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Cranston, Rhode Island

Cranston, Rhode Island
Cranston in December 2008
Cranston in December 2008
Official seal of Cranston, Rhode Island
Location in Providence County and the state of Rhode Island.
Location in Providence County and the state of Rhode Island.
Country United States
State Rhode Island
County Providence
Incorporated (town) 1754
Incorporated (city) 1910
 • Type Mayor-council
 • Mayor Allan Fung (R)
 • City Council Michael J. Farina (D)
John E. Lanni, Jr (D)
Richard D. Santamaria, Jr. (D)
Steven A. Stycos (D)
Donald Botts, Jr. (R)
Paul H. Archetto (D)
Mario Aceto (D)
Christopher G. Paplauskas (R)
Michael W. Favicchio (R)
 • Total 29.9 sq mi (77.5 km2)
 • Land 28.6 sq mi (74.0 km2)
 • Water 1.4 sq mi (3.5 km2)
Elevation 62 ft (19 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 80,387
 • Density 2,814/sq mi (1,086.3/km2)
Time zone EST (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP code 02823, 02905, 02907, 02910, 02920, 02921
Area code(s) 401
FIPS code 44-19180 [1]
GNIS feature ID 1218689[2]

Cranston, once known as Pawtuxet, is a city in Providence County, Rhode Island, United States. With a population of 80,529 at the 2010 census, it is the third largest city in the state. The center of population of Rhode Island is located in Cranston.[3] Cranston is a part of the Providence metropolitan area.

Cranston was named one of the "100 Best Places to Live" in the United States by Money magazine in 2006.[4] It is among the top 25 safest cities in the country, according to CQ Press's research. According to the survey done by 24/7 Wall St website, Cranston ranked 36th on the list of “America’s 50 Best Cities to Live”[5]

The Town of Cranston was created in 1754 from a portion of Providence north of the Pawtuxet River. After losing much of its territory to neighboring towns and the city of Providence, Cranston itself became a city on 10 March 1910.


  • History 1
  • Geography 2
  • Education 3
  • Demographics 4
    • 2010 4.1
    • 2000 census 4.2
  • Government and infrastructure 5
    • Form of Government 5.1
    • Elections 5.2
    • Mayor 5.3
    • City Council 5.4
    • School Committee 5.5
  • Economy 6
  • Transportation 7
  • Sites 8
  • Flood of 2010 9
  • Notable people 10
  • See also 11
  • Sister cities 12
  • References 13
  • External links 14


Much of the area comprising modern-day Cranston was purchased by Roger Williams from the Narragansett Indians in 1638 as part of the Pawtuxet Purchase, and the first settler in the area was William Arnold, who was followed shortly by William Harris, William Carpenter and Zachariah Rhodes.[6] Stephen Arnold, a brother-in-law of Rhodes and William Arnold, built a gristmill on the Pawtuxet falls and laid out the "Arnold Road" (modern-day "Broad Street") connecting it to the Pequot Trail leading to Connecticut. Arnold's son, Benedict Arnold, became the first Governor of Rhode Island under the charter of 1663. After area residents were unable to agree upon a name for a new town for decades, the Town of Cranston was eventually created by the General Assembly in 1754 from a portion of Providence north of the Pawtuxet River. Historians debate whether the town was named after Governor Samuel Cranston, the longest-serving Rhode Island governor or his grandson, Thomas Cranston, who was serving as Speaker of the Rhode Island House of Representatives at the time that the town was created. In the early 1770s town meetings were held at the taverns of Caleb Arnold and Nehemiah Knight where Cranstonians voted in favor of a resolution opposing the British Parliament's Coercive Acts, and the town heavily supported the Patriot cause during the Revolutionary War. After losing much of its territory to neighboring towns and the city of Providence over the nineteenth century, Cranston itself became a city on 10 March 1910.[7][8]


Cranston is located at (41.7732, -71.4533).[9]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 29.9 square miles (77 km2), of which, 28.6 square miles (74 km2) of it is land and 1.4 square miles (3.6 km2) of it (4.54%) is water.

The following neighborhoods and villages are located in Cranston:


  • Cranston High School East
  • Cranston High School West
  • Western Hills Middle School
  • Hugh B. Bain Middle School
  • Park View Middle School



The population was 80,529 at the 2010 census.[12]

2000 census

As of the census[1] of 2000, there were 79,269 people, 30,954 households, and 20,243 families residing in the city of Cranston. The population density was 2,774.6 persons per square mile (1,071.3/km²). There were 32,068 housing units at an average density of 1,122.5 per square mile (433.4/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 89.19% White, 3.69% African American, 0.30% Native American, 3.28% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 1.93% from other races, and 1.57% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.56% of the population.

There were 30,954 households out of which 28.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.2% were married couples living together, 12.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.6% were non-families. 29.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.41 and the average family size was 3.01.

In the city the population was spread out with 21.6% under the age of 18, 7.7% from 18 to 24, 31.5% from 25 to 44, 22.0% from 45 to 64, and 17.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 95.9 males. For every 100 females of age 18 or over, there were 92.8 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $44,108, and the median income for a family was $55,241. Males had a median income of $40,031 versus $28,279 for females. The per capita income for the city was $21,978. About 5.6 of families and 7.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 8.6% of those under the age of 18 and 8.5% of those ages 65 or older.

