Wanskuck Mills


Providence Preservation Society’s 1994 10 Most Endangered Listing of the Wanshuck Row Houses WIKI page.

A brief History of Wanskuck from ProvidenceRI.com.

Did you know? The North End of Providence became part of North Providence in 1765. As it grew, it was later “returned” to Providence in 1874.


Taken from ProvPlan.org)
The structure that dominates this mill complex’s landscape is a five-story brick textile mill with a tall, square, central stair-and-freight that tapers to an octagonal opening lantern capped by a low, copper-clad, ogee dome. There was a four-story addition made to the west of the main building between 1874 and 1875. An office was added to the southwest part of the main building in the 1880s. This office was later supplanted by a two-story, brick, Romanesque office. North of the main building in the mill yard are numerous outbuildings including: blacksmith shops, picker, engine, and boiler houses, and a circular, brick gasometer.

The Wanskuck Company was founded in 1862 by Jesse Metcalf, Henry J. Steere, and Stephen J. Olney to manufacture woolens and worsted clothes. This mill was built partly because of the scarcity of cotton cloth in the North during the Civil War. Because of the mills’ rapid success, expansions were made by Henry Steere on Wild Street in 1884 and on Douglas Avenue by the company in 1893. They were named Steere Mills and Geneva Mills. The company expanded its operations outside of Providence, building both Mohegan and Oakland Mills.

Mill workers’ housing was also constructed by the company to house its many employees. A social hall (Wanskuck Hall) was also built on 754 Branch Avenue for the workers enjoyment. The Metcalf family eventually came to dominate the company. Like so many other mills the company closed during the 1950s (Woodward 1986:150; RIHPHC data sheets; National Register nomination). Now the buildings hold a number of manufacturing companies, including a UStore It facility and Providence Cycle.

william dipanni Dec 5 2016 My uncle owned a Jewelry company, Vanity Inc. in this building, also Aztec Plating was in this building along with several other Jewelry companies, 1980s and 90s.

Bill McKenna Jul 8 2015 My Grandfather, William P. McKenna was the proprietor of Admiral Pharmacy on Admiral Street in the Wanskuck area. He died in 1902. Does anyone know anything about that drug store?

stacy goodman Sep 6 2010 I bought and old cart that was used to transport fabric and supplies throughout the mill. I found i at an antique store. I brought it home and refinished it. It is now my new coffee table with the original number on it and a stamp on the bottom that says 1942. It came out beautiful and is a piece of history i will treasure.

Richard Gregory July 16 2008 Two of my Great Grandfathers worked in the Wanskuck Mills. Robert Hall was a woolen weaver from Scotland and William Francis Deverell was an overseer in the mills, he was from England. They worked there early in the 1900s

John Cairns   In the 1940’s my father was the accountant for the mill and we lived in the superintendent’s house behind the mill on Woodward Road. It was a beautiful old Victorian place and we played badminton on the front lawn and had cook outs on the outdoor stone grill. The mill ran three shifts at the time. It was really a part of what was America’s vast industrial power manned largely in this case by European and French Canadian immigrants.

Antonia Dailey My great-great grandfather Abraham Taylor came from England and worked as a weaver in the Wanskuck Mill; he lived in the mill village. My greatgrandfather Joseph F. Taylor worked as a jack spinner in the Wanskuck Mill. My grandfather Joseph E. Taylor worked as a loom fixer in the Wanskuck Mill. My great-uncle John Taylor was the foreman of the Wanskuck Mill. Other relations of mine also worked there.

A.M. Adrain After we lost our rehearsal space, because of the fire at Riverside Mills in Olneyville, this was where we found a new space. We spent many a happy hour practicing in this old, empty but wecoming place. I was our rock and roll home and we loved it! A. M. Adrain “Cool Beverages”.

The information about each building grows as visitors let us know about their experiences. Did you or a member of your family work here? Did you grow up near it as a child? Let us know. All entries will be moderated and may be posted in an edited form. We will use your name unless you tell us otherwise. We will not make your email public.

Color 1 Color 2 Color 3