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Pawtucket, RI

Originally founded in 1671 as part of Massachusetts, Pawtucket, Rhode Island, has a population of about 72,000, with a population density of more than 8,300 people per square mile. The land where Pawtucket now stands in northern Rhode Island was annexed by the state from Massachusetts in 1828. The city is four miles north of Providence, the state capital.

One in five Pawtucket residents identify themselves as French or French Canadian, and nearly 12 percent have Portuguese ancestry. The city has an active Chinese American community and is the home of the Rhode Island Association of Chinese Americans and the predominantly Chinese Rhode Island Christian Church.

ECONOMY AND INDUSTRIES

Pawtucket is considered the cradle of the American Industrial Revolution, especially when it comes to textile production. In 1793, industrialist Samuel Slater invented machines for producing cotton yarn. His Slater Mill, now a downtown historic site, spun the first skeins of yarn for knitting and clothing manufacturing - all powered by the flowing water of the Blackstone River. Machinery manufacturers and cloth-dyeing operations sprang up to support the burgeoning textile industry. Metalworks and sawmills soon followed, creating hundreds of new jobs and rapidly transforming Pawtucket into one of the major industrial centers of New England.

By the turn of the 20th century, Pawtucket's textile manufacturing companies had begun migrating south. Some of the lost textile jobs were replaced by jewelry and precious-metal manufacturing operations, which today are among the largest of the enduring industries in this working-class city.

Pawtucket is home to more than 300 industries comprising over 18,000 companies, predominantly in the textiles, silverware, precious gems and metals industries. The city also has more than 1,000 commercial, retail and service companies.

Hasbro Inc., the world's biggest toy manufacturer, is headquartered in Pawtucket. It is one of the city's largest employers.

Interstate 95 is the major corridor through the city. The average one-way commute to work is about 22 minutes.

NEIGHBORHOODS AND DISTRICTS

Pawtucket has more than 30,000 homes and residential rental properties. Nearly 17 percent of city residents live below the poverty level, compared to the national average of 12.4 percent. The Pawtucket Citizens Development Corp. is a nonprofit group dedicated to developing affordable housing and eliminating neighborhood blight in the city's poorest neighborhoods. Since its inception in 1990, the group has refurbished more than 80 rental housing units and placed more than a dozen first-time home buyers into new houses.

Crime statistics show that Pawtucket is among the safest places to live in New England. Violent crime rates are half the national average, and personal-property crimes are 23 percent lower than the U.S. average.

Pawtucket has 14 distinct neighborhoods, including Barton Street, Beverage Hill/Plains, Countryside, Darlington, Downtown, East Riverview, Fairlawn, Oak Hill, Pinecrest, Pleasant View, Quality Hill, Slater Park, West Riverview, and Woodlawn.

  • Darlington is an older, established neighborhood with moderately priced homes. This is a popular area because of its affordability, parks, and close proximity to the shopping on Newport Avenue.
  • The most affluent areas are Countryside, Oak Hill, and Quality Hill. Countryside is primarily single-family, with few apartments. Oak Hill and Quality Hill are single- and multi-family neighborhoods, with a few higher-priced rental units.
  • Pleasant View tends to be poorer, but the neighborhood is safe and includes residents who have lived there for decades.

FAMILY FUN

  • Slater Memorial Park, named for the city's textile titan of the 18th century, is a full-featured municipal recreation area.
  • As part of the Blackstone River National Heritage Corridor, Pawtucket is home to several national parks with public recreation areas.

ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT

South Street Historic District is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Historic attractions include:

  • The Slater Mill, site of the first cotton weaving operations in America.
  • An Arts District, with galleries housed in more than two dozen former textile mills.
  • The Sylvanus Brown House, built in 1758.
  • The Wilkinson Mill, opened in 1810, featuring the original, working 19th-century machine shop and a reconstructed 16,000-pound water wheel to drive the operation.

Other things to see in Pawtucket are:

  • The Museum of Work and Culture on South Main Street, which presents exhibits on early immigrant life in Pawtucket, focusing especially on the experience of unskilled and semi-skilled textile laborers.
  • The Arts Exchange and Gamm Theatre, a small performing arts venue, located in the former Pawtucket Armory, an imposing brick and stone structure.

EVENTS

  • The Pawtucket Arts Collaborative, along with the city government, sponsors the Arts Festival in September with juried exhibits.
  • The weeklong Pawtucket Film Festival, also in September, typically features indie films with a regional setting.
  • The city also hosts the annual RiverSing, a musical event set along the banks of the Charles River during the autumnal equinox.

SPORTS TEAMS

The city's home baseball team is the Pawtucket Red Sox, a minor league affiliate of the Boston Red Sox.

LOCAL MEDIA

AM Radio Stations

  • WPRO 630 (News/Talk)
  • WSKO 790 (Sports)
  • WHJJ 920 (Talk)
  • WPMZ 1110 (Spanish)
  • WRIB 1220 (Ethnic)
  • WRNI 1290 (News)

FM Radio Stations

  • WELH 88.1 (Wheeler School )
  • WDOM 91.3 (Providence College)
  • WPRO 92.3 (Top 40)
  • WHJY 94.1 (Rock )
  • WBRU 95.5 (Brown University )
  • WWBB 101.5 (Oldies)
  • WWLI 105.1 (Adult Contemporary)

Television Stations

  • WJAR 10 NBC
  • WPRI 12/13 CBS
  • WPRI 13 CBS
  • WCVB 20 ABC
  • WSBE 21/36 PBS
  • WNAC 54 FOX

Newspapers

  • The Pawtucket Times
  • The Valley Breeze