The picture above shows the Mill River in Woonsocket, a little downstream from
Harris Pond and the Massachusetts line. You can see it entering a tunnel, where
it flows for about 1,100 feet before coming out in the Blackstone River.
between flood control dikes. The picture was taken
from the headwall of the tunnel entry point.
The back side of the headwall.
Looking toward Social Street. The river flows
under the parking lot, and then under the street.
Looking back toward the headwall from Social Street.
Behind Kennedy Manor on Clinton Street. The Mill River enters
the Blackstone River on the other side of the wall in this photo.
bottom left. St. Ann's Church is in the background.
Kennedy Manor on the left.
The Mill entering the Blackstone. Shadows on
the wall possibly cast by extraterrestrials.
View of the Mill River entering the Blackstone
from the other side of the river.
part of the Mill River, and that the river flows to the Blackstone River where it
continues on its way to Narragansett Bay. However, you might not know just where
the rivers meet. I've been in Woonsocket a good many times, but had never seen
the meeting point until today. (December 28, 2012) With help from my son, DJ,
the map and GPS guy, we went there and got the pictures you see on this page.
(More photos added in March 2016. Blue sky - 2012. Cloudy sky - 2016.) In the
three Google Earth views above, the white lines are the track recorded by DJ's
GPS as we walked around the area.
On its journey from North Pond in Hopkinton/Upton/Milford to the Blackstone River
in Woonsocket, the Mill River disappears twice. First it goes under the site of the
former Draper Corporation in Hopedale, and then under streets and parking lots
in Woonsocket. If you've driven down Social Street you've gone over the Mill, and
if you've dined at Chelo's Restaurant, you may have parked above the river.
The Mill River by Gordon Hopper Mill River Profile
1955 Flood at Draper Corporation 1955 Flood at Spindleville
Blackstone River, Woonsocket Neighboring Towns Menu HOME
Looking downstream (toward Social Street) from beside
the entry point of the Mill River into the tunnel.
Looking north, toward Clinton Street, from where
the Mill River joins the Blackstone River.
The two photos above are from the Winter 2016 edition of Shovel magazine. They show the Mill
River conduits in Woonsocket being built, I presume as a result of the 1955 flood. This was
part of what was called the Lower Woonsocket Local Protection Project. Work began in late
1963 and was completed in 1967.Thanks to Edgar Browning for permission to use them here.
Since St. Ann Church shows up in many of the pictures on this page, I thought it would
be good to include here a little about the current situation there. The following is from
St. Ann's Church and Cultural Center in Woonsocket is not only a national treasure,
but perhaps one of global significance as its frescoes and stained glass windows are
almost unparalleled. The Roman Catholic Diocese closed it as a place of worship about
a decade ago. Since then, it has been used as a bingo hall and arts and cultural
center on a limited basis, but that will not support the $1.2 million needed to make it
water tight or the $5 million necessary for renovation. The $50,000 dollar annual
maintenance costs is the least of its worries but this is America's treasure that cannot
afford to be lost.
St. Ann Arts and Cultural Center is a non- profit corporation dedicated to the
preservation of this former Roman Catholic Church. The Center's mission is to develop
multiple venues of adaptive reuse for this endangered and irreplaceable, artistic and
historical asset, thereby ensuring its preservation and producing a resource for the
The building, constructed between 1913-1917 features over 40 exquisite stained glass
windows made in France and installed 1923-1925, along with over 175 magnificent
frescos hand painted in the 1940’s by Canadian artist Professor Guido Nincheri, who
learned his craft in Florence, Italy.
For more about the talent show, upcoming happenings and the history of the facility,
call 401-767-3777 or go to their website at www.stannartctr.org
A charette was recently held with many interested stakeholders - former parishioners,
preservationists, cultural and artistic proponents and others merely in love with the
many others. The task ahead is huge - how to support and properly utilize an
absolutely magnificent and significant part of our past and artistic national treasure.
The frescoes will become even more vivid, according to "Wolf", the Northeast Director
of Fresco Artistry in Maryland, who made an impromptu visit and fell in love with the
grandeur and artwork so compelling. What shall happen with this lovely building, a
connection to a noble yet humble past sacrificing to create a magnificent tribute as
God's home for generations to come? As the months bring discussion, debate and
options, Blackstone Daily will follow the collaboration of many whose passion for
preserving building will surely create some positive venues. Currently, thoughts of
joining with RISD (RI School of Design), and other colleges and historical
preservationist sopcieties or use as a dinner theatre are but a few of the possibilities
under discussion. But the building and its artwork is undeniably glorious in every
In this view, the Mill River flows into Harris Pond. You can see
where it leaves the pond and flows under Privilege Street and
continues until it disappears before it reaches Social Street.