Monohasset Mill

also known as Armington & Sims Engine Company, Eastern Engine Company, Cleveland Worsted Mills 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 2001, the neighboring Providence Steel & Iron became The Steel Yard. In 2002, a group of four friends purchased the former Armington Sims Building to become Monohasset Mills.

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 “Industrial Sites and Commercial Buildings Survey (ICBS)” by PPS and the AIA, 2001-2002

Monohasset Mill is prominently sited at the southeast comer of the intersection of Eagle Street and Kinsley Avenue. The complex is dominated by a tall, four-and-one-half-story, brick, gambrel-roof building with granite trim and a five-story, fat-roof tower (originally with a steep hip roof). The building is embellished with brick corbelling at the cornice of both the main building and tower. Fenestration consists of single, segmental-arch openings with replacement 1/1 sash windows with granite sills. Shed-roof dormers illuminate the top story. According to historic maps, the structure contained the engine room, boiler room, dyeing room, and packing room. A large, one-story, gable-roof ell projects to the north. This ell is minimally detailed and features replacement windows. The two-story, hip-roof brick structure to the south housed wool shops and boiler and engine rooms. Fenestration consists of segmental-arch openings with replacement 1/1 sash and granite sills. A one-story, shed-roof machine shop is attached to the south.

Designed by architect James C. Bucklin, Monohasset Mill was established by Paine & Sackett in 1866 as a woolen mill specializing in the production of fancy cassimers. It was known during its twenty-one years of operation as one of the best woolen manufacturers in the country. The mill was taken over by Armington & Sims Engine Company in 1887. The engine company built engines for the Riverside Worsted Mills, the Silver Spring Dyeing & Bleaching Company, and other mills in the US and abroad.

Following 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. Following a lawsuit over the use of the company’s name, the name was changed to the Eastern Engine Company; the company remained in business until 1903.

Throughout the twentieth century, the mill was used by several worsted companies, including the Cleveland Worsted Mills, which operated out of the mill for almost twenty years. The mill was subsequently occupied by machinery dealers, worsted mills, a rug manufacturer, and a jewelry manufacturer in the 1940s and early 1950s. Since that time the mill has been utilized by several small jewelry and industrial companies (RIHPHC 1981; RIHPHC data sheet; Woodward 1986). The building was recently purchased and is being rehabilitated for live-work loft spaces for artists in this former textile mill.


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.