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Welcome to Woonsocket!

Located in northeastern Rhode Island, Woonsocket is a city with a rich and varied past. A sleepy farming community until the 1800's, Woonsocket became one of the nineteenth century's great industrial centers.

Woonsocket History

Since the first sawmill was built near the Woonsocket Falls, Woonsocket's history has been inseparably tied to its location on the Blackstone River.

  • Growth of an Industrial City - Learn how Woonsocket became one of the country's great textile manufacturing centers.
  • Mill Villages - Visit Woonsocket Falls, Bernon, Jenckesville, Hamlet, Social and Globe - Woonsocket's original mill villages.
  • Growth of Main Street - See how the mill villages of Woonsocket merged into a single urban area with Main Street at its core.
  • Getting Around - Ride the wagons, canal boats, trains and trolleys of nineteenth century Woonsocket.
  • Famous People - Meet the men who changed Woonsocket's early history.
  • Historic Neighborhoods - Visit some of Woonsocket's important residential neighborhoods.
  • Water Power - See how the Blackstone River powered Woonsocket's textile industry for over a hundred years.
  • Mill Construction - Tour some of Woonsocket's historic stone buildings and learn about early mill construction.
  • Wringers, Rubber Shoes and Machines - Textiles were not the only products fueling Woonsocket's growth in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
  • French-Canadian Culture - By the early twentieth century, Woonsocket was the most "French" city in the United States.
  • Industrial Trade Union - Join Woonsocket's most powerful labor union.

For more pictures of old Woonsocket, check out the Woonsocket Harris Public Library Historical Picture Collection. You can see my interview with Glenn Laxton of Channel 12 Eyewitness News on the History of Fire and Fire Protection in Nineteenth Century Woonsocket. Thanks to John Guice of ABC 6 News for his report on the Museum of Work and Culture's 2007 Labor Day Open House. You can see his report here:

Take a tour of Main Street

Main Street has always been the social and commercial center of the city. See how Woonsocket's historic downtown looks today:
  • Main Street 2000 - The story of Woonsocket's downtown restoration.
  • Market Square - Home of the Museum of Work and Culture and the center of a newly revitalized Main Street.
  • Main Street - A wonderful collection of historic mills, stores and office blocks.
  • Depot Square - Named for the Providence & Worcester Railroad Depot.
  • Monument Square - Home of the Stadium Theatre and Union St Jean-Baptiste.
  • Social Flatlands - Woonsocket's New Downtown.
  • Historic Places - Main Street is just one of thirty-five sites in Woonsocket that are listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
For more information about the revitalization of historic Main Street, visit the Main Street 2000 web site.

Canoe Trip on the Blackstone

Things to do around Woonsocket...

Here's some things to do next time you visit:

For more things to do around Woonsocket, check out the links page.

...and Southeastern New England

Be sure to explore the rest of southeastern New England:

You can also visit my other sites about Rhode Island.

Please sign the guestbook before you leave

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1999-2007 Erik Eckilson