Samuel Slater, possessing considerable knowledge of textile production and machinery emigrated from England in 1789. He was attracted to the United States because of the bounty offered here for skilled textile workers. British law prohibited people, like slater, from exporting drawings of relevant manufacturing equipment and their operation or selling it to competitors. Upon his arrival to America Slater constructed versions of the Arkwright spinning and carding machines, which he used in establishing the U.S. cotton textile industry in Pawtucket, Rhode Island in 1793.
A descendent, John Fox Slater, was prominent in the local textile industry and president of the huge Ponemah Mills complex, which still exists today in the Taftville section of Norwich. In 1882 he donated, the then extraordinary sum of one million dollars, to educate "freed slaves" in the South. Eventually, 36 colleges were recipients of these funds. Slater was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for this act.
The attractive Romanesque styled Slater Museum (designed by Stephen Earle) was a gift by his son, William Slater, to the Norwich Free Academy in memory of his father. It was dedicated Nov. 4, 1886. The extensive collection of Greek, Roman, and Renaissance casts is considered the finest in the country. Included
are such masterpieces as Michelangelo's Pieta and the Greek, Venus De Milo Parade. Opposite the museum is Chelsea Parade. This area was once planted with Indian corn and later used training ground for the local militia.
Marker Donated by Gorin's Furniture