Pawtucket’s Historic Hydropower

The Blackstone River has provided power to Pawtucket for over 200 years.  It is known as the birthplace of the industrial revolution in America. In 1793 Slater Mill became the first factory in America to produce cotton yarn with water powered machines.

Just below the Slater Mill sits the Bridge Mill power plant, built in 1896. Attached to the original plant are 2 newer 850 kilowatt generators that supply enough electricity to power 672 homes. A few months ago I had the opportunity to go inside the plant and then inside one of the turbines that had been shut down for maintenance. I had no idea the river was still producing such significant amount of power to our town.

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2 Responses to Pawtucket’s Historic Hydropower

  1. Charles Whitin says:

    About 100 years ago, the turbines below the falls supplied 75% of Pawtucket’s electrical energy needs. And all this hidden away from nearly everyone today. It ought to be a museum, linked with Slater Mill, both extracting hydropower to fill their different needs.

    From Charles Whitin


    • pgphoto234 says:

      You are not alone in those feelings. I was amazed upon seeing the old turbine room which was converted into a museum some years ago. I am not sure what the history of the museum is but it is a very dramatic space filled with old hydro turbines and electricity artifacts.

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