Monohasset Mill

also known as Armington & Sims Engine Company, Eastern Engine Company

One of the first artist-led redevelopment projects post-Eagle Square, these 21 units have remained in artist’s hands, some with afforability restrictions

About this Property

#Redevelopment

After many years in decay during the 80s and 90s, many people remember with fondness the wide open spaces of the mill filled with art studios and all types of people and their creations. The events at Eagle Square were a wake up call to artists who realized that these buildings had intrinsic value to the community and the artists who inhabit them. If they were going to continue to be a viable part of the community and not be subject to a developers whim, they would have to organize and buy buildings. In 2002, a group of four friends did just that.

Since then, this complex has been renovated and recycled into residential live/work units — some market rate, and some subsidized using HOME funds. These units have resale restrictions in order to ensure they remain affordable in perpetuity and available only to artists who qualify under the selection criteria. Much care has been taken to reuse as much of the original building as possible, and some parts have even been recycled from other buildings (example — many of the interior copper clad doors came from the Brown Marvel gym).

Winner of the PPS Award Adaptive Reuse/Neighborhood Revitalization 2004

#Current Events

Units occasionally come up for sale but be aware that most tenants hang onto to their units for a very long time. About, history, and current tenant list at MonohassetMill.org

#History

From the RIHPHC’s survey of Providence Industrial Sites, July 1981

530-532 Monohasset Mill (1866): J. C. Bucklin, architect. The Monohasset Mill was established by Paine & Sackett in 1866 as a woolen mill. The main building is a 4-story, brick structure with granite trim, a flank-gambrel roof, and a 5-story, flat-top tower which originally had a steep hip roof-contained the engine room, boiler room, drying room, and packing room. The tower contained stairways, dressing rooms, and an elevator. The 2-story, hip-roofed, brick building contained wool shops and more boiler and engine rooms. The Monohasset Mill specialized in the production of fancy cassimers and was known during its twenty-one years in operation as one of the best woolen manufacturers in the country.

In 1887 the woolen mill was taken over by the Armington & Sims Engine Company, established in 1878 by Pardon Armington and Gardiner Sims, which was formerly located on the western part of Westminster Street. The engine company built engines for the Riverside Worsted Mills, the Silver Spring Dyeing & Bleaching Company, and other mills in the United States and abroad. In the 1880s the Armington & Sims Engine Company won several gold medals for its engines at national and international expositions.

Probably due to the business depression which followed the panic of 1893, Armington & Sims failed in 1896 and the factory and machinery were sold at auction to Julius Palmer, F. M. Bushnell, and James M. Scott. The new company, which retained the same name, was sued by Armington and Sims who had not given permission for their name to be used. The name of the company was subsequently changed to the Eastern Engine Company. This company lasted until 1903.

During the 20th century, the mill was used by several worsted companies, one of which was the Cleveland Worsted Mills, which occupied part of the mill for almost twenty years.