Mar 4, 2008

Rhode Island's Heritage

As you may or may not know, the Industrial Revolution in America started here, in Rhode Island, in 1793, when the first successful textile mill was built by Samuel Slater. Rhode Island is dotted with mill villages, our rivers are interrupted with mill dam upon mill dam, and our architecture is enriched by the lovely old mills scattered throughout the state. The history of these mills is both awful and inspiring, full of hope as well as despair.

I find it interesting that this juxtaposition exists even today. I am a member of Etsy, supporting the "buy handmade" ethic (i.e. choose handmade over mass-produced goods), yet I am truly inspired by the beauty that these historic buildings bestow upon my little state, even if they did bring mass-production to America.

Here are some revisited images from a trip inside the Hope Mill, near my hometown. It is currently being converted into condos. I feel privileged to remember it when it was a working textile mill, to have visited it when it was all but abandoned, and to know that it will be converted into useful, beautiful living space.

Day 51 - The Machine

Day 52 - He was a Mill Worker

Bonus Photo - Remnants

Let's just hope that no more wetland violations occur during the mill's redevelopment - yeesh! (What can I say, I'm also a wetland scientist, I care about this sort of thing maybe a little too much.)

1 comment:

Thank you for sharing your thoughts!