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Woonsocket is a city in Providence Countymarker, Rhode Islandmarker, United Statesmarker. The population was 43,224 at the 2000 census, making it the sixth largest city in the state. Woonsocket lies directly south of the Massachusettsmarker border.

The city is the corporate headquarters of CVS Caremark, a leading integrated pharmacy services provider. It is also home to Landmark Medical Center, St John the Baptist Union, the Museum of Work and Culture and the American-French Genealogical Society. Woonsocket's oldest radio station, WOONmarker (originally WWON), signed on in 1946 & continues to provide local service to Woonsocket. Its former sister station WWON-FM is now hip-hop radio station WWKX 106.3 "Hot 106" is licensed to broadcast from Woonsocket. Radio Station WNRImarker, established in 1954, broadcasts 24 hours daily (albeit on a limited nighttime signal of 18 watts) from its Diamond Hill Road studios.

Woonsocket is located at (42.001731, -71.507223). The city is located approximately 15 miles North of Providence.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 8.0 square miles (20.6 km²), of which, 7.7 square miles (20.0 km²) of it is land and 0.2 square miles (0.6 km²) of it (3.14%) is water. Woonsocket is drained by the Blackstone River. Adjacent communities include: Blackstonemarker, Bellinghammarker, Cumberlandmarker, and North Smithfieldmarker.


As of the census of 2000, there were 43,224 people, 17,750 households, and 10,774 families residing in the city. The population density was 5,608.8 people per square mile (2,164.6/km²). There were 18,757 housing units at an average density of 2,433.9/sq mi (939.3/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 83.14% White, 4.44% African American, 0.32% Native American, 4.06% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 4.86% from other races, and 3.14% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 9.32% of the population.

Woonsocket is a part of the Providence metropolitan area, which has an estimated population of 1,622,520.

There were 17,750 households out of which 31.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 39.4% were married couples living together, 16.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 39.3% were non-families. 32.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.37 and the average family size was 3.02.

In the city the population was spread out with 25.8% under the age of 18, 9.2% from 18 to 24, 30.0% from 25 to 44, 19.7% from 45 to 64, and 15.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 91.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.8 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $30,819, and the median income for a family was $38,353. Males had a median income of $31,465 versus $24,638 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,223. About 16.7% of families and 19.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 31.3% of those under age 18 and 14.7% of those age 65 or over.

According to the 2000 census, 46.1% of Woonsocket’s population is identified as being of Frenchmarker or French-Canadian ethnic heritage. The city has referred to itself as La ville la plus française aux États-Unis – the most French city in the United States.


Woonsocket French Quarter
Woonsocket Medical Corporation, founded in 1839 by Dr. Seth Arnold
Woonsocket in 1855

Before the arrival of European settlers in northern Rhode Islandmarker during the 17th century, today's Woonsocket region was inhabited by three Native American tribes — the Nipmucs (Cowesett), Wampanoags, and Narragansetts . In 1661, the Englishmarker theologian Roger Williams purchased the area from the "Coweset and Nipmucks," and in a letter referred to modern day Woonsocket as "Niswosakit." Other possible derivations to the name include several Nipmuc geographic names from nearby Massachusettsmarker. These include Woonksechocksett, from Worcester Countymarker meaning "fox country," and Wannashowatuckqut, also from Worcester County, meaning "at the fork of the river". Another theory states Woonsocket derives from "thunder mist," in reference to the largest waterfall on the Blackstone River, which lies at the center of the city. However, another theory proposes the city was named after Woonsocket Hill in neighboring North Smithfieldmarker. The term "thunder mist" is used by several local businesses, including Thundermist Health Center. . There is also a series of novellettes titled "Thundermist" (Thundermist 04167 and A Week Without Sunshine) by local author David Lafleche.

Woonsocket's fortunes expanded in the 19th century as Industrial Revolution took root in nearby Pawtucketmarker. With the Blackstone River providing ample water power, the region became a prime location for textile mills. Woonsocket was officially incorporated as a town in 1867 with the integration of three villages, and it was incorporated as city in 1888 following the integration of three additional industrial villages.

After the Great Depression, the local textile industry closed. The city's fortunes were revived in World War II, when it became a center of fabric manufacturing for the war effort. In the postwar years, the Woonsocket economy adjusted to a mix of manufacturing, retail, technology and financial services operations.

Beginning in 1977, Woonsocket became home to Autumnfest, an annual cultural festival that takes place on Columbus Day Weekend at World War II Veteran's Memorial State Park. It has become one of the city's most popular events.

Properties and districts in Woonsocket listed on National Register of Historic Places

Notable residents


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