PROVIDENCE COUNTY

Chamber of Commerce
30 Exchange Terrace
Providence 401-521-5000
http://providencechamber.com/

Visitor’s Bureau
One West Exchange Street
Providence 401-456-0220
Toll Free 800-233-1636
www.providencecvb.com

Major Highways
Interstates 95, 295
U.S. Routes 1, 44
State Routes 7, 102, 146

Providence County, like the state of Rhode Island, is dominated by its largest city. The county seat and state capital is also the hub of culture, education, healthcare, and employment. Named as one of America’s ten best cities by Newsweek, Providence offers a metropolis of delightful contrasts. Historic homes grace the East Side while modern highrise buildings create a dazzling skyline in the heart of the city.

Beautiful parks and sweeping arboretums, renowned institutions of higher education, acclaimed hospitals and research centers, and a diversified and healthy economy—the list of Providence County highlights seems endless. This region was founded as a haven for those who were looking for religious and personal freedom, and that spirit of independence has prevailed. Once a valuable shipping center, Providence has emerged as a cosmopolitan jewel: a friendly metropolis with a progressive attitude. Like Boston, the clustering of colleges and universities keep the atmosphere vibrant and youthful.

 

Services
Serving the entire state of Rhode Island, Providence County is home to a proliferation of important institutions that range from teaching hospitals to leading universities that enjoy a reputation for excellence. State-of-the-art healthcare includes outstanding centers for cancer care, rehabilitation, home health, skilled nursing, veteran’s services, advanced imaging, and surgical specialties. The Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island performs 70 percent of all obstetrical deliveries. Throughout the county, some of the nation’s finest medical and dental professionals carry on private practices in every imaginable specialty.

Although achieving and maintaining quality in education is one of the highest priorities throughout the state, Providence County claims the lion’s share of higher education institutions. In fact, the majority of colleges and universities are located in the City of Providence. The Community of College of Rhode Island blankets the region with convenience campuses, including the DownCity and Liston campus extensions in Providence.  Other institutions of higher education located in Providence are Brown University, Johnson & Wales University, Providence College, Rhode Island School of Design, and the New England Institute of Technology. State-supported institutions in Providence include Rhode Island College and University of Rhode Island. Smithfield adds Bryant College to the impressive list of county resources.

Lifestyle
Those who are new to Providence County will discover a kaleidoscope of cultural, educational, and recreational attractions just waiting to be explored and enjoyed. Those who appreciate the arts can applaud the Tony-award-winning productions of the Trinity Repertory Company or enjoy Broadway shows and a wide variety of performances at the Providence Performing Arts Center. Local professional companies share the billing with visiting groups and stellar performers in dazzling venues or historic theatres. Wonderful museums for art and history combine with fine galleries to showcase the visual arts and preserve this region’s colorful and unique history.
Both professional and collegiate sports competition brings excitement to each season, from the Providence Bruins hockey events to university gridiron rivals. Baseball fans can catch a glimpse of tomorrow’s stars with the Pawtucket Red Sox, the AAA affiliate of the Boston Red Sox. Those who prefer active sports will find tennis courts, golf courses, ice-skating rinks, community centers, sports leagues, swimming pools, fitness centers, and martial arts.

Throughout the county, restaurants from casual to elegant complement the shopping districts and modern malls that line beautiful city streets. Coffee and music are available at trendy cafes where residents of all ages mingle with college students. When the sun sets and the stars shine, Providence County offers lively night spots that feature comedy, dancing, music, dining, or quiet conversation. Take your time exploring the quiet corners and bustling urban centers of Providence County, an unusual blend of East Coast sophistication with small-town warmth and friendliness.

