In 1790, American craftsmen built the first machines that successfully used waterpower to spin cotton. America’s first factory, Slater Mill, was constructed on the banks of the Blackstone River. The revolution in harnessing the power of water spread quickly through the valley and in other areas of New England, leading to the erection of new structures, changes to the landscape, and radically altered ways in which people lived and worked. Landscape of Industry is both a celebration of this history and a clear-eyed consideration of the social, cultural, and environmental consequences of the rise and ultimate decline of the river valley economy. The unique history of the region unfolds within these pages, including the life and economy of the mills, the complex transportation networks, the role of slaves and the history of abolition in the valley, the struggle for workers’ rights, and the creation of the unique National Heritage Corridor itself.
Contributors include: Joseph F. Cullon, Jennifer Desai, Gray Fitzsimons, Richard E. Greenwood, Albert T. Klyberg, and Seth Rockman, with a Forward by Edward M. Kennedy