Sites on the National Register of Historic Places
You might be surprised to see how many sites in Woonsocket are included in the National Register of Historic Places.
Union Village Historic District
The first inhabitants of what is today the city of Woonsocket were eastland woodland Indians - mainly Nipmucs, Wampanoaags and Narragansetts. It was Richard Arnold, Sr., an associate of Roger Williams, who showed the first European interest in the area. He laid claims to land in the 1660's on which the family built a sawmill powered by the Blackstone River below the Woonsocket Falls in the area now known as Market Square. Richard Aronld's sister, Elizabeth Comstock, and his sons Richard Jr. and John were the first family members to settle in the area. Elizabeth Comstock and Richard Jr. settled in the Union Village area of what is now North Smithfield. Union Village, a way stop for travelers on the way to Boston, became a commercial center and the hub of the entire area up till the 1820's. John Arnold settled in Woonsocket and his house is included below.
West of Woonsocket on Route 146A
In colonial times, Woonsocket was part of an very old highway system that connected Boston to the colonies in Connecticut. This colonial mileage marker at the corner of South Main Street and Great Road, an important early crossroad, has been embedded into the retaining wall in front of 640 South Main.
640 South Main Street
Allen Street Historic District
This street shows the original course of the Blackstone Canal through Woonsocket.
John Arnold House
Although much altered, this is the oldest surviving building in Woonsocket. It was built in 1712 by John Arnold, Woonsocket's first colonial settler. John Arnold was a farmer whose farm included much of this section of the city
99 Providence Street
Cato Hill Historic District
Sitting on a hill above Main Street, the Cato Hill Historic District is mid-nineteenth century working class neighborhood that has retained its period character. Cato Street was originally laid out by Cato Willard, a black whose wife had inherited property here. After his death in the 1840's, his wife Lydia laid out additional plots along Cato and Church Street. The area's earliest houses are simple, gable-roofed structures with bare, Greek Revival trim. Cato Hill is typical of the working class neighborhoods where the great majority of Woonsocket's population lived in the mid to late nineteenth century.
Roughly bounded by Arnold, Blackstone, Cherry and Railroad Streets
Henry Darling House
At the time of its construction, this house was located on the rural outskirts of Woonsocket. Henry Darling was a farmer, and his house recalls the picturesque farmsteads glorified in the Currier and Ives lithographs.
786 Harris Avenue
Alphonse Gaulin House
One of the best preserved Queen Anne style houses in Woonsocket. It exhibits all of the hallmarks of this style -asymmetrical massing, a complex silhouette, banded wall treatment, a bold porch and a rich, decorative display of cut shingles, spindle work, turned porch posts and roof finials. This owner of this house was Alphonse Gaulin, a local real estate dealer and Mayor of Woonsocket from 1903-1905.
311 Elm Street
Visible from Market Square just above the falls is the former Glenark Mill. The original stone section of this mill was constructed 1865 and was enlarged with a brick addition in 1885. Originally a cotton mill, the building was converted for use as a knitting mill and then as a worsted mill. The building has now been converted to apartments.
65 East Street
(1865 and 1885)
Grove Street ElementarySchool
A two story brick Victorian schoolhouse that retains it original detailing and trim.
312 Grove Street
Honora Lippitt Mill Complex
Occupying a vital site at the intersection of Main Street and Market Square, the former Lippitt Mill office and warehouse sets the tone for the rest of Main Street. The 31/2 story, granite trimmed, mansard roofed building at One Main Street was built by the Lippitt Woolen Company in 1865 and was used in the production of woolen goods through the Second World War.
1 - 15 Main Street
(1827 - 1865)
Next to it at 15 Main Street is the 1836 mill of Dexter Ballou. The Greek Revival style mill is built of stone with a brick cornice and wooden stair tower. In front of it, remnants of the 1827 Lyman Arnold trench can still be seen. This trench channeled water from the Woonsocket Falls to power the mills along Main Street. In 1982, the entire complex was converted into apartments as part of the Hanora Lippitt Manor complex.
This stone rubble-walled, three story warehouse was built by Edward Harris to serve the needs of his woolen mills that were thriving in the mid-nineteenth century. It was constructed in an arch to conform to the railroad spur which originally ran into the building. This building illustrates the importance of rail transport to the success of Harris' mills, and all of Woonsocket industry in the late nineteenth century.
61 Railroad Street
This beautifully detailed building is typical of the buildings built on Main Street at the end of the nineteenth century.
110-114 Main Street
Island Place Historic District
A small piece of land near Market Square that was originally known as the "island". The site became the home to the Bailey Wringer Company and the Woonsocket Rubber Company in the 1860's.
Island Place and South Main Street near Market Square
In 1828, the Jenckes family, owners of the Jenckesville Mill Village, built this imposing three story federal style "mansion" at 837-839 Social Street. This house, now partially obscured by a three-story porch added in the 1890's, is one of the finest federal style buildings in Woonsocket.
837-839 Social Street
This 4-story office block in the Queen Anne style stood across the street from the Stadium Theatre. It was built by Robert Linton in 1888 to house his drug store and was destroyed by fire on March 22, 2000. The brick facade was ornamented with brickwork patterning and terra cotta panels. The side elevations, unadorned in most buildings, were embellished with fancy cut shingles.
3-5 North Main Street
While not as old as the John Arnold house, the Logee House is somewhat better preserved. The basic shape and size of the house appear to be original and the great central chimney is intact. The two story porch is probably an addition dating from the early twentieth century. It is believed that the house was originally built by the Logee family. Later, it became part of the company farm of the Woonsocket Mill Company. This house was also the birthplace of J. Howard McGrath, and important Rhode Island Democrat and Attorney General in the Truman Administration.
225 Logee Street
Main Street Historic District
Main Street has always been the social and commercial center of Woonsocket. Although some of the buildings along Main street are much older, the development of Main Street as we know it today began in the 1870's and continued until the 1930's. In 1989, restoration of this historic area began with the formation of the Main Street 2000. The success of this project has been amazing and it is now being emulated by other cities and towns.
Roughly Main Street from Market Square to Depot Square
North End Historic District
Until the the early 19th century, much of this area was part of the Gaskil Farm. In the 1850's, Edward Harris bought the farm and erected a large house and garden on the property. Harris' estate was the largest in Woonsocket, although he sold off the periphery of the property along Harris Avenue in the 1850's, '60's and '70's. Edward Harris died in the 1870's and, after his wife's death in the 1890's, the Harris heirs subdivided the family estate and began selling house lots. Most of the development in the North End dates from 1905 to 1935. Development was, for the most part, upper middle class, single family housing and the area remains a fine, well preserved, suburban-style enclave within the city.
Roughly bounded by Verry, Highland, Winter and Summer Streets
This was the home of Jules Pothier, a French Canadian shoemaker, as well as his son, Aram Pothier, who became the first French Canadian to achieve importance in Rhode Island politics.
172 Pond Street
Precious Blood Church
This is the oldest French Canadian parish in Woonsocket. Work began on this building in 1874, but was not completed until 1881. It is a typical Victorian Gothic church. The handsome copper belfry was an early twentieth century addition designed by Woonsocket architect Walter Fontaine. The church is surrounded by a typical complex of ancillary buildings including a rectory, convent and school. In front of the church is a bust of Monseigneur Charles Dauray - the first pastor of the church and a key figure in the religious and social life of Woonsocket's French Canadian Community.
94 Carrington Avenue
Smithfield Friends Meeting House
With its toleration of different religions, colonial Rhode Island became a haven for refugees of religious persecution, most notably the Quakers from Boston. While the Quaker population in Rhode Island was small, they had great influence in political and social affairs. The original Smithfield Friends Meeting House, built in 1719, was part of a chain of Quaker Meeting Houses that were built along Great Road. For over one hundred years, the Smithfield Friends Meeting House was the only house of worship in the Woonsocket area. When the original building was destroyed by fire in 1881, it was replaced with the current structure.