Government and infrastructure

The Rhode Island Department of Corrections has its headquarters and its adult prison facilities in Cranston.[13] The Rhode Island Department of Children, Youth & Families operates the Rhode Island Training School (RITS), a juvenile correctional facility, in Cranston. The Rhode Island Division of Motor Vehicles in headquartered in Cranston.[14]

Form of Government

The City of Cranston operates under a mayor-council form of government.


General city elections are held on the first Tuesday in November on every even-numbered year. Terms for elected officials begin on the first Monday in January of the year following their election.[15]


The current mayor, Allan Fung was elected in 2008, and is the City's first Asian-American mayor. Mayors are elected to a 4-year term, and beginning with the general city election of 2012, mayors are limited to two (2) consecutive 4-year terms.[16]

City Council

The City Council consists of 9 members: 6 representing each of the City wards, and 3 city-wide representatives. Council members are elected to a 2-year term, and are limited to five (5) consecutive 2-year terms.[16]

As of January 2015, the City Council members are as follows:[17]

President John E. Lanni Jr. (D) - Citywide

Vice-President Richard D. Santamaria, Jr. (D) - Citywide

Michael Farina (D) - Citywide

Steven A. Stycos (D) - Ward 1

Donald Botts, Jr. (R) - Ward 2

Paul H. Archetto (D) - Ward 3

Mario Aceto (D) - Ward 4

Christopher G. Paplauskas (R) - Ward 5

Michael W. Favicchio (R) - Ward 6

School Committee

The School Committee consists of 7 members; 6 representing each of the City wards, and 1 city-wide representative. Committee members are elected to a 2-year term, and beginning with the general city election of 2000, members are limited to five (5) consecutive 2-year terms.[18]

As of January 2015, the School Committee members are as follows:[17]

Michael Traficante - Citywide

Jeffrey K. Gale - Ward 1

Stephanie A. Culhane - Ward 2

Domenic F. Fuso, Jr. - Ward 3

Trent M. Colford - Ward 4

Janice Ruggieri - Ward 5

Daniel R. Wall - Ward 6


Companies with corporate headquarters in Cranston include jewelry maker Alex & Ani and Coastway Community Bank.


Four freeways travel through Cranston: I-95, I-295, RI 10 (the Huntington Expressway) and RI 37. Other state-numbered roads in Cranston are U.S. 1, US 1A, RI 2, RI 5, RI 12, RI 33, RI 51, RI 115 and RI 117.

Cranston is served by Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) buses. Amtrak's Northeast Corridor passes through but has no station in the city. The MBTA's Providence/Stoughton Line also passes through but does not include a station in Cranston. However, a station stop has been proposed. Currently, the nearest MBTA stations are in Providence and Warwick at T.F. Green Airport, the former which is also served by Amtrak.


"Howard Prison" in Cranston, Rhode Island at the turn of the 20th century

The first auto race track in the country, Narragansett Park, located off Park Avenue, opened present-day Stadium Ball Field in September 1886 as a trotting track. Not to be confused with Narragansett Park a Thoroughbred horse track, located in Pawtucket, RI, which closed in 1978.[19]

Cranston is home to the Budlong Pool, one of the largest outdoor swimming pools in the country. Built in the 1940s as a Works Progress Administration project, it is a staple of the community. It is located at 198 Aqueduct Road, off Reservoir Avenue (part of RI 2).

Sprague Mansion, an 18th-century homestead, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[20] The Thomas Fenner House, built around 1677, is one of the oldest houses in Rhode Island. Edgewood Yacht Club which is no longer standing was a notable structure on the National Register of Historic Places located on the Providence River.

Flood of 2010

In March 2010, after an overwhelming amount of rain, the Pawtuxet River overflowed. This caused many major sites such as the Warwick Mall, Contour Dental Laboratories, and the CLCF Building to be shut down and repaired.[21]

Notable people

See also

Sister cities


  1. ^ a b "American FactFinder".  
  2. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names".  
  3. ^
  4. ^ "MONEY Magazine: Best places to live 2006: Cranston, RI snapshot". Retrieved 2009-12-11. 
  5. ^ "America’s 50 Best Cities to Live". Retrieved 2014-09-17. 
  6. ^ Moyer, Sandra M.; Worthington, Thomas A. (2014). Cranston Revisited. Arcadia Publishing.  
  7. ^ Steven Frias, Cranston and Its Mayors: A History (The History Press, 2011) pg. 10-20
  8. ^ Historic District Commission "History of Cranston"
  9. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990".  
  10. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  11. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  12. ^" Retrieved on June 6, 2014.
  13. ^ "Contact Us." Rhode Island Department of Corrections. Retrieved on December 7, 2009.
  14. ^ "DLLR's Division of Workforce Development and Adult Learning." Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation. Retrieved on August 23, 2010.
  15. ^ "Municode Library". Retrieved 2015-10-03. 
  16. ^ a b "Municode Library". Retrieved 2015-09-29. 
  17. ^ a b " Election Results". Retrieved 2015-10-05. 
  18. ^ "Municode Library". Retrieved 2015-09-29. 
  19. ^ Crazy Good: The True Story of Dan Patch, the Most Famous Horse in America by Charles Leerhsen
  20. ^ "Sprague Mansion, Cranston, RI". Retrieved 2009-12-11. 
  21. ^ "WPRO Newscast". 

External links

  • City website
  • Cranston Public Library homepage
  • Cranston Public Schools homepage
  • Cranston travel guide from Wikivoyage
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