Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze Pawtucket 04-07-2021

The Valley Breeze Newspapers serving the Northern Rhode Island towns of Cumberland, Lincoln, Woonsocket, Smithfield, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, North Providence, Scituate, Foster, and Glocester

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PAWTUCKET EDITION | VALLEY BREEZE | APRIL 7-13, 2021 PAWTUCKET 5 PAWTUCKET – It's official: The National Park Service is now in control of the Old Slater Mill National Historic Landmark District in Pawtucket after a transfer of the property was completed last week, and NPS leaders say they're excited to begin drawing more tourists to the area. With the transfer from the non- profit Old Slater Mill Association, the property is now officially part of the Blackstone River Valley National Historical Park, and the NPS will now own and operate the three historic buildings on the prop- erty, including the 1793 Old Slater Mill, the 1810 Wilkinson Mill, and the 1758 Sylvanus Brown House. Also included in the transfer are the approximately 3 acres of land surrounding the structures, which includes the raceway infrastruc- ture for both mills and Hodgson Rotary Park on the west bank of the Blackstone River, states a release. "We are honored to become the stewards of this incredibly important national historic landmark," said Park Supt. Eric Breitkreutz. "We look forward to working with our part- ners, the Old Slater Mill Association and the city of Pawtucket, to con- tinue the public interpretation of this seminal historic site on the banks of the Blackstone River." Asked about specific plans to bring more people to the site now that it's under NPS purview, Breitkreutz said in the age of COVID-19 it's a hard question to answer. "Certainly, Old Slater Mill's inclu- sion into the national network of NPS sites will raise its profile on a national scale, attracting more visi- tors," he said. The NPS has plans to provide informal outdoor education oppor- tunities starting in May and will re-open the museum for small- numbered, safely distanced public tours as soon as it is safe to do so this summer and once they've hired new staff, he said. "We will develop special programs, tours and events as we establish ourselves on site and while we as a region and nation emerge from the pandemic." While in-person events remain on pause for now, he added that staff will continue to host online program- ming, with the hope of attracting people far and wide to visit in the future. Slater Mill, which was completed in 1793 and was the first water- powered spinning mill in the U.S., has a reputation as a pivotal site in the Industrial Revolution, Breitkreutz said, and it's linked with other regional NPS sites, including the Lowell National Historical Park in Lowell, Mass. "This synergy with other NPS sites will bring more visitors to our National Historic Landmark in Pawtucket," he said. Based on visitation statistics at Roger Williams National Memorial in Providence, he said, there are people who come to R.I. just to visit a national park. "Those tourists are nearly guaran- teed to visit another park 10 minutes away," he said. "In fact, many people base their vacations on visiting NPS sites in particular in a given state or area, so Old Slater Mill will benefit from this brand of tourism given its location near the national parks of Boston, New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park, Lowell National Historical Park and Cape Cod National Seashore." Now that the NPS owns the Slater Mill site, Breitkreutz said residents of Pawtucket and from all across the world are welcome to visit for the history, special events, picnicking on the green along the Blackstone River, and to visit the coming bike path. The Old Slater Mill Association, which has maintained the site since 1921, is celebrating its 100th anniver- sary this year, and leaders there and at NPS have said they will plan an National Park Service hopes to attract more tourists to Slater Mill By MELANIE THIBEAULT Valley Breeze Staff Writer melanie@valleybreeze.com BREEZE PHOTO BY MELANIE THIBEAULT The National Park Service officially owns the OLD SLATER MILL National Historic Landmark District in Pawtucket after a property trans- fer was completed last week. See SLATER, Page 13 BREITKREUTZ 2021 SUMMER CAMP for Children Ages 5-12 Open Camp Registration throughout the Summer! www.MOTHEROFHOPECAMP.com 1589 Putnam Pike, Chepachet, RI 02814 401-568-3580 Check out website for our COVID guidelines 1789 Smith Street, North Providence, RI 401-353-1111 Mon.-Fri. 11 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sat. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Gift Baskets Galore! Our wonderful friends at Big Blue Bug Solutions are running a food drive and we're happy and honored to help. Between now and April 15th we will be a drop off location for any non perishable food item you wish to donate. Food drive to benefit the RI Community Food Bank and Amos House. Drop an item off at our location in North Providence and receive a raffle ticket for one of our beautiful gift baskets. (Valued at $50.00). Thank you Fairlawn Primary Care advanced practice Connie Ducharme, NP Accepting New Patients Call 401.475.3063 966 Mineral Spring Ave., North Providence, RI 02904 Over fifteen years experience in nursing and primary care. Works with Dr. Fadi Mansourati

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