Pawtucket Falls – Pawtucket

This short walk, a little over a half mile out and back packs a bit of history. So much so that it is now part of the newly formed Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor. The walk weaves through two small city parks, a historic site, and follows a new section of bike path. Starting at the intersection of Roosevelt Avenue and Main Street, I followed a walkway that leads toward the river. There are two sets of falls here. The first, being the Lower Falls, a combination of a natural waterfall and manmade dam, are just about under the Main Street bridge. This is where the Blackstone River ends and the tidal waters of the Seekonk River begins. These falls were used by the Native Americans and the colonists as a fishing spot for years before it was used for its water-power. In fact, the city of Pawtucket gets its name from these falls. Pawtucket is Algonquin for “place of rushing waters”. The Upper Falls are just a few hundred feet north at Slater Mill. Following the river along the brick walkway that follows the river, I soon found myself at a set of several older buildings. This is the Slater Mill Historic Site. It comprises of three buildings and is today a living museum open to the public. The first building of note is the large rubblestone mill. This is the Wilkinson Mill, which was built around 1810, housed a blacksmith shop and a machine shop. The second building of note is the Sylvanus Brown House. The large reddish-brown house was built in 1758, however, at a different location a few blocks away. During the construction of Interstate 95 the house faced demolition. It was saved and relocated to its present site. The third building of note is the highlight of this historic site. The Slater Mill is said to be the birthplace of the American Industrial Revolution. The mill, built in 1793, became the first successful cotton factory in the newly formed United States. In the next hundred (plus) years, mills and factories would begin to line the Blackstone River from here in Pawtucket northerly to Worcester, Massachusetts. The next part of this walk would lead me around Slater Mill to a parking area. I made my way to the large stone wall along the river. This wall was built in 1940 by the Works Projects Administration. I followed the wall north a few feet to a new section of bike path. At the time of this walk, it seems that more improvements may be in store to connect the historic site to a newly installed bike path. The bike path, short in distance, follows the river. To the left is the backside of the Pawtucket City Hall. This art-deco building built in 1933 features a central tower that is over 200 feet tall. The building is also home to the police and fire departments. After passing the City Hall I came to an amphitheater at Veterans Memorial Park. The path then continues to wind up to street level. At the intersection of Roosevelt Avenue and Exchange Street there is a sign. It is the same design of sign I came across at the Pawtuxet River walk. It reads “River and Fields at Pawtucket – One of the bounds of Providence mentioned in the Indian deed to Roger Williams”. From this point I retraced my steps back to the point of beginning.

I did not find a map on-line.

Slater Mill

Slater Mill

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