Date of Award
Master of Community Planning (MCP)
Textile mill villages are a common community form in Rhode Island, the building of which spanned a century. The first period of mill village construction began about 1805 and lasted through 1815 when the War of 1812 ended. This thesis attempts to determine the origins of the plans of early, Rhode Island mill villages, describes the plans of three mill villages, Slatersville (1806), Hope (1807), and Georgiaville (1813), and places the plans of early mill villages in the context of the New England community planning tradition.
The thesis reviews the architecture and planning practices of New England and Rhode Island, economic and social conditions, and the progress of the textile industry relevant to the development of the first mill villages in Rhode Island. The requirements of the factory system of textile production are examined to ascertain their role in the planning of the villages. Among the more important factors identified as having had the potential of influencing the plans of early Rhode Island textile mill villages are: a tradition of nucleated villages; and architecture that stressed economy, simplicity and refinement; a society based on commercial activity, that was conservative; an association of textile production with the public interest; a need for water power; factory buildings; a need to attract labor, and a desire to counter a national bias against manufacturers.
To determine how the factors were manifest, the plans of three early, Rhode Island mill villages, Slatersville, Hope, and Georgiaville, are analyzed. The development undertaken in these villages during the early period of the textile industry’s progress in Rhode Island (1790-1830) is considered.
All three were nucleated villages with vernacular architecture. In Slatersville and Hope the layout was linear, and the architecture was republican. In Georgiaville, there was some departure from traditional practices, but the overall and essential character of the village is similar to Slatersville and Hope.
Payne, Kenneth F., "Early Rhode Island Textile Mill Villages: A Study of the Origins and Early Examples of a Community Form" (1977). Open Access Master's Theses. Paper 1969.