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Pawtucket, Rhode Island

City of Pawtucket
Downtown across the Blackstone River
Downtown across the Blackstone River
Motto: Rhode Island's Creative Community[1]
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
Founded (town) 1671
Incorporated (city) 1886
 • Type Mayor-council
 • Mayor Donald R. Grebien (D)
 • City Council Sandra C. Cano (D)
Thomas E. Hodge (D)
Lorenzo C. Tetreault (D)
David P. Moran (D)
Mark J. Wildenhain (D)
Terrence E. Mercer (D)
John J. Barry, III (D)
Mary E. Bray (D)
Timothy P. Rudd, Jr. (D)
 • Total 9.00 sq mi (23.31 km2)
 • Land 8.7 sq mi (22.6 km2)
 • Water 0.3 sq mi (0.7 km2)
Elevation 36 ft (11 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 71,148
 • Density 8,177.9/sq mi (3,148.1/km2)
Time zone Eastern (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) Eastern (UTC-4)
ZIP code 02860–02862
Area code(s) 401
FIPS code 44-54640[2]
GNIS feature ID 1218926[3]
Website .com.pawtucketriwww

Pawtucket is a city in Providence County, Rhode Island, United States. The population was 71,148 at the 2010 census. It is the fourth largest city in the state.

Pawtucket borders Providence, Rhode Island and the state of Massachusetts.


  • Name 1
  • History 2
    • 17th century 2.1
    • 18th century 2.2
    • Merger and incorporation 2.3
    • Industrial Revolution 2.4
    • 20th century 2.5
  • Geography 3
  • Demographics 4
  • Arts and culture 5
  • Sports 6
  • Parks and recreation 7
  • Education 8
    • Public schools 8.1
      • Senior high schools 8.1.1
      • Junior high schools 8.1.2
      • Elementary schools 8.1.3
    • Catholic schools 8.2
  • Infrastructure 9
    • Transportation 9.1
    • Highways and roads 9.2
    • Downtown Circulator 9.3
  • Economy 10
  • Notable people 11
  • In popular culture 12
  • Sister town 13
  • See also 14
  • References 15
  • External links 16


The name "Pawtucket" comes from the Algonquian word for "river fall."[4]


17th century

The Pawtucket region was said to have been one of the most populous places in New England prior to the arrival of European settlers.[5]

  • Official website
  • Pawtucket, Rhode Island at DMOZ

External links

  1. ^ "City of Pawtucket, Rhode Island". City of Pawtucket, Rhode Island. Retrieved August 25, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b "American FactFinder".  
  3. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names".  
  4. ^ "Profile for Pawtucket, Rhode Island, RI". ePodunk. Retrieved August 24, 2012. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Greene, Welcome Arnold (1886). The Providence Plantations for 250 Years. Providence, RI: J.A. & R.A. Reid. pp. 375–379. 
  6. ^ "Pawtucket, Rhode Island". Retrieved August 24, 2012. 
  7. ^ "Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor – History & Culture". U.S. National Park Service. Retrieved January 15, 2015. 
  8. ^ a b c "The Leroy Theatre, RIP". Providence, RI: The Providence Journal-Bulletin. 14 September 1997. p. D6. 
  9. ^ Grieve, Robert (1897). Illustrated History of Pawtucket, Central Falls and Vicinity. Providence: Henry R. Caufield. pp. 324–326. 
  10. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990".  
  11. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  12. ^ a b [3] Archived May 29, 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ "American-French Genealogical Society: Home Page". Retrieved January 15, 2015. 
  14. ^ "The Longest Game in Baseball History". Retrieved 18 April 2015. 
  15. ^ "Pawtucket School Department District Homepage". Retrieved August 19, 2008. 
  16. ^ [4] Archived August 17, 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  17. ^ "Belper Town Guide 2009–2011" (PDF). Belper Town Council. 2009. p. 12. Retrieved March 11, 2011. 


See also

Belper was where Samuel Slater had been apprenticed to Jedediah Strutt, learning the secrets of Richard Arkwright's Water Frame (and is sometimes known in that area as "Slater the traitor").[17]

Sister town

  • In the 1999 film Outside Providence, the movie's main character, Tim Dunphy, grew up in Pawtucket (a city just outside Providence). Many different Pawtucket locations are seen in the movie, including the police station.
  • American Buffalo, a 1996 film, was filmed in Pawtucket.
  • Pawtucket has been frequently referenced in the cartoon series Family Guy, specifically the "Pawtucket Brewery" and the character "Pawtucket Pat", though no brewery existed in the real Pawtucket when the show first made references to them. The toy company that Peter Griffin worked for early in the series was called the Happy-Go-Lucky Toy Co, the name a loose parody based on the name of the Hasbro toy company based in Pawtucket.
  • In December 1993, a character on the NBC sitcom Nurses called Pawtucket a pit. Then-mayor Bob Metivier appeared on the show months later in a cameo looking for an apology.
  • The swimming pool at Tolman High School was used for the 1990 movie Mermaids.

