Thanks to Tom Clarke, Sandy, Ben, Todd, Jeanne & Sheila for taking the
time to answer and helping me find the "Merino Village" from the 1880
census while I rotted at the RI Registry yesterday...didn't escape
until almost 4PM.
I've learned quite a lot this evening thanks to all the links everyone
kindly sent. I suspect I'll be learning more RI history as I get into
our rather recent and shallow RI roots & branches on my paternal side
& both Hubby's sides.
I remember the old mill on the southwesterly side of Rt. 6 going up in
flames but I never knew what it had been called or its history. It
had been off on the right side inbound in the "woods" just before the
present day Merino Park which I also never really knew the name of for
all the years I buzzed by it on the highway going into Providence.
It appears from all that I've learned on the text and map links
(bookmarked now)that this mill that burned was the one once known as
Merino Mill which the Prov-Ind-20-32.pdf gives an addy of Ponagansett
Ave for; the same as the Lincoln Lace and Braid Co. which burned in
I've gained a deeper knowledge of mill history in the Olneyville area
and will certainly look at this area a bit differently now as I head
into town on the highway.
Thanks again for the help in locating the former Merino Village area,
now part of Providence.
From the Projo:
Fire sweeps through vacant mill complex Neighbors call the site a
hangout for youths *At least 100 firefighters are called to quell the
three-alarm blaze at the former Lincoln Lace and Braid Co.
LAURA MEADE KIRK Journal-Bulletin Staff Writer. Providence Journal.
Providence, R.I.: May 7, 1994. pg. A-03
PROVIDENCE --- A spectacular three-alarm fire heavily damaged a vacant
mill complex along the Woonasquatucket River yesterday morning,
spewing a tower of thick black smoke that could be seen from
Attleboro, Mass., to South Kingstown.
At least 100 firefighters were called to battle the blaze, which broke
out just before 8 a.m. in the former Lincoln Lace and Braid Co. on
Ponagansett Avenue, behind the Hartford Park housing project and
Merino Park, and burned out of control for hours.
Fire Chief Alfred Bertoncini said crews would have to remain on the
scene for days to make sure the blaze is entirely out.
The cause is under investigation, and the fire is being called
suspicious because the mill was unoccupied.
Bertoncini said officials sounded a second and third alarm minutes
after arriving. "It was bad," he said. "The fire was already through
the roof in what appeared to be the main structure. We're just doing
our best to control it."
Flames leaped from every corner of the building and darted from broken
windows. No injuries were reported.
"You've got to remember: With an old building like this, there are
oily floors which provide fuel for the fire, and the building is wide
open, which provides oxygen," Bertoncini said.
Firefighters concentrated on keeping the fire from spreading to the
woods along the river or to the multifamily houses a few hundred feet
away on Barbara Street. Since the complex borders the river, they
could fight the fire only from the street side of the building,
Hoses had to be attached to hydrants several blocks away on Hartford
Avenue because there wasn't enough water pressure by the mill.
Firefighters were concerned about hazardous materials found in the
mill, including barrels of oil, solvents and pesticides, said Deputy
Assistant Fire Chief Paul Wentworth. But state environmental officials
recommended that firefighters let the materials burn, which would
destroy them without putting anyone at risk.
Wentworth said there are nine buildings in the complex, which housed
the Lincoln Lace and Braid Co. until four years ago. The fire
destroyed the main building, leaving it a shell without a roof, and
spread to at least six adjoining buildings.
Neighbors said the complex was a hangout for youths. Two teenagers
were seen running along the roofs there late Thursday.
The mill had become a dumping ground for stolen cars, and fire
officials said they suspected it would be an arson target because it
had been vacant so long.
More than 100 people gathered to watch the fire, including parents
with children in strollers, while news crews circled overhead in
planes and helicopters.
Sue Merolla, who lives nearby on Dresser Street, said she saw the
smoke and flames from her dentist's office on Oakland Avenue. "I knew
it was the shoelace factory," she said. "It was so old, and the kids
all play around there. It's sad. A lot of people used to work in that
Bertoncini said the fire was reminiscent of the mutiple-alarm fire
that raced through the Atlantic Mills complex in Olneyville a few