 

Burrillville
Municipal Offices
401-568-4300
www.burrillville.org
Chamber of Commerce
401-521-5000
www.providencecvb.com

The rural town of Burrillville is situated in the northwest corner of Rhode Island, bordered by the states of Massachusetts and Connecticut. Ideally located just 20 miles from Providence and a reasonable commute from Boston, the community offers a small-town atmosphere in close proximity to some of the East Coast’s most highly acclaimed attractions and amenities. The local school district provides a quality education to area youth, while higher education opportunities are close to home. Because the entire state of Rhode Island is so uniquely accessible, students can select a college or university virtually anywhere in the state and still commute from home. Small villages and hamlets dot the landscape with the charm of yesterday, reminders of the days when textile mills and manufacturers flourished.

Since the 1950s when the mills vanished, Burrillville has become a popular bedroom community that is ideal for commuters. Many of the quaint hamlets from yesterday now support tranquil residential neighborhoods along tree-shaded streets. Historic structures and vintage architecture add charm to an already pleasing setting.

 

Cranston
Municipal Offices
401-461-1000
www.cranstonri.com
Chamber of Commerce
401-785-3780
www.cranstonchamber.com

Once part of Providence, Cranston first separated as a town and eventually organized as a city in 1910. Like nearby Warwick, the community’s early growth was driven by the proliferation of textile mills and other industry along the Pawtuxet River. Spurred by the completion of Route 295, the western portion of Cranston has experienced considerable growth and development in residential and industrial sectors.

Modern  Cranston, in fact, has grown into an enviable  position as one of the Rhode Island’s major commercial and industrial centers with a focus on jewelry, food, metal, and machinery manufacturing companies.

The small and historic Pawtuxet Village community is nestled between Cranston and Warwick. The village is distinguished as one of the oldest communities in the state and claims the picturesque harbor of Pawtuxet Cove. From its heritage as a busy seaport in Revolutionary times, the village has evolved into a quiet residential haven.

Even though the surrounding cities have matured into commercial and industrial centers, Pawtuxet has preserved a quaint atmosphere crowned by elegant Victorian and colonial homes.

 

Cumberland
Municipal Offices
401-728-2400
www.cumberlandri.org
Chamber of Commerce
401-521-5000
www.provchamber.com

Situated near the Blackstone and Abbott Run Rivers, the Town of Cumberland claims a history of iron and copper mining and was once known as the “mineral deposit of New England. Several shafts over a century old are still visible, but today’s economy harmonizes manufacturing and retail trade. The continual evolution of industrial and commercial growth has given Cumberland a favorable tax base and revenue to enhance the quality of life. In the face of considerable growth in population and business, the town has managed to preserve much of its original rural charm.
Cumberland’s pristine country setting, welcoming atmosphere, convenient setting, and well-managed growth have made the town an excellent choice for new residents. Among the many attractions in this area are The Monastery on Route 114, a retreat that offers jogging and walking trails as well as horseback riding. Valley Falls Heritage Park is a scenic recreational and educational site along the banks of the picturesque Blackstone River. Cumberland is also home to the Diamond Hill Vineyards, a lush oasis that offers tastings, tours, special events, and picnic areas.

 

East Providence
Municipal Offices
401-435-7500
www.eastprovidenceri.net
Chamber of Commerce
401-521-5000
www.provchamber.com
Pointing to a colorful past and an eventful evolution as a community, East Providence was first incorporated in 1862 as a part of Rhode Island. Various town names and a dispute between Massachusetts and Rhode Island gave older residents the chance to say they had lived in three towns and two states without ever moving. Nestled between the urban center of Rhode Island and the rural beauty of southeastern Massachusetts, East Providence is bordered by bodies of water. The Seekonk and Providence Rivers lie to the west, Narragansett Bay to the south, and the Running and Ten Mile Rivers traverse most of its eastern border.

East Providence today is a growing city with a distinctive character that offers good accessibility to regional destinations as well as to capital city attractions. Much of the modern development can be attributed to the advantage of a centralized location, efficient highway and railroad routes, and suburban sprawl from Providence. Public and private schools, vital shopping centers, recreational facilities, lush parks and playgrounds, office parks, and welcoming neighborhoods create a well-balanced community. Attractions in this area include the historic Crescent Park Carousel, one of the finest examples of its type in the nation.

 

Foster
Municipal Offices
401-392-9200
http://www.townoffoster.com/
Chamber of Commerce
401-521-5000
www.provchamber.com

The residential and agricultural town of Foster claims the highest point in Rhode Island, Jerimoth Hill at 812 feet in elevation. Among the villages that have evolved in this area are Hopkins Mills and Foster Center. Clayville, Moosup Valley, North Foster, and Mount Vernon are other small villages dotting the landscape.

Foster preserves rich historic resources around every corner, from quaint houses and farmsteads to stone walls, well-worn roads, vintage bridges, and mill ruins. The rustic countryside is graced by natural beauty that includes brooks, waterfalls, woodland area, and swamps. Abundant wildlife enjoy a well-preserved habitat in this panoramic expanse. Because the majority of Foster is hilly and heavily forested, the town is sparsely settled. For newcomers who appreciate rural charm and all the pleasures of country living, this environment is ideal.

 

Glocester
Municipal Offices
401-568-6206
www.glocesterri.org
Chamber of Commerce
401-521-5000
www.provchamber.com

Named for the Duke of Glocester, this picturesque town claims a proud history of notable and fascinating events. In addition to farming, mining, and manufacturing, the town has welcomed unusual industries like cigar making, distilling, hat making, and tin smithing. One of Rhode Island’s most renowned writers, H.P. Lovecraft, immortalized Glocester by expressing its enchanting qualities in descriptive imagery. While some communities pave over the past in the name of progress, Glocester preserves and honors the finest aspects of yesterday. Many of the area’s attractions are remnants from past centuries. Within the picturesque village of Chepachet lies the nation’s oldest continuously operating general store, filled with antiques and country furnishings as well as gourmet food. The Job Armstrong Store was the largest of a dozen dry good stores in the 1800s and serves as a living museum today. Here, artisans demonstrate crafts handed down from their ancestors such as spinning, weaving, quilting, and rug hooking. Glocester may be most well known for the Ancients and Horribles Parade held every Independence Day that draws throngs of spectators to the area.

 

Johnston
Municipal Offices
401-351-6618
www.johnston-ri.us
Chamber of Commerce
401-521-5000
www.provchamber.com

Originally developed as a part of the city of Providence, Johnston separated and incorporated in 1759. Until the middle of the 19th century, Johnston was primarily a farming community. As the decades passed, agriculture slowly gave way to retail trade and manufacturing enterprises that included fine jewelry and silverware along with a number of fabricated-metal operations.
While a few vintage colonial farmhouses still grace the landscape with picturesque images from the past, modern Johnston is primarily a community that enjoys quality suburban development. Shopping areas, parks, schools, a library, convenient services, and tree-lined residential neighborhoods enhance the quality of life. New residents will find a pleasing selection of well-kept older homes that harmonize beautifully with the area’s newer construction, the latter offering a wide variety of architectural styles and price ranges. Among the local attractions is Dame Farm, a working farm open to the public that displays historic equipment but also serves as a recreational destination with a marked nature and hiking trail.

 

Lincoln
Municipal Offices
401-333-1100
www.lincolnri.org
Chamber of Commerce
401-521-5000
www.provchamber.com

Although the rural community of Lincoln is growing, progressing, and moving in new directions, the town preserves many sites and structures from yesterday. Some of the homes of the first colonists and the remains of early industry can still be seen today. Along the Great Road Historic District on Route 123 between the villages of Saylesville and Limerock lies a half-mile stretch along the Moshassuck River that showcases structures from the 17th to 19th centuries. Eleazer Arnold House, the Friends Meeting House, and the Hannaway Blacksmith Shop are included in this cluster of historic buildings.

Reflecting Rhode Island’s rich legacy of jewelry-making expertise, modern Lincoln claims manufacturing is its principal source of revenue. Jewelry, silverware, and primary metals are still leading the way, although recent years have shown a trend toward increased diversification. New industries and businesses are broadening the base of the local economy. Recreational amenities are underlined by Blackstone River State Park in Quinville, a riverfront park that offers historical walking tours along the canal tow path built in 1828.