In popular culture

Notable people

Hasbro, a Fortune 1000 toy and game making company, is headquartered in Pawtucket.


The circulator is no longer signed, though the road configuration remains. Providence's Downtown Ring Roads have suffered a similar fate.

The circulator used East Avenue, High Street, Summer Street, Goff Avenue, Dexter Street and Park Place West. Each half of the Circulator carried one direction of U.S. 1; sections also carried westbound RI 15 and northbound RI 114. It was signed with a big "C" on overhead signs.

Pawtucket's Downtown Circulator was a one-way loop through downtown; it is similar to British concepts of ring roads. A similar concept was also tried in Providence.

Downtown Circulator

Interstate 95 and U.S. 1 also traverse the western part of Pawtucket. Some of the slowest posted speeds on I-95 are in the city due to the "S-curves" near downtown. In order to preserve certain buildings in the city, planners snaked I-95, creating sharp bends in the highway.

Highways and roads

Public bus transportation is available in the city. RIPTA operates a hub in downtown Pawtucket with routes to various parts of the city and to parts of nearby towns. Riders can also access RIPTA buses to Providence at the downtown hub, or on the Smithfield Avenue (#53) or Pawtucket Avenue (#99) routes. At Kennedy Plaza, Providence's hub, riders can access routes to most parts of the state.

Amtrak's Northeast Corridor and the MBTA's Providence/Stoughton Line run through Pawtucket, though there is no stop for either in the city. Train service at the Pawtucket/Central Falls train station terminated in 1959. Recently there have been discussions to have the "T" stop in Pawtucket at the old train station (which would be substantially refurbished) or at a platform elsewhere on the line. Federal funding has been provided for preliminary planning of a MBTA station in the city, with a request for proposals expected in early 2011.[16] Commuters can currently board MBTA trains at the South Attleboro stop, located off Newport Avenue just over the state line. The MBTA operates a layover facility in Pawtucket for trains on the Providence/Stoughton Line where the trains are kept overnight. The closest Amtrak station to Pawtucket is Providence Station.



The city also has three Catholic elementary schools: St. Cecilia School, St. Teresa School and Woodlawn Catholic Regional School.

Pawtucket is also home to Bishop Keough High School, a small all-girls catholic high school located in the Fairlawn neighborhood.

The Quality Hill section of Pawtucket is home to St. Raphael Academy. It is a private college preparatory school founded on the basis of St. John the Baptist de la Salle. "Saints" is a small school consisting of roughly 500 students with a student to teacher ratio of about 15:2. The "Saints and Lady Saints" are very successful in sports including baseball, football, basketball, and softball. St. Raphael Academy is a rival of William E. Tolman. They took part in a Thanksgiving Day football game that was played in McCoy Stadium for over 70 years. This game is no longer played, as William E. Tolman now competes annually against its fellow Pawtucket public high school Charles E. Shea, rather than against St. Raphael Academy, a private Catholic high school.

Catholic schools

  • Elizabeth Baldwin
  • M. Virginia Cunningham
  • Flora S. Curtis
  • Curvin McCabe
  • Fallon Memorial
  • Nathanael Greene
  • Agnes E. Little
  • Potter Burns
  • Francis J. Varieur
  • Henry J. Winters

Elementary schools

Junior high schools

Senior high schools

Public education in Pawtucket is directed by the Pawtucket School Department and contains these schools:[15]

Public schools


  • Slater Memorial Park has full recreational facilities including tennis courts and picnic areas.
  • Daggett Farm
  • Water Color Gallery open to the public for viewing
  • Daggett House
  • Marconi Garden

Parks and recreation

In 1934 the Narragansett Park opened for Thoroughbred horse racing. Until its closure in 1978, the track hosted several important races that drew some of the top horses from around the United States including Hall of Fame members; Seabiscuit, War Admiral and Gun Bow.

Pawtucket is home to McCoy Stadium, where the Pawtucket Red Sox, the AAA affiliate/Minor League team of the Boston Red Sox, currently play. The team was owned by Ben Mondor until his death and was recently sold by his estate. The longest professional baseball game in history, 33 innings, was played at McCoy Stadium in 1981.[14] Pawtucket has a history of professional baseball dating back to 1892, including the Pawtucket Indians.

A night game in 2002 at McCoy Stadium


The American-French Genealogical Society was founded in Pawtucket in 1978.[13]

At one point The City of Pawtucket hired Researcher Ann Galligan, of Northeastern University, to create an arts and cultural plan. Allowing the city to become more proactive in retaining and attracting artists will enable city officials to allocate resources more effectively to meet the needs of Pawtucket's growing artist community. Over the years Pawtucket has become known as a center for arts and culture. The 2008 documentary Pawtucket Rising also chronicled the influx of artists and cultural activities into previously blighted areas of the city. Each September, the city, in conjunction with the "Pawtucket Arts Festival" organization, and a broad group of local community members, produce an annual city wide Arts Festival.

