The Blackstone Valley or Blackstone River Valley is a region of Massachusetts and Rhode Island. It was a major factor in the American Industrial Revolution. It makes up part of the Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor.
Region of Massachusetts
A view of the Blackstone River in the Blackstone Valley of Massachusetts
The Blackstone Valley in Massachusetts and Rhode Island
|Population centers||Worcester, Massachusetts, Providence, Rhode Island|
The Blackstone Valley has a varied economic base and is positioned to compete with the MetroWest region and the Greater Boston area for new economic development. A recent report commissioned by the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce provided evidence that the region has growth in the manufacturing, education, healthcare, and professional, scientific, and technical sectors. The valley is also accessible to highways and rail, cost competitive, and an educated workforce. Thirteen major colleges and universities are situated within thirty minutes of the Blackstone Valley, including Brown University, Bryant University, Johnson & Wales University, and Providence College in Rhode Island; along with Clark University, Assumption College, College of the Holy Cross, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and Worcester State University in Massachusetts.
The primary highway through the region is Worcester–Providence Turnpike, which follows Massachusetts Route 146 and Rhode Island Route 146. The route was gradually upgraded mostly to freeway conditions, though two short sections (near the border of Lincoln and North Smithfield in Rhode Island and in Sutton, Massachusetts) still have at-grade intersections. Improvements to this important transportation corridor have provided an economic boon to the region.
The Blackstone Valley Chamber of Commerce is the local chamber of commerce for Worcester county and many of the cities and towns in the Blackstone Valley. The chamber represents the business needs of over 450 businesses and thousands of employees in the area.
Membership in the Blackstone Valley Chamber of Commerce also includes membership in the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce.
In the Summer of 2012, the chamber teamed up with State Senator Michael Moore, the Central Massachusetts Center for Business and Enterprise (CMCBE), and the Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation (MGCC), and others, in an effort is to extend lines of credit to small businesses for expansion and to help hire new employees.
The Blackstone Canal was a waterway linking Worcester, Massachusetts, to Providence, Rhode Island and Narragansett Bay through the Blackstone Valley via a series of locks and canals between 1828 and 1848.
The canal is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
The John H. Chaffee Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor follows the Blackstone Valley from Worcester to Providence, Rhode Island. The corridor follows the course of the Industrial Revolution in America from its origin at the Slater Mill in Pawtucket, Rhode Island as it first spread north along the valley to Worcester, Massachusetts, and then to the rest of the nation.
The Blackstone Canal was a waterway linking Worcester, Massachusetts, to Providence, Rhode Island (and Narragansett Bay) through the Blackstone Valley via a series of locks and canals during the early 19th century.Blackstone River Greenway
The Blackstone River Greenway (formerly Bikeway) is a partially completed 48-mile (77 km) paved rail-with-trail defining the course of the East Coast Greenway through the Blackstone Valley from Worcester, Massachusetts to Providence, Rhode Island.
As of 2016, approximately 11.5 miles (18.5 km) of the trail has been completed in Rhode Island, connecting the communities of Woonsocket, Lincoln, Cumberland, and Manville. Some 2.5 miles (4.0 km) of completed trail in Massachusetts connect Worcester and Millbury, as well as 3.7 miles of trail connecting Uxbridge and Blackstone.
The path roughly parallels the right-of-way of the active Providence & Worcester Railroad and its predecessor, the Blackstone Canal, running alongside the Blackstone River. In some places, the bike path follows the old canal towpath, with the long-abandoned canal running along one side and the river on the other. Once finished, the greenway will be linked to the East Bay Bike Path, for an additional 14.5 miles (23.3 km) of trail to Bristol, Rhode Island. The Blackstone River Greenway is also a designated section of the East Coast Greenway, the 3,000-mile trail system connecting cities from Maine to Florida.Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor
The John H. Chafee Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor is a National Heritage Corridor dedicated to the history of the early American Industrial Revolution, including mill towns stretching across 24 cities and towns (400,000 acres (1,620 km²) in total) near the river's course in Worcester County, Massachusetts and Providence County, Rhode Island. It makes up a historical area in the Blackstone Valley and is named for the late US Senator from Rhode Island John Chafee. In 2014, the Blackstone River Valley National Historical Park was created out of a smaller portion of the National Heritage Corridor. Both units now exist as cooperative entities. The organization is headquartered at the building in Woonsocket Depot Square which is located at 1 Depot Square, Woonsocket, RI 02895.Blackstone Valley Regional Vocational Technical High School
Blackstone Valley Regional Vocational Technical High School, or BVT for short, is a technical high school in Upton, Massachusetts, serving the thirteen towns of the Blackstone Valley. The school offers eighteen technical programs that students can enroll in to learn more about that trade.Blackstone Valley Tribune
The Blackstone Valley Tribune is a weekly newspaper in the towns of Northbridge, Douglas, and Uxbridge, Massachusetts.Cumberland, Rhode Island
Cumberland is the northeasternmost town in Providence County, Rhode Island, United States, first settled in 1635 and incorporated in 1746. The population was 33,506 at the 2010 census.Ironstone, Massachusetts
Ironstone is an historic village, (today known mainly as South Uxbridge), in the township of Uxbridge, Massachusetts, United States. It derived its name from plentiful bog iron found here which helped Uxbridge to become a center for three iron forges in the town's earliest settlement. South Uxbridge has historic sites, picturesque weddings, hospitality, industrial and distribution centers, and the new Uxbridge High School. This community borders North Smithfield, and Burrillville, Rhode Island, and Millville, Massachusetts. South Uxbridge receives municipal services from Uxbridge, for fire, police, EMS, School district, public works, and other services. There is a South Uxbridge fire station of the Uxbridge fire department. Worcester's Judicial District includes Uxbridge District Court. Ironstone appears on the Blackstone U.S. Geological Survey Map. Worcester County is in the Eastern time zone (GMT -5) and observes DST.Lake Quinsigamond
Lake Quinsigamond (also Long Pond) is a body of water situated between the city of Worcester and the town of Shrewsbury in Worcester County, Massachusetts, United States. It is 4 miles (6 km) long, between 50 and 85 feet (15 and 26 m) deep, and has a surface area of approximately 772 acres (3.1 km²). Lake Quinsigamond hosts 8 islands with the majority owned by private citizens. Two islands are connected to land via bridge. The largest island, Drake Island, is still state owned. Water from the lake empties into the Quinsigamond River in the Blackstone Valley.Lincoln, Rhode Island
Lincoln is a town in Providence County, Rhode Island, United States. The population was 21,105 at the 2010 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.
Lincoln was settled in the 17th century as part of the Louisquisset grant, and several colonial stone-enders still exist in the town. Lincoln Woods State Park is located within the town.
Limestone quarrying has occurred there since colonial times at the village of Lime Rock. Lincoln was a part of the town of Smithfield until 1871, when it was split off and named in honor of Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln became an important mill town in the late 19th century, with many textile factories running along the Blackstone River. Lincoln's villages include Manville, Albion, Lime Rock, Lonsdale, Fairlawn, Quinnville, and Saylesville.
In 2008, the town was ranked #63 in Money Magazine's "Best Places to Live".Lincoln is in the lower Blackstone Valley of Rhode Island and in the John H. Chafee, Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor, New England's historic National Park area.Linwood, Massachusetts
Linwood is a village with its own post office in the towns of Northbridge and Uxbridge, Massachusetts.
The zip code of the Linwood post office is 01525. As a village of both Uxbridge and Northbridge, Linwood has separate municipal services from Uxbridge or Northbridge, for fire, police, EMS, School district, public works, and other services, depending on the town (township) boundary. Worcester County, Massachusetts Sheriff, Lewis Evangelidis runs corrections, and court services from West Boylston, and Worcester District is the regional judicial jurisdiction. The Uxbridge district court serves surrounding towns. Linwood is closest to the villages of Whitinsville, MA, and North Uxbridge. The village of Linwood was predominantly settled by French Canadians, who historically worked in the local textile industry. The Whitin Cotton Mills at Linwood were the principal industry and are a good example of the industrial architecture of the 19th century.List of museums in Massachusetts
This list of museums in Massachusetts is a list of museums, defined for this context as institutions (including nonprofit organizations, government entities, and private businesses) that collect and care for objects of cultural, artistic, scientific, or historical interest and make their collections or related exhibits available for public viewing. Museums that exist only in cyberspace (i.e., virtual museums) are not included. Also included are non-profit art and university art galleries.Moses Taft
Moses Taft 2nd (January 16, 1812 – April 2, 1893) was born at Uxbridge, Massachusetts. He was significant as an early American Industrialist and financier in the historic Blackstone Valley, and a member of the famous Taft family.Mumford River
The Mumford River is an 18.3-mile-long (29.5 km) river in south-central Massachusetts. It is a tributary of the Blackstone River.
The river rises from its headwaters in Sutton and Douglas at Manchaug Pond and flows east in a meandering path through a series of ponds (Manchaug, Stevens, Gilboa, Lackey, Whitins, just west of Whitinsville), and joins the Blackstone River in Uxbridge.
The river was named for a hunter, named Mumford, at Mendon, who drowned in this river in the 17th century. This occurred before the towns through which this river flows were formed from Mendon. These towns include Douglas, Sutton, Northbridge, and Uxbridge. Mendon was first settled in 1660. This river was a source of water power for a number of mills and factories in America's earliest industrialization, in the historic Blackstone Valley. The Whitin Machine Works grew up at Whitinsville on the Mumford River, and was once the largest manufacturer of textile machines in the world. The Linwood Mill and the Crown and Eagle Mill at North Uxbridge also grew up on the Mumford, as did the historic Capron Mill at Uxbridge, and the Winfield Shuster Mill in East Douglas.Nipmuc Regional High School
Nipmuc Regional High School is a public high school in Upton, Massachusetts, part of the Mendon-Upton Regional School District.
Nipmuc Regional High School is located on a fifty-acre wooded lot in Upton, Massachusetts, in the Blackstone Valley region of the state. It serves the towns of Mendon and Upton through a cooperative arrangement established in 1961. In addition to Nipmuc Regional, there are three other schools in the Mendon-Upton Regional School District: Miscoe Hill Middle School, Clough Elementary School (Mendon,) and Memorial Elementary School (Upton.) The year-round population of the two towns is respectively 5,876 and 7,640.Spiritual wifery
Spiritual wifery is a term first used in America by the Immortalists in and near the Blackstone Valley of Rhode Island and Massachusetts in the 1740s. The term describes the idea that certain people are divinely destined to meet and share their love (at differing points along the carnal-spiritual spectrum, depending on the particular religious movement involved) after a receiving a spiritual confirmation, and regardless of previous civil marital bonds. Its history in Europe among various Christian primitivistic movements has been well documented. The followers of Jacob Cochran as early as 1818 used "spiritual wifery" to describe their religious doctrine of free love. Often confused with polygamy, spiritual wifery among the Cochranites was the practice in which communal mates were temporarily assigned and reassigned, either by personal preference or religious authority.
The term was later introduced to the Latter Day Saint movement by John C. Bennett, who openly applied it to the doctrine of plural marriage. According to Helen Mar Whitney, "At the time [in Nauvoo] spiritual wife was the title by which every woman who entered into this order was called, for it was taught and practiced as a spiritual order." Bennett was soon excommunicated for such offenses.
William Smith, youngest brother of Joseph Smith and an Apostle of and briefly Patriarch to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, wrote a little-known pamphlet in late 1844, called The Elders' Pocket Companion, explaining his own views on the differences between "the Spiritual Wife System" and "plurality of wives". Smith explained that spiritual wifery was the practice of: (1) an Latter Day Saint woman standing as living proxy for her husband's previous civil wife (or wives) to be "sealed" to him for all eternity by the power of Latter Day Saint priesthood, and (2) unmarried Latter Day Saint women being sealed plurally to Latter Day Saint men during the "Millennium" (the post-apocalyptic thousand-year reign of Jesus on the earth). The "plurality of wives doctrine" however, Smith wrote, was simply biblical polygamy as practiced by the "ancient Prophets and Patriarchs". Citing the Book of Mormon, Smith ended his pamphlet emphasizing that the Book of Mormon, while generally proscribing biblical-type polygamy, does include the caveat, "For if I will, saith the Lord of Hosts, raise up a seed unto me, I WILL COMMAND MY PEOPLE" (emphasis is Smith's). Smith's theories however belied his actions, for he not only had some five civil wives (two of whom he was sealed to by the priesthood) but he was also sealed to some 17 other women, whom he generally referred to as "spiritual wives."The term complex marriage was later used by the Oneida Community in the 1840s to describe a free marriage practice similar to spiritual wifery.The Shoppes at Blackstone Valley
The Shoppes at Blackstone Valley is an open-air shopping mall in Millbury, Massachusetts on Route 146, 1-mile (1.6 km) south of exit 10A of the Massachusetts Turnpike. The Worcester Regional Transit Authority offers express service between the Worcester City Hall and the Shoppes on Bus Route #20.The mall features Barnes & Noble, Best Buy, Cinema de Lux, Dick's Sporting Goods, DSW, Kohl's, Marshalls/HomeGoods, Nordstrom Rack, and Target as anchors.Uxbridge, Massachusetts
Uxbridge is a town in Worcester County, Massachusetts first settled in 1662 and incorporated in 1727. It was originally part of the town of Mendon, and named for the Earl of Uxbridge. The town (population 14,137, 2017 estimate) is located 36 mi (58 km) southwest of Boston and 15 mi (24 km) south-southeast of Worcester, at the midpoint of the Blackstone Valley National Historic Park. Uxbridge was a prominent Textile center in the American Industrial Revolution. Two local Quakers served as national leaders in the American anti-slavery movement. Uxbridge "weaves a tapestry of early America".Indigenous Nipmuc people near "Wacentug" (river bend), deeded land to 17th-century settlers. Uxbridge reportedly granted rights to America's first colonial woman voter, Lydia Taft, and approved Massachusetts first women jurors. The first hospital for mental illness in America was reportedly established here. Deborah Sampson posed as an Uxbridge soldier, and fought in the American Revolution. A 140-year legacy of manufacturing military uniforms