Social - Woonsocket's New Downtown
If the historic buildings along Main Street represent Woonsocket's past, than the development in the 1970's of a new "downtown" in what was once the Social Mill Village represents the future. Once filled with mills, mill houses and small stores, the area was transformed into a mixed use area with wide roads and ample parking for office, retail and recreational developments.
One of the first major development projects in the area was the construction of a new building for the Woonsocket Harris Public Library. Founded in 1866 by Edward Harris, the library remained at its original location in the Harris Block (now City Hall) until this building was completed in 1974. With brick walls and ached windows and doors, the building was designed to capture the favor of Woonsocket's nineteenth century mills. Other government related facilities built around the same time include the police station and the new post office.
The Social area contains five major office buildings and a number of smaller facilities. The largest office building is the former Marquette Building (now Citizens Plaza) built for the Marquette Credit Union in 1974. The ten story steel and glass tower was the first major office building built in Woonsocket in forty years and provides a central focus to the entire Social area.
While many of the businesses which originally built stores in the Social area are now gone, the Social Flatlands remain one of the city's major retail areas. Several new stores have opened in the past year and long time favorites like Chelo's restaurant continue to attract people to the area.
Kennedy Manor on Clinton Street is one of four elderly housing complexes built in Woonsocket in the late 1960's and early 1970's. Along with Parkview on Pond Street, Crepeau Court on Front Street and St.Germain Manor on East School Street, these facilities reflect Woonsocket's continuing concern for its elderly population. Behind Kennedy Manor is a beautiful mural depicting scenes from the history of Woonsocket.
The Social area also includes the 15 acre World War II Veterans Memorial Park. Surrounded by brick mills, high rise apartments, triple deckers and an office/shopping district, the park is a creatively designed outdoor recreation area. Water from a reflecting pool on the Social Street side of the park cascades down a manmade stream into a large pond and swimming area, affectionately referred to as the "Social Ocean". Also included are footpaths, playground equipment, tennis and volleyball courts and a bandstand for outdoor concerts. World War II Veterans Memorial Park is the location of Woonsocket's annual Autumnfest Celebration.
Pictures on this page were taken on January 20, 1998. This page utilizes information from: