Cranston, Rhode Island

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Cranston, Rhode Island
William H Hall Free Library, Cranston RI.jpg
Rosedale Apartments, Cranston RI.jpg
Pawtuxet Neck - Cranston RI Aerial (25669074358).jpg
CranstonRI 1812FoundryRuins 1.jpg
City of Cranston RI Seal.jpg
Providence County Rhode Island incorporated and unincorporated areas Cranston highlighted.svg
Location in Providence County and the state of Rhode Island.
Coordinates: 41°46′N71°27′W / 41.767°N 71.450°W / 41.767; -71.450 Coordinates: 41°46′N71°27′W / 41.767°N 71.450°W / 41.767; -71.450
Country United States
State Rhode Island
County Providence
Incorporated (town)1754
Incorporated (city)1910 [1]
  Type Mayor-council
   Mayor Kenneth Hopkins (R)
  City CouncilNicole Renzulli (R)
Jessica Marino (D)
Robert Ferri (R)
Lammis J. Vargas (D)
Aniece Germain (D)
John P. Donegan (D)
Edward J. Brady (R)
Christopher G. Paplauskas (R)
Matthew Reilly (R)
  Total30.02 sq mi (77.75 km2)
  Land28.34 sq mi (73.41 km2)
  Water1.67 sq mi (4.33 km2)
62 ft (19 m)
(2019) [3]
  Density2,873.73/sq mi (1,109.55/km2)
Time zone UTC−5 (EST)
  Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
ZIP Codes
02823, 02905, 02907, 02910, 02920, 02921
Area code(s) 401
FIPS code 44-19180 [4]
GNIS feature ID1218689 [5]

Cranston, once known as Pawtuxet, is a city in Providence County, Rhode Island, United States. The official population of the city in the 2020 United States Census was 82,934, making it the second largest in the state. The center of population of Rhode Island is located in Cranston. [6] Cranston is a part of the Providence metropolitan area.


Cranston was named one of the "100 Best Places to Live" in the United States by Money magazine in 2006. [7] It is among the top 25 safest cities in the country, according to CQ Press's research.[ citation needed ] Cranston ranked 36th on the list of “America’s 50 Best Cities to Live” in a 2014 survey done by 24/7 Wall St. [8]

The Town of Cranston was created in 1754 from a portion of Providence north of the Pawtuxet River. After losing much of its territory to neighboring towns and the city of Providence, Cranston itself became a city on 10 March 1910.


Much of the land was purchased by Roger Williams from the Narragansett Indians in 1638 as part of the Pawtuxet Purchase, and the first settler in the area was William Arnold, who was followed shortly by William Harris, William Carpenter and Zachariah Rhodes. [9] Stephen Arnold, a brother-in-law of Rhodes and William Arnold, built a gristmill on the Pawtuxet falls and laid out the "Arnold Road" (modern-day "Broad Street") connecting it to the Pequot Trail leading to Connecticut. Arnold's son, Benedict Arnold, became the first Governor of Rhode Island under the charter of 1663. After area residents were unable to agree upon a name for a new town for decades, the Town of Cranston was eventually created by the General Assembly in 1754 from a portion of Providence north of the Pawtuxet River. Historians debate whether the town was named after Governor Samuel Cranston, the longest-serving Rhode Island governor or his grandson, Thomas Cranston, who was serving as Speaker of the Rhode Island House of Representatives at the time that the town was created. In the early 1770s town meetings were held at the taverns of Caleb Arnold and Nehemiah Knight where Cranstonians voted in favor of a resolution opposing the British Parliament's Coercive Acts, and the town heavily supported the Patriot cause during the Revolutionary War. After losing much of its territory to neighboring towns and the city of Providence over the nineteenth century, Cranston itself became a city on 10 March 1910. [10] [11]

Many Italian-Americans in Cranston are descended from immigrants of Itri, Italy who settled mainly in the Knightsville section of Cranston during the early 1900s. [12] Cranston is known for the St. Mary's Feast, inspired by the Feast of the Madonna della Civita celebrated in Itri. Since 1905, the St. Mary's Feast has been a week-long festival celebrated in July in Cranston with vendors, a carnival, fireworks, and a religious procession from St. Mary's Church on Sunday. [13] In 2000, Cranston and Itri became sister cities. [14]

Flood of 2010

In March 2010, after an overwhelming amount of rain, the Pawtuxet River overflowed. This caused many major sites such as the Warwick Mall, Contour Dental Laboratories, and the CLCF Building to be shut down and repaired. [15]


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 29.9 square miles (77 km2), of which, 28.6 square miles (74 km2) of it is land and 1.4 square miles (3.6 km2) of it (4.54%) is water.

It is roughly three percent of Rhode Island's total land mass. [16]

The following neighborhoods and villages are located in Cranston:


Historical population
1790 1,990
1800 1,644−17.4%
1810 2,16131.4%
1820 2,2745.2%
1830 2,65316.7%
1840 2,9029.4%
1850 4,31148.6%
1860 7,50074.0%
1870 4,822−35.7%
1880 5,94023.2%
1890 8,09936.3%
1900 13,34364.7%
1910 21,10758.2%
1920 29,40739.3%
1930 42,91145.9%
1940 47,0859.7%
1950 55,06016.9%
1960 66,76621.3%
1970 74,28711.3%
1980 72,534−2.4%
1990 75,0433.5%
2000 79,2695.6%
2010 80,3871.4%
2020 82,9343.2%
U.S. Decennial Census [17]


As of the 2010 US Census, there were 80,387 people living in the city. The racial makeup of the village was 81.93% White, 5.26% African American, 0.32% Native American, 5.17% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 4.6% from other races, and 2.66% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 10.83% of the population.

2010 census

As of the census [4] of 2010, there were 79,269 people, 30,954 households, and 20,243 families living in the city of Cranston. The population density was 2,774.6 persons per square mile (1,071.3/km2). There were 32,068 housing units at an average density of 1,122.5 per square mile (433.4/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 89.19% White, 3.69% African American, 0.30% Native American, 3.28% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 1.93% from other races, and 1.57% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.56% of the population.

There were 30,954 households, out of which 28.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.2% were married couples living together, 12.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.6% were non-families. 29.4% of all households were made up of individuals, and 13.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.41 and the average family size was 3.01.

In the city the population was spread out, with 21.6% under the age of 18, 7.7% from 18 to 24, 31.5% from 25 to 44, 22.0% from 45 to 64, and 17.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females, there were 95.9 males. For every 100 females of age 18 or over, there were 92.8 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $44,108, and the median income for a family was $55,241. Males had a median income of $40,031 versus $28,279 for females. The per capita income for the city was $21,978. About 5.6 of families and 7.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 8.6% of those under the age of 18 and 8.5% of those ages 65 or older.


Companies with corporate headquarters in Cranston include jewelry maker Alex and Ani and Coastway Community Bank. The first Del's Lemonade stand was opened in Cranston in 1948. [18]

Arts and culture


Howard Prison in Cranston, circa 1900 RI Prison.jpg
Howard Prison in Cranston, circa 1900

The first auto race track in the country, Narragansett Park [lower-alpha 1] , located off Park Avenue, opened at present-day Stadium Ball Field in September 1886 as a trotting track. [19]

Cranston is home to the Budlong Pool, one of the largest outdoor swimming pools in the country. Built in the 1940s as a Works Progress Administration project, it is a staple of the community. It is located at 198 Aqueduct Road, off Reservoir Avenue (part of RI 2).

Sprague Mansion, an 18th-century homestead, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. [20] The Thomas Fenner House, built around 1677, is one of the oldest houses in Rhode Island. Edgewood Yacht Club which is no longer standing was a notable structure on the National Register of Historic Places located on the Providence River.


Little League


The Rhode Island Department of Corrections has its headquarters and its adult prison facilities in Cranston. [21] The Rhode Island Department of Children, Youth & Families operates the Rhode Island Training School (RITS), a juvenile correctional facility, in Cranston. The Rhode Island Division of Motor Vehicles is headquartered in Cranston. [22]

The City of Cranston operates under a mayor-council form of government. General city elections are held on the first Tuesday in November of every even-numbered year. Terms for elected officials begin on the first Monday in January of the year following their election. [23] The City Council consists of nine members: six representing each of the City wards, and three citywide representatives. Council members are elected to a two-year term, and are limited to five consecutive two-year terms. [24] The current Cranston City Council President is Christopher Paplauskas and the council has a Republican majority.

The current mayor, Kenneth Hopkins, was sworn in on January 4, 2021. Former mayor Allan Fung, the city's first Asian American mayor, was expected to attend but unexpectedly contracted COVID-19. As of 2012, mayors may be elected to no more than two consecutive four-year terms. [24] [25]

In the Rhode Island Senate, Cranston is split into four senatorial districts, all represented by Democrats: Frank S. Lombardi (District 26), Hanna M. Gallo (District 27), Joshua Miller (District 28), and Kendra Anderson (District 31). At the federal level, Cranston is a part of Rhode Island's 2nd congressional district and is currently represented by Democrat James R. Langevin.

In presidential elections, Cranston is reliably Democratic as no Republican presidential nominee has won the city in over three decades.

Cranston city vote
by party in presidential elections
Year GOP DEM Others
2020 42.22% 17,31356.12%23,0391.71% 701
2016 43.30% 15,93450.99%18,7635.70% 2,099
2012 37.20% 13,00861.16%21,3881.64% 574
2008 37.72% 13,98160.76%22,5201.51% 561
2004 40.95% 14,47157.54%20,3311.51% 532
2000 31.00% 10,42063.09%21,2045.90% 1,984
1996 26.71% 9,09861.37%20,90111.92% 4,059
1992 31.45% 12,45046.96%18,58921.59% 8,549
1988 46.33% 17,12953.32%19,7110.35% 128


School Committee

The Cranston Public Schools School Committee consists of seven members; six representing each of the city wards and one citywide representative. Committee members are elected to a two-year term, and as of 2014, members are limited to five consecutive two-year terms. [27]



Four freeways travel through Cranston: I-95, I-295, RI 10 (the Huntington Expressway) and RI 37. Other state-numbered roads in Cranston are U.S. 1, US 1A, RI 2, RI 5, RI 12, RI 33, RI 51, RI 115 and RI 117.

Cranston is served by Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) buses. Amtrak's Northeast Corridor passes through but has no station in the city. The MBTA's Providence/Stoughton Line also passes through but does not include a station in Cranston. However, a station stop has been proposed. Currently, the nearest MBTA stations are in Providence and Warwick at T.F. Green Airport, the former which is also served by Amtrak.

Notable people

Sister cities

Related Research Articles

Rhode Island State of the United States

Rhode Island, officially the State of Rhode Island, is a state in the New England region of the United States. It is the smallest U.S. state by area and the seventh-least populous, but it is also the second-most densely populated behind New Jersey. The state takes its name from the island of the same name; however, most of the state is on the mainland. The state has land borders with Connecticut to the west, Massachusetts to the north and east, and the Atlantic Ocean to the south via Rhode Island Sound and Block Island Sound. It also shares a small maritime border with New York. Providence is the state capital and most populous city in Rhode Island.

Providence County, Rhode Island County in Rhode Island, US

Providence County is the most populous county in the U.S. state of Rhode Island. As of the 2010 census, the county's population was 626,667, or 59.5% of the state's population. Providence County contains the city of Providence, the state capital of Rhode Island and the county's most populous city, with an estimated 179,335 residents in 2018. Providence County is included in the Providence-Warwick, RI-MA Metropolitan Statistical Area, which in turn constitutes a portion of the greater Boston-Worcester-Providence, MA-RI-NH-CT Combined Statistical Area. In 2010, the center of population of Rhode Island was located in Providence County, in the city of Cranston.

Warwick, Rhode Island City in Rhode Island, United States

Warwick is a city in Kent County, Rhode Island, the third largest city in the state with a population of 82,823 at the 2020 census. It is located approximately 12 miles (19 km) south of downtown Providence, Rhode Island, 63 miles (101 km) southwest of Boston, Massachusetts, and 171 miles (275 km) northeast of New York City.

Jamestown, Rhode Island Town in Rhode Island, United States

Jamestown is a town in Newport County, Rhode Island in the United States. The population was 5,559 at the 2020 census. Jamestown is situated almost entirely on Conanicut Island, the second largest island in Narragansett Bay. It also includes the uninhabited Dutch Island and Gould Island.

Johnston, Rhode Island Town in Rhode Island, United States

Johnston is a town in Providence County, Rhode Island, United States. The population was 29,568 at the 2020 census. Johnston is the site of the Clemence Irons House (1691), a stone-ender museum, and the only landfill in Rhode Island. Incorporated on March 6, 1759, Johnston was named for the colonial attorney general, Augustus Johnston.

Lincoln, Rhode Island Town in Rhode Island, United States

Lincoln is a town in Providence County, Rhode Island, United States. The population was 22,529 at the 2020 census. Lincoln is located in northeastern Rhode Island, north of Providence. Lincoln is part of the Providence metropolitan statistical area and the Greater Boston combined statistical area.

Pawtucket, Rhode Island City in Rhode Island, United States

Pawtucket is a city in Providence County, Rhode Island, United States. The population was 75,604 at the 2020 census, making the city the fourth-largest in the state. Pawtucket borders Providence and East Providence to the south, Central Falls and Lincoln to the north, and North Providence to the west; to its east-northeast, the city borders the Massachusetts municipalities of Seekonk and Attleboro.

Scituate, Rhode Island Town in Rhode Island, United States

Scituate is a town in Providence County, Rhode Island, United States. The population was 10,384 at the 2020 census.

Narragansett, Rhode Island Town in Rhode Island, United States

Narragansett is a town in Washington County, Rhode Island, United States. The population was 14,532 at the 2020 census. However, during the summer months the town's population more than doubles to near 34,000. The town is colloquially known as "Gansett". The town of Narragansett occupies a narrow strip of land running along the eastern bank of the Pettaquamscutt River to the shore of Narragansett Bay. It was separated from South Kingstown in 1888 and incorporated as a town in 1901.

West Warwick, Rhode Island Town in Rhode Island, United States

West Warwick is a town in Kent County, Rhode Island, United States. The population was 29,191 at the 2010 census.

Providence Plantations Settlement

Providence Plantations was the first permanent European American settlement in Rhode Island. It was established by a group of colonists led by Roger Williams and Dr. John Clarke who left Massachusetts Bay Colony in order to establish a colony with greater religious freedom. Providence Plantations became the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, which became the State of Rhode Island after the American Revolution.

Narragansett Bay Bay in the state of Rhode Island

Narragansett Bay is a bay and estuary on the north side of Rhode Island Sound covering 147 square miles (380 km2), 120.5 square miles (312 km2) of which is in Rhode Island. The bay forms New England's largest estuary, which functions as an expansive natural harbor and includes a small archipelago. Small parts of the bay extend into Massachusetts.

Pawtuxet River river in the U.S. state of Rhode Island

The Pawtuxet River is a river in the U.S. state of Rhode Island. It flows 12.3 miles (19.8 km) and drains a watershed of 231.6 square miles (600 km2). There are four dams along the river's length.

Pawtuxet Village United States historic place

Pawtuxet Village is a section of the New England cities of Warwick and Cranston, Rhode Island. It is located at the point where the Pawtuxet River flows into the Providence River and Narragansett Bay.

Benedict Arnold (governor) President & governor of the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations

Benedict Arnold was president and then governor of the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, serving for a total of 11 years in these roles. He was born and raised in the town of Ilchester, Somerset, England, likely attending school in Limington nearby. In 1635 at age 19, he accompanied his parents, siblings, and other family members on a voyage from England to New England where they first settled in Hingham in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. In less than a year, they moved to Providence Plantation at the head of the Narragansett Bay at the request of Roger Williams. In about 1638, they moved once again about five miles (8 km) south to the Pawtuxet River, settling on the north side at a place commonly called Pawtuxet. Here they had serious disputes with their neighbors, particularly Samuel Gorton, and they put themselves and their lands under the jurisdiction of Massachusetts, a situation which lasted for 16 years.

Scituate Reservoir

The Scituate Reservoir is the largest inland body of water in the state of Rhode Island. It has an aggregate capacity of 39 billion US gallons (150,000,000 m3) and a surface area of 5.3 square miles (13.7 km²). It and its six tributary reservoirs—which make up a total surface area of 7.2 square miles (18.6 km²)—supply drinking water to more than 60 percent of the state population, including Providence.

Providence River

The Providence River is a tidal river in the U.S. state of Rhode Island. It flows approximately 8 miles (13 km). There are no dams along the river's length, although the Fox Point Hurricane Barrier is located south of downtown to protect the city of Providence from damaging tidal floods.

Providence, Rhode Island Capital of Rhode Island

Providence is the capital and most populous city of the U.S. state of Rhode Island. One of the oldest cities in the United States, it was founded in 1636 by Roger Williams, a Reformed Baptist theologian and religious exile from the Massachusetts Bay Colony. He named the area in honor of "God's merciful Providence" which he believed was responsible for revealing such a haven for him and his followers. The city is situated at the mouth of the Providence River at the head of Narragansett Bay.

William Carpenter (Rhode Island colonist)

William Carpenter was a co-founder of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, born about 1610, probably in Amesbury, Wiltshire, England. He died September 7, 1685 in the Pawtuxet section of Providence, now in Cranston, Rhode Island. He was listed by 1655 as a "freeman" of the colony.

Cranston Public Library Public library system in Rhode Island, US

The Cranston Public Library is the public library system serving Cranston, the second largest city in Rhode Island. The first library in Cranston was formed in 1797, while the library system was formed in 1966 by the Cranston City Council. The present day library system formed in 1968 when six independent neighborhood libraries came together as one. There are six locations in the system, including a central library and five neighborhood branches. The library system is governed by a board of trustees consisting of seven members appointed by the Cranston City Council. Members serve staggered three-year terms. Meetings are open to the public.


  1. Not to be confused with Narragansett Park a Thoroughbred horse track, located in Pawtucket, RI, which closed in 1978.
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