 

North Providence
Municipal Offices
401-232-0900
www.northprovidenceri.com
Chamber of Commerce
401-521-5000
www.provchamber.com

Separated from Providence in 1769, the town of North Providence continued to “lose ground” to Providence with re-annexations on three separate occasions. Enjoying a centralized location within the Providence metropolitan area, North Providence borders other suburban communities. Residents are well-served by major highway connections, and the city offers a quick trip to Woonsocket on the north or to Providence on the south.

In spite of the town’s small size in square miles, population growth has been continual and impressive. Characterized as a bustling and dynamic suburban community, North Providence provides a residential haven of tree-shaded neighborhoods for commuters to key employment centers.

North Providence manages to offer all the conveniences of metropolitan living while retaining the livable and relaxed lifestyle of a smaller town. Mineral Spring Avenue is especially well developed in its array of goods and services. The influence of Rhode Island College enriches the community by adding premier cultural attractions.

 

North Smithfield
Municipal Offices
401-767-2202
Chamber of Commerce
401-521-5000
www.provchamber.com

From its rural, agricultural roots, North Smithfield quickly moved into industrial development when a number of its villages grew up around the mills that dotted the landscape. Although each village claimed a distinctive personality, Slatersville has continually played an important role in this area. Eventually, it became the seat of town government.

Transforming over the centuries, the modern community of North Smithfield is characterized as a progressive suburb. The panoramic forests and patchwork farmland  of yesterday’s landscape are rapidly being redesigned and developed into outstanding residential, industrial, and commercial sites as well as recreational resources. In spite of growth and expansion, North Smithfield planners have managed to create a suburban atmosphere that preserves the country charm of its historic roots. Numerous Federal style houses still line Historic Union Village on Great Road, and Slaterville Village Green remains the heart of one of the nation’s oldest mill villages.

 

Pawtucket, Central Falls
Municipal Offices
Pawucket

401-728-0500
www.pawtucketri.com
Central Falls
401-727-7400
www.centralfallsri.us
Chamber of Commerce
401-521-5000
www.provchamber.com

Founded at the falls of the Blackstone River and the upper tidewaters of Narragansett Bay, the city of Pawtucket holds special significance in the industrial history of the nation. Samuel Slater built and operated machines for spinning cotton in the late 1700s, accelerating the industrial revolution and changing the face of Pawtucket into an important manufacturing center.
Even today, Pawtucket is home to many successful specialty textile operations. At the same time, the area has welcomed more than 1,000 commercial and service establishments and hundreds of industries dominated by manufacturers of fine jewelry, silverware, metals, and textiles. In more recent decades, Pawtucket has assumed a leading position in community development programs and revitalization efforts that have included modernizing and upgrading many of the facilities.
Nearby Central Falls is distinguished as the smallest municipality in Rhode Island. Still, the community is recognized as one of the most densely populated in the state. This tiny community just west of Pawtucket on the Blackstone River shares the legacy of industrial development with a unique twist. Central Falls was once called Chocolate Mill for the chocolate factory established in 1790. Closely aligned geographically, Pawtucket and Central Falls are often referred to as the “Twin Cities.” Modern Central Falls is home to several large manufacturing plants that strengthen the economy with diversity.

 

Providence
Municipal Offices
401-421-7740
www.providenceri.com
Chamber of Commerce
401-521-5000
www.provchamber.com

After banishment from Massachusetts for “new and dangerous ideas,” Roger Williams went on to found Providence in 1636. True to the spirit of its founding heritage, the capital city has continued to excel in architectural, educational, and social significance. The city of Providence is the cosmopolitan center for business, finance, government, and culture of a metropolitan area of approximately one million. The city’s economic assets include excellent transportation facilities, several colleges and universities, leading healthcare institutions, a powerful manufacturing sector, and a highly skilled labor force.

Providence is distinguished as one of the nation’s largest centers for jewelry design and manufacture, although the list of major employers brings together hospitals, banks, government, and service companies.

In keeping with the pioneering attitude and courage that marked the city’s genesis, innovation and economic initiatives flow outward from local institutions of higher education. The culinary school at Johnson and Wales University allows Providence to claim some of the finest restaurants in New England. Collaborations, joint projects, and consortiums are abundant. During the 1990s, Providence assumed a totally new identity as the “Renaissance City,” a mecca of revitalization that included attractions like the Rhode Island Convention Center, Waterplace Park, and the Sovereign Bank Skating Center.

The Providence Place Mall opened in 1999. In DownCity Providence lies the arts and entertainment district where artists are encouraged to combine their home with a studio and/or gallery. Few locales in the nation can rival Providence for artfully harmonizing the charm of yesterday with a progressive attitude to offer a comfortable, and livable home.

 

Scituate
Municipal Offices
401-647-2822
www.scituateri.org
Chamber of Commerce
401-521-5000
www.provchamber.com
Located just beyond the suburban sprawl of Johnston to the west of Providence, the town of Scituate began as an agricultural settlement. The small village of Hope that sprang up in the southern section of town was only one of several hamlets that evolved with the development of manufacturing and milling. The city of Providence acquired title to an expansive area in the northern part of Scituate, which was flooded after the construction of a dam. Covering several thousand acres, Scituate Reservoir serves as the primary water supply for Providence.
Newcomers to Scituate will be enchanted by the rural atmosphere of apple orchards, vintage farms, and miles of rustic stone walls that divide lush woodlands. Seagrave Memorial Observatory is located in this area, home to an amateur astronomical society and a host for special events. The close proximity of Providence adds cultural and educational richness as well as a wealth of recreational facilities and opportunities for first-class shopping to the natural serenity of this small community.

 

Smithfield
Municipal Offices
401-233-1000
www.smithfieldri.com
Chamber of Commerce
401-521-5000
www.provchamber.com

From its roots as an agricultural and milling area, Smithfield has evolved as a modern growing community that is ideally situated in the triangle formed by Providence and Woonsocket in Rhode Island as well as Worcester in nearby Massachusetts.

Known throughout the state as “Apple Country,” the town preserves its farming heritage in lush orchards that punctuate the countryside with scenic and profitable greenery. Complementing the agricultural activity, a healthy industrial base includes a number of companies that enjoy state-of-the-art facilities.

Bryant College is a nationally recognized college of business located in Smithfield on the panoramic Tupper Campus. More than 10,000 students who represent 1,800 firms take advantage of Bryant’s continuing education programs each year. Crowning a truly beautiful campus with a parklike setting, the Koffler Rotunda at the college is an architectural marvel in its own right. This magnificently designed and impressively functional “unistructure” enables the college to house almost all of the administrative and academic functions under a single roof.

 

Woonsocket
Municipal Offices
401-762-6400
www.ci.woonsocket.ri.us
Chamber of Commerce
401-521-5000
www.provchamber.com

The spectacular and powerful natural resource of Woonsocket Falls enabled the community to develop a strong industrial sector that fostered the growth of a number of small, bustling manufacturing villages. Woonsocket soon evolved into a culturally diverse center of economic activity. While manufacturing continues to dominate the local scene, many of the residents in this community are commuters to metropolitan employment centers in Rhode Island as well as to companies and businesses in nearby Massachusetts. New residents will find a good selection of housing.

Route 146, along with the Providence and Worcester Railroad, combines with the nearby intersection of Interstate 295 and Route 146 to provide efficient transportation to popular regional destinations. The city’s centralized location and accessibility make it ideal for continued development. River Island Park across from the market square epitomizes Woonsocket’s blend of urban atmosphere and natural beauty. Within steps of Main Street and historic districts, residents can take peaceful strolls, enjoy scenic vistas, and even launch canoes.

 

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