Image of the Pawtuxet Bridge located in Cranston, Rhode Island.
Pawtuxet Village is one of New England's oldest communities. By 1638, only two years after Roger Williams founded Providence, settlers had established a hamlet around the falls and cove where the Pawtuxet River flows into upper Narragansett Bay. They were attracted to the sheltered harbor as well as the readily available water power (the Native American term "pawtuxet" means "little falls")
By the time of the celebrated burning of the British ship of war, HMS Gaspee, by disgruntled Rhode Island taxpayers in 1772, Pawtuxet Village was a thriving seaport and wayside stop on the Old Post Road, the major overland link between Boston and New York. Rhode Islanders are fond of pointing out that the burning of the HMS Gaspee was actually the first shot of the Revolutionary War, as the schooner's commander, Lieutenant Duddingston, was wounded during the incident. This event is celebrated each June with a grand parade and other activities called Gaspee Days.
Roger Williams, purchased the property extending south from Providence to the Pawtuxet River. Shortly thereafter his followers; William Arnold, William Harris, William Carpenter, and Zachariah Rhodes, settled along the fertile meadows of the Pawtuxet. Meanwhile, Samuel Gorton, the founder of Warwick, purchased the land south of the Pawtuxet River. Pawtuxet Village remains unique in that its northern section is in the town of Cranston, while its southern section is in another town, Warwick.
Early 18th century inhabitants took advantage of the power of the Pawtuxet River by contructing various mills, and took advantage of its excellent harbor by building one of America's premiere shipping ports. The Pawtuxet Village Historic District boasts dozens of preserved Colonial structures among its scenic blend of homes and buildings. The mouth of the Pawtuxet River was a strategic location to settle, and gave boats a safe harbor and the village considerable importance in the triangular trade of the day, and shipyards for the coastal and West Indies trade were located here. Source: Pawtuxet CoveSee also:
Cranston: National Register of Historic Places., 1984
Rhode Island Historical Preservation Commission: Statewide Preservation Reports, 1975 - 1982
Rhode Island Historical Preservation Commission: Historical and Architectural Resources Preliminary Reports, 1978-1991
Guide to Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation Division of Tourism photographs
Department of Economic Development - Videotapes, Tourism, 1977-1992