108 Smithfield Road
(1719 and 1881)
South Main Street Historic District
South Main Street and Providence Street, both dating from Woonsocket's early settlement, retain many of the most interesting residential structures in the city. At the intersection of these two streets, one finds the only concentration of pre-Greek Revival houses in the city. Here also stands half a dozen colonial or Early Republican dwellings. Many well-to-do industrialists and merchants built houses in the area in the 1830's to 1930's, the period of the city's greatest prosperity. George C. Ballou, owner of the Globe Mill, lived at the Stone House on South Main Street until his death in 1876.
Roughly bounded by Mason, Coe, Andrews, and Bernice
Built by Arthur Darman, a local industrialist with a love for the vaudeville theatre, the Stadium Theatre is one of New England's finest 1920's era movie houses. The entrance to the theatre is through a small shopping arcade. The elegantly designed lobby includes an arched and vaulted ceiling and an ornamental fireplace flanked by recessed fountains. The Adam style theatre seats over a thousand and still includes its original concert organ. Standing next to the theatre is the Stadium Office Building, also built by Darman as part of the original theatre-store-office complex.
329 Main Street
St. Ann's Church Complex
The second French-Canadian parish, Saint Ann's is Woonsocket's most impressive church. The architect for this twin tower, yellow brick edifice was Walter Fontaine. The magnificent interior follows sixteenth and seventeenth century Italian models. The murals in trompe l'oeil architectural frames decorating the walls and ceilings were executed by Guido Nincheri and took twelve years to complete. The complex originally included a large convent, school, parish house and a gymnasium/theater. Due to the high cost of maintenance and repair, St. Ann's church closed its doors in October, 2000. It has been reopened as the St. Ann Arts and Cultural Center.
Cumberland and Elm Streets and Gaulin Ave
St. Andrews Episcopal Church
This picturesque chapel, in off-white brick with rock-face red brick trim, was originally an Episcopal Chapel in the newly developing Fairmount neighborhood.
576 Fairmount Street
St. Charles Borromeo Church Complex
This Victorian Gothic edifice was built by Woonsocket's Irish community and was the first Catholic parish in Woonsocket. It was designed by P.C. Keenley, an important New York architect who specialized in designing Catholic churches. With the rectory, school and convent, these four building constitute Woonsocket's first church complex.
189 North Main Street
U.S. Post Office
This fine Beaux Arts Classical Building, now part of the YMCA, served as the city's post office for 65 years until it was replaced by the new post office on Social Street in 1976.
295 Main Street
Frank Wilbur House
A handsome, Japanese-inspired bungalow, this house was built on what had been the fringes of Woonsocket by Frank C. Wilbur - a worker on a near-by farm. Next to the house, on the site currently occupied by Our Lady Queen of Martyrs Church, was the fairground of the Woonsocket Agricultural Society.
1273 Park Avenue
Woonsocket City Hall
The oldest section of this building was constructed by Edward Harris in 1856 and was known as the Harris Block. Built in the Italiante style, it was Woonsocket's first major commercial building and the first public library in Rhode Island. Abraham Lincoln spoke in the building's Harris Hall in 1860. In 1889, a rugged, granite clad addition in the Richardson Romanesque style was added. The building became Woonsocket's City Hall in 1902.
169 Main Street
(1856 and 1891)
Woonsocket Civil War Monument
The first Civil War Memorial erected in Rhode Island, this granite column is topped by the figure of a civil war soldier and is inscribed with the names of the battles in which Woonsocket men were participants.
Woonsocket Mill Company Complex
This complex of four mill buildings is the functional center of the Bernon Mill Village and was the location of the Woonsocket Mill Company. Pictures of the 1828 mill and 1833 mill are included in the Library of Congress' American Memory - Historic American Building Survey.
100-115 Front Street
Woonsocket District Court
Little altered since its construction, this building was designed as a monumental structure that evidenced Woonsocket's importance in late nineteenth century Rhode Island. The massing is picturesque, and the tower terminates a long vista down Court Street from Depot Square.
24 Front Street
Woonsocket Rubber Company Mill Complex
This building was the original location of the Woonsocket Rubber Company.
60-82 South Main Street
This page utilizes information from:
- National Register of Historic Places
- Statewide Historic Preservation Report for Woonsocket, Rhode Island published by the Rhode Island Historic Preservation Commission in September, 1976.
- Woonsocket Call
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