Hope Mills

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Hope Mills


Image of the Hope Mills (Goddards - 1844-1871) located in Scituate, Rhode Island.

The Hope Mill complex, built on the North Branch of the Pawtuxet River over more than a century, consists of three large inter-connected stone and brick buildings and several individual buildings of various age. This mill complex is of architectural and historical interest because it exhibits several stages in the technological development of textile manufacturing. It is significant as the oldest continuously operated textile mill in Rhode Island, the first textile mill in Scituate, and the only one to still utilize water power.

Textile manufacturing began in Hope in 1806 when the owners of the former Hope Furnace sold the mill site and its privileges to Silvanus Hopkins, son of Rufus Hopkins, longtime manager of Hope Furnace, and a group of Providence investors for a cotton factory (Scituate Land Records, Book 9, page 664). From this period, the stone foundation of a 44-foot-by-22-foot picker house exists at the far west of the mill site. A 1 1/2-story wood-frame building, it had a gable roof and full-width clerestory monitor, similar in form to Slater Mill; unfortunately it was vandalized in 1992 and taken down. Part of the original spillway which abutted the north end and originally continued in a southerly arc around the 1844 mill to rejoin the canal on the north is intact.

In 1821 the Hope Factory was sold for $21,000 with about twenty-nine acres to Ephraim Talbut or Talbot, of Providence (Scituate Land Records Book 11, page 486). The sale included a "Factory, Die House, Machine Shops, Weaving Room, Picking House, Grist Mill and other buildings" (Scituate Land Records, Book 11, page 486). Talbot, a former ship’s captain for the Browns, and his partner John Whipple, a prominent Providence lawyer, built a new mill which burned in 1844. That same year the mill estate was sold to John Carter Brown, Moses B. Ives, Robert H. Ives and Charlotte R. Goddard, and Captain Wilbur Kelly (Scituate Land Records, Book 14, pages 610-612), also partners in the firm of Brown & Ives.

The Brown & Ives Company was organized in 1796 by Nicholas Brown and his son-in-law Thomas Poynton Ives to manage a world-wide mercantile trade. Diminished profits from shipping, the impact of the Embargo of 1807, and the War of 1812 led the Browns to refocus on development of textile manufactuting at home. By 1808 Brown & Ives had organized the Blackstone Manufacturing Company in Lincoln, second in importance only to the Almy, Brown & Slatér mills in Smithfield, and by 1825 they organized the Lonsdale Water Power Company which became the Lonsdale Company with its large mills along the Blackstone River. Purchase of the Hope Mill was one more step in the development of a large, well-integrated system in which all cloth from various mills was brought to Lonsdale for bleaching and dyeing.

For nearly one hundred years this firm operated and enlarged the Hope Mill, incorporating it as the Hope Company in 1847. Management was exercised through the Goddard Brothers, organized in 1850 by William and Thomas Poynton Ives Goddard. Samuel G. Allen was appointed to oversee the daily operations at Hope; however, decision-making remained with the corporation’s partners. In 1860 the Hope Company acquired a half interest in the nearby Phenix mill and then purchased the remaining half from Benjamin C. Harris in 1863. Allen became the supervisor for both mills.

Source: National Register of Historic Places- Hope Village Historic District, Providence County, Scituate, RI




Rhode Island State Archives


1909 September 07


Copyright is in the public domain unless otherwise specified. We reserve the right to restrict reproduction of materials due to preservation concerns.





Still Image Item Type Metadata

Original Format

glass negative


"Hope Mills," in Virtual Exhibits, Item #361, http://www.sos.ri.gov/virtualarchives/items/show/361 (accessed July 24, 2017).