The City of Pawtucket has been supportive of the Arts Community since 1975, and over the past 40 years various organizations have been active in continuing that support of the local arts community and beyond. 2015 marks the 40th anniversary of that support and effort.

Pawtucket Armory Center for the Arts (former Pawtucket Armory), with The Sandra Feinstein-Gamm Theatre in annex

Arts and culture

Pawtucket is also one of the few areas of the United States with a significant Liberian population, mostly refugees from Charles Taylor's regime. Rhode Island has the highest per capita Liberian population in the country. Pawtucket has a very high concentration of West Africans.

According to the 2000 census, 20.6% of Pawtucket residents are French or French-Canadian.[12] Like nearby cities Providence, RI; East Providence, RI; Fall River, MA; & New Bedford, MA; Pawtucket hosts a significant population from across the former Portuguese Empire (11.6%)[12] plus an extremely significant Cape Verdean population. The segment from Cape Verde Islands was featured in this Zip Code USA article from National Geographic magazine.

The median income for a household in the city was $31,775, and the median income for a family was $39,038. Males had a median income of $31,129 versus $23,391 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,008. About 14.9% of families and 16.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 24.5% of those under age 18 and 15.2% of those age 65 or over.

In the city, the population was spread out with 24.9% under the age of 18, 9.1% from 18 to 24, 31.3% from 25 to 44, 19.9% from 45 to 64, and 14.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 90.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 85.9 males.

There were 30,047 households out of which 30.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 39.7% were married couples living together, 16.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 38.4% were non-families. 32.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.5% 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 3.07.

As of the census[2] of 2000, there were 72,958 people, 30,047 households, and 18,508 families residing in the city. Pawtucket was the fourth most populous of Rhode Island's 39 cities and towns. The population density was 8,351.2 people per square mile (3,223.0/km²). There were 31,819 housing units at an average density of 3,642.2 per square mile (1,405.7/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 75.39% White, 7.31% African American, 0.30% Native American, 0.85% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 10.75% from other races, and 5.34% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 13.90% of the population.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 9.0 square miles (23 km2), of which, 8.7 square miles (23 km2) of it is land and 0.3 square miles (0.78 km2) of it (2.89%) is water. Pawtucket lies within three drainage basins. These include the Blackstone River (including the Seekonk River), the Moshassuck River and the Ten Mile River.

Pawtucket is located at .[10]


But unlike numerous older mill towns in the region, Pawtucket retained much of its industrial base. Today, goods produced in the city include lace, non-woven and elastic woven materials, jewelry, silverware, metals, and textiles. Hasbro, one of the world's largest manufacturer of toys and games, is headquartered in Pawtucket.

The textile business in New England declined during the Great Depression with many manufacturers closing or moving their facilities South where operations and labor were cheaper. Later in the 20th Century, Pawtucket lost much of its architectural heritage to the wrecking ball, including the Leroy Theatre.[8]

By the 1920s, Pawtucket was a prosperous mill town. The city boasted over a half-dozen movie theatres, two dozen hotels, and an impressive collection of fine commercial and residential architecture.[8] Perhaps the most impressive public building in Pawtucket was the Leroy Theatre, an ornate movie palace that was called "Pawtucket's Million Dollar Theater".[8] Many wealthy mill owners such as Darius Goff built their mansions in the area.[9]

20th century

Pawtucket in 1886
Pawtucket in 1886 viewed from the steeple of the Pawtucket Congregational Church

Pawtucket was an early and important center of cotton textiles during the American Industrial Revolution. Slater Mill, built in 1793 by Samuel Slater on the Blackstone River falls in downtown Pawtucket, was the first fully mechanized cotton-spinning mill in America.[7] Slater Mill is known for developing a commercially successful production process not reliant on earlier horse-drawn processes developed in America. Slater constructed and operated machines for producing yarn. Other manufacturers continued, transforming Pawtucket into a center for textiles, iron working, and other products.

Industrial Revolution

In 1874, the land west of the river was taken from North Providence and added to the (now Rhode Island) town of Pawtucket, and in 1885-1886 West and East Pawtucket were merged and the city was incorporated.[5][6]

Originally, the land west of the Blackstone River was part of nearby North Providence.[5] East of the Blackstone River was originally settled as part of the Massachusetts town of Rehoboth, then was incorporated as Pawtucket, Massachusetts in 1828.[5] In 1862 the eastern portion was absorbed into Providence County, Rhode Island.[5]

Merger and incorporation

[5] Also around this time [5] Other settlers followed Jencks, and by 1775 the area was home to manufacturers of muskets, linseed oil, potash, and ship building.

18th century

[5].King Philip's War These, along with the entire town, were later destroyed during [5]

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