WEST WARWICK – The historic Lippitt Mill has received some national attention after word spread that it may be facing the wrecking ball.
Back in November 2011, John Ponte, the owner of Riverpoint Lace Works, explained that after a flooding incident, a portion of the mill was deemed unsafe and as result, the mill may face demolition.
Rick Greenwood of the Rhode Island Historical Preservation and Heritage Commission (RIHPHC) explained that he read a news article on it and became concerned.
“The Lippitt Mill got put on the National Register [of Historic Places] back in the 1970s because it is such an important mill. It’s probably the second oldest textile mill in the country,” he said. “As far as we know, the oldest with the distinctive clerestory roof windows in the attic.”
The Lippitt Mill has two buildings, one built in 1809 and the other in 1830, according to Greenwood. He explained that factories were being built in the early 19th Century and the Lippitt Mill, as well as others nearby, was amongst some of the first factories in the world.
“There were once dozens of mills like this along the Pawtuxet River and now, just about all of them of this age are gone. They kept building bigger mills,” he said.
Due to its significance, Greenwood sent out an email explaining the mill’s circumstance and the director of the Historic American Engineering Record in Washington, D.C. responded.
“He said they are very interested in this mill. They have already done some recording of it but wanted to send Jet [Lowe] up to do some documentation since this is a pivotal point,” said Greenwood.
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