The area, deeded to Roger Williams in 1638, was a haven for religious freedom in New England. Pawtucket's first settler was an ironworker who established (1671) a forge at the falls. Metalworks and sawmills sprang up, and after Slater erected his cotton mill on the banks of the river, the textile industry boomed. After World War II, when much of the textile manufacturing moved south, Pawtucket shared the decline of many New England towns. The city has since regained its small industrial status. Of principal interest is the 1793 Slater mill, now a museum. Some two dozen former textile mills now form an arts district. Many tourist and recreational sites are in the area.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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