Stories from Pawtucket

Tour curated by: Brown University students in "Methods in Public Humanities," Spring 2014

Best known as the birthplace of America's industrial revolution, the city of Pawtucket boasts a rich history filled with stories of vice and virtue, bicycles and bravery. First transformed in the 1700s from rural community to urban center by Samuel Slater's mill on the banks of the Blackstone River, the city has undergone many changes over the years. Discover the hidden stories of Pawtucket as you explore this rich landscape.

Locations for Tour

He looks surprised to see her but who can blame him? Goddesses do not often descend from the heavens and communicate with humans. The goddess Liberty hands a spear to a young farmer, still holding his plow. Leave your work in the fields! Take up arms…

In the 1780s, a visitor traveling through the Blackstone River Valley might have smelled the rich aroma of roasting cacao beans wafting from a small wooden building as they passed through the hamlet of Central Falls. Americans consumed chocolate…

Step through the doors of the Modern Diner, slide into a window booth or snag a stool at the counter, and order two eggs, toast, and a side of hash browns. Order up!In 1940, the Modern Diner opened on Dexter Street in downtown Pawtucket. Patrons…

Despite the rain, a troupe of bicyclists and mustached men costumed as knights, clowns, pages, and a prince paraded through the streets of Pawtucket. Thousands of people from Rhode Island and the adjoining states thronged the streets. For a week, all…

All across America people ridiculed and smashed Henry D. Cogswell’s fountains, but this one survives in downtown Pawtucket.Cogswell – a dentist, millionaire, and crusader in the temperance movement against alcohol – had not always been a…

Sam Patch swung his hat and leapt off the cliff, cutting through the mist towards the seething whirlpool below. A roar rose up from the massive crowd of over 8,000 people. The outcome of this feat – at High Falls in upstate New York – would send…

On January 3, 1791, Ann Arnold walked into the newly founded Slater Mill and onto the pages of history as one of the first nine employees hired by the mill. She was probably about ten years old.As the industrial revolution swept across the western…
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