Welsh Manufacturing

also known as American Woolen Mills, Waterman Weybosset Mills Mill Number 4

A circa 1900 collection of mill buildings are still in use as manufacturing, small business space, and studios even though the building itself needs maintenance

About this Property

Last Tenant

Welsh Manufacturing operated out of this complex from 1931 until about 1970, after the American Woolen Company disbanded. Since then, the buildings have been in use by small businesses and artist studios.


This property is part of the larger Weybosset Mills complex. A full report is available at the entry for the main complex.

From the National Register Form for the Weybosset Mills complex, 2008, by Jenny R. Fields and Alyssa L. Wood, PAL

Mill No. 4 with attached Storage Building and Boiler Room (ca 1900, ca 1885, ca 1937)

Mill No. 4 is located in the southeast block, east of Mill No. 3 and south of Mill No. 2. It consists of a ca 1900 three-story loft, a ca 1885 Storage House, two one-story rear additions, and a two-story ca l937 Boiler House. The main section of Mill No. 4 is a tall three-story, nineteen-by-seven-bay rectangular loft, with a central exterior stair tower on the south elevation. It has a flat built-up roof and brick walls. A three-bay box monitor, with molded wood brackets and plywood infill over the window openings, extends over most of the length of the building. The fenestration consists of rectangular segmental arch openings with brick lintels and granite sills. The window openings increase in height from the first floor upward to the second and third stories. Original double casement windows with plywood infill above are located at the third floor of the east elevation. A variety of 1950s to modern awning and replacement windows are located on the remainder of the building, in window openings that are partially filled with plywood.

[…] The fourth bay from the east at the third floor contains a modern metal door to a fire escape. This fire escape leads to the sixth bay from the east on the second floor. Two overhead passageways to the West Ell of Mill No. 1 originally connected to Mill No. 4 in the vicinity of the fire escape. The first floor of the south elevation is obstructed by modern additions. On the east elevation, two exhaust pipes extend from the first floor window to the roof, at the third bay from the south. The interior construction of the building includes wood posts. In the early twentieth century, Mill No. 4 housed storage space on the first floor, shipping and storage on the second, and sewing on the third.

The west elevation of Mill No. 4 is attached to a ca 1885 Storage Building. When Mill No. 4 was constructed on the site of a second 1880s storage building, the Storage Building and Mill No. 4 functioned as a single building. The Storage Building is currently six bays long, north-south, by three bays wide, east-west. It has brick walls and a flat built-up roof with a four-bay box monitor in the center, which was altered from the original gable roof. The window openings are rectangular with flat brick lintels and single-course brick sills, and all contain plywood infill with modern replacement windows. […]

Two steel beams, connected by two vertical steel members, wrap around the west end of the north elevation to the north end of the west elevation at the second floor and likely supported the overhead passageways. An approximately 3-foot high north-south knee wall extends through the roof between the Storage House and Mill No. 4. The south elevation of the Storage House is bare, and contains the outline of a two-story waste storage building that was formerly connected to it. […]

A one-story, ca 1937 brick storage house addition covers the four bays to the east of the tower and extends perpendicular to Mill No. 4, south to Magnolia Street. All fenestration and loading dock openings in this building are bricked up. One metal personnel door with a metal awning is located on the south, Magnolia Street elevation. The interior construction of the building includes iron posts and a concrete floor. This building is attached to a ca 1937, one-by-three-bay, two-story brick Boiler/Engine House addition at the south end of the west elevation. Fenestration includes tall, rectangular, multi- pane fixed windows at the second story. The first-story windows are covered. Two personnel doors with single-course brick lintels are located on the south elevation at Magnolia Street. […]

Division of the Weybosset Mills after 1930

From 1931 to 1934, the American Woolen Company slowly sold off the Weybosset Mill buildings and American Woolen-owned land parcels. […]

The Welsh Manufacturing Company was the only long-term tenant in the former Weybosset Mills after 1930. Welsh Manufacturing bought Mill No. 4 and its secondary buildings from the American Woolen Company in 1931. In May 1931, the company commented “the newly acquired plant will furnish double the space now provided, and will provide for future growth” (Providence Evening Bulletin 1931). After purchasing the property, Welsh Manufacturing occupied the top floor of Mill No.4 and rented the rest of the building. Welsh Manufacturing sold the property in 1970.

James W. Welsh, of Providence, started the Welsh Manufacturing Company to produce pencils, pen sets, and eyeglasses. He began his career working at Stevens and Company, an optical goods manufacturer in Providence, then worked for Bausch and Lomb after that company bought Stevens and Company. In 1931, Welsh still owned the Welsh Manufacturing Company and worked as its vice president and general manager. Ellis W. MacAllister served as president of the company. […]

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

It is a three-story, flat-roof, rectangular, brick building set on the corner of Troy and Oak streets. The building features recessed pedestrian entrances on Oak Street and a single recessed entrance on Troy Street. The building features a monitor roof extending along its length. Fenestration is comprised of segmental-arch and rectangular openings with replacement sash.

The property is identified as the American Woolen Company — Weybosset Plant on the 1919 Sanborn map. Covered passageways connected this building to the Waterman-Weybosset property across Oak Street and to the Roger Williams Brewing Company plant across Troy Street. All three properties are identified as part of the American Woolen Company-Weybosset Plant. The building is identified as Mill No. 4 and was used for storage (1st floor), shipping (2nd floor), and sewing (3rd floor). American Woolen manufactured Cassimere Suitings at their plant. Modem signage identifies the current occupants as B & P Polishing, Karoway Polishing Inc., and the Holy Order of Cherubim & Seraphim Church.