Rhode Island Picture Post Cards
LaFayette Mill - LaFayette, Rhode Island
1908 Real Photo Postcard sent to Hughesdale, RI

(Scroll Down for Background and History of the LaFayette Mill)

With LaFayette, RI CDS (DPO) April 15, 1908 - Sent as Easter Greetings

The Post Office at La Fayette, (North Kingstown Township, Washington County) was established on August 22, 1856. The first Postmaster was Caleb T. Bowen. The Post Office was disestablished on November 15, 1957 and combined with the Wickford Post Office as the "North Kingstown Post Office."

The text of the post card reads:

This is no Easter Card, but I think you would like it better.
Best Wishes to all
Hattie C

Mill History:
The LaFayette Mill, as it exists today was constructed in 1877. The first structure built on this mill site in 1800 was a snuff mill and tannery, which was later converted to a yarn spinning mill. This mill was owned by Greene and Hawkins and was a 3 story, wood building. A new water wheel and raceway was added in 1824. Parts of the old raceway still survive, however the original wooden mill and wheel have long vanished.

Cotton goods were produced at the mill through the early 19th century although ownership of the mill frequently changed hands.

Robert Rodman bought the mill site in 1847 and shifted the mill to woolen production in 1848.  Rodman built the brick structure shown on this postcard in 1877. The structure is 316 feet in length and has a depth of 55 feet. It is three stories high with two mansard-roofed towers. Rodman also build a brick store house and a number of tenement houses for his workers. 

The mill remained in the Rodman family and continued in production until 1947. From 1947 until around 1985, the building was occupied by a retail lumber company, a woodworking shop, an antique shop, and an electric switch manufacturer. Sometime during the 1980s, the State of Rhode Island took over the building and currently it houses a state agency on the bottom floor. The top two floors are unoccupied. 

Most of these tenement homes are still in existence today and many have been restored. The mill village stretches out along Ten Rod  Road and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.

Rhode Island - An Inventory of Historic Engineering and Industrial Sites
U.S. Department of the Interior - 1978

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