. Slater initially hired children and families to work in his mill, thus establishing what became known as the "Rhode Island System." This labor model, which integrated entire families into the workforce, set a precedent and was later emulated throughout the Blackstone Valley. Eventually, it evolved into Francis Cabot Lowell's Waltham System.

In 1921, recognizing the historical significance of Slater Mill, the non-profit Old Slater Mill Association was established with a mission to preserve this industrial landmark. Restoration efforts commenced in 1923 with the removal of modern additions, meticulously restoring the mill to its 1835 appearance. This dedication culminated in the transformation of Slater Mill into a museum in 1955, preserving its legacy for future generations.

A significant milestone in the history of Slater Mill was achieved on November 13, 1966, when it was added to the National Register of Historic Places and designated a National Historic Landmark. This distinction made Slater Mill the very first property to receive such recognition, signifying its paramount importance in American industrial history. It's rerefence number, assigned by the National Park Service, is 66000001.

In December 2014, Slater Mill became part of the newly formed Blackstone River Valley National Historical Park, further cementing its status as a treasured site of historical and cultural significance. Today, the Slater Mill complex serves as a living museum, an educational center, and a vibrant music venue, allowing visitors to step back in time and appreciate the remarkable journey that marked the birth of American industrialization. Learn more about the mill and about upcoming events at

Location Features

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67 Roosevelt Avenue, Pawtucket, Rhode Island

GPS Coordinates:
41.877583, -71.382450
Directions to location:
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Directions to parking area:
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Parking Notes:
There is a large public parking lot located right next to the historic Slater Mill and it is free for visitors.


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