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St. Croix Cotton Mill Site

5 Mill Lane, St Stephen, New Brunswick, E3L, Canada

Formally Recognized: 2006/10/16

Current view of the site; Town of St. Stephen
St. Croix Cotton Mill Site
The hydroelectric power station at Salmon Falls; Town of St. Stephen
St. Croix Cotton Mill Site
View of the hydroelectric structure and fishway at the falls; Town of St. Stephen
St. Croix Cotton Mill Site

Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2008/11/26

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The St. Croix Cotton Mill Site is located on Mill Lane in St. Stephen. The green space, the brick and concrete hydroelectrical complex and the concrete generating structure and fishway at Slamon Falls are the only vestiges of the mill that remain on site.

Heritage Value

The St. Croix Cotton Mill Site is designated a Local Historic Place for its role in the early economic development of St. Stephen.

The need for the creation of the St. Croix Cotton Mill resulted from the rapid decline of the lumbering and shipbuilding industries in the area. The seed for the new industry began in the 1800's when several business men of St. Stephen, New Brunswick and Calais, Maine were concerned about the unemployment situation in the St. Croix Valley. Lewis Dexter of Providence, Rhode Island agreed to build a $400,000 cotton mill with 20,000 spindles. The waterpower at Salmon Falls on the St. Croix River provided enough power for the mill. Several business men of influential means provided the necessary funds to begin the project. On June 24, 1881, the corner stone was laid. The plant went into operation in June 1882. The waterpower not only provided electricity for the mill, but also lighted the towns of St. Stephen and Milltown, New Brunswick, as well as Calais and Milltown, Maine. The power plant is still in operation under the New Brunswick Power Commission. One of the rope driven generators is still in operation today. The mill operated until 1957 when the doors were closed. The mill was demolished in 1972, with only the hydroelectrical complex remaining. At one time, St. Croix Cotton Mill employed as many as 1200 persons at peak periods. The creation and success of this industry was a testament to the continued international economic ties in the region.

Source: St Stephen Town Hall - Historic Places file, “St. Croix Cotton Mill Site”

Character-Defining Elements

The character-defining elements that describe the St. Croix Cotton Mill Site include:
- green space representing the scope of the former mill;
- utilitarian brick and concrete hydroelectrical complex;
- the falls with a concrete hydroelectric generating structure and fishway.



New Brunswick

Recognition Authority

Local Governments (NB)

Recognition Statute

Local Historic Places Program

Recognition Type

Municipal Register of Local Historic Places

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Developing Economies
Trade and Commerce
Developing Economies
Extraction and Production
Developing Economies

Function - Category and Type


Power Generation Facility


Textile or Leather Manufacturing Facility

Architect / Designer



Lewis Dexter

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

St. Stephen Town Hall - Historic Places file.

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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