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Cumberland #27: RI’s Best Communities 2012

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

 

Cumberland

Just as along the ridges here that are veined with iron-rich cumberlandite, there are steeps and drops. This year, Cumberland saw a marked drop when it came to the 2012 rankings--10 spots in fact, to #27. With the official motto of "Great History. Bright Future," perhaps this Blackstone Valley town with a vibrant Portuguese community may need to look beyond this year to make good on that motto. 

With a jump in housing prices from 2011's ranking up to $248,000, but a stagnant Median Household Income ($72,830), Cumberland was the #11 most affordable community, but a marked drop in Safety (from #11 in 2011 down to #18 in 2012) combined with a middling Education ranking (#25) combined to fuel the town's decline. A last-place ranking tie in Arts & Culture sites at #37 (with Central Falls and West Greenwich) also contributed to the town that claims the Farrelly brothers as its native sons moving down into the bottom half of the list. Considering Oscar-nominated actor Richard Jenkins also claims Cumberland as home, maybe it's time to start a little arts movement on home soil.

Cumberland by the numbers

Established: 1746
Population: 33,506
Median household income: $72,830
Median housing price: $248,000

2012 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 27
Affordability ranking: 11
Education ranking: 25
Economic condition ranking: 9
Safety ranking: 18
Arts & Culture ranking: 37
Restaurants & Bars ranking: 18

History in a nutshell:

Formerly known as Attleboro Gore, Cumberland was one of 5 towns to be received from Massachusetts by Royal Decree. However, in 1746 it was incorporated into Rhode Island and took on its current title after the Duke of Cumberland. Its prime location near the Blackstone and Abbott Run Rivers spurred industrial advancement during its fledgling years. Cumberland also came to be known as a mining town due to extensive mineral deposits of iron and copper that were found within its border. While mining is no longer a viable source of income for the community, manufacturing and retail trade contribute to the town’s growth.

Famous residents:

William Blaxton, Cumberland's first European settler
Jemima Wilkinson, 18th century evangelist, was born and raised in Cumberland
Tim White, former WWE referee
The Farrelly Brothers, filmmakers
David Macaulay, author and illustrator
Aaron Fricke, gay rights activist
Brad Adamonis, current PGA tour golfer
Richard Jenkins, Academy Award Nominated actor
Rocco Baldelli, MLB Free Agent outfielder
Brian Lawton, the first American ice hockey player selected #1 overall in the NHL entry draft
Cory Pesaturo, world champion accordionist
John Capron, Sr, textile pioneer

Famous residents source: Wikipedia

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