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Best Community #36: City in Turmoil

Monday, June 20, 2011


Central Falls

It may be the city that is mentioned most, in stories of controversy and woe, in Rhode Island. With the future of its schools continuing to plague this remarkably unique community (famously the most densely populated city in Rhode Island and the 32nd most densely populated incorporated place in the United States), Central Falls struggles to bring up its standard of living for the many immigrants who call it home.

Second only to Providence on the Affordability ranking, Central Falls sits at the second-to-bottom spot on 2011's Education ranking, and in the bottom 10 of overall economic condition and safety.

Central Falls by the numbers

Established: 1730
Population: 19,376
Median household income: $33,520
Median housing price: $90,000

2011 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 36
Affordability ranking: 2
Education ranking: 38
Economic condition ranking: 32
Safety ranking: 33
Arts & Culture ranking: 30

History in a nutshell:

Central Falls was established in 1730, and incorporated as a city on February 21, 1895. This tiny city is located just west of Pawtucket on the Blackstone River. Its close proximity to Pawtucket has earned them both the title, the “Twin Cities.” It is famously known as one of the areas where King Philip terrorized white settlers during Metacom’s War. A monument in town marks one such event when on March 26, 1676, Captain Michael Pierce and a company of his Plymouth soldiers were ambushed and nearly obliterated. Rich with a history of industrial production, Central Falls was at one time called Chocolate Mill due to a chocolate factory located in the center of town (fittingly, one of the country's high-end chocolatiers, Garrison Confections, makes its manufacturing home in Central Falls).

Additional research by Nate Holterman


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