Allendale Mill, Centerdale Rhode Island

Date added: August 13, 2010 Categories: Rhode Island Industrial

The Allendale Mill was built in 1822 by Zachariah Allen for the manufacture of woolens. During its existence it has also served as a cotton mill. The building is particularly important as the earliest known example of the "slow-burning" construction technique, Allen used wood beams of large cross-section, thick floor planking and shingles set in mortar, as innovations to increase the fire resistance of the mill structure and roof sheathing.

The original building is rectangular (37'-6" x 160'-6"), five stories high. The exterior walls are load-bearing stone, random coursing, and whitewashed. The interior is the earliest known "slowburning" construction.

The original building has been added to on the west, south, and east sides, and on the north at the stair tower. There are eleven additions that, together with the 1822 building, constitute the present mill. In addition, there are five outbuildings. The three additions on the east were made in: 1880, 1910 and 1947. The six additions on the south were done in: 1844 (originally an outbuilding), 1864 (originally an outbuilding), 1950 and 1955. The additions on the west and at the stair tower are undated. The commissary store outbuilding was built at the same time as the original mill, 1822.

This was the first mill to use a rolling process in order to impart a gloss finish to cloth. It also was the first use of a power loom for manufacturing broadcloth.

Overall dimensions: 160'-6" x 37'-6"; eighteen (18) bays; four (4) stories plus full basement; rectangular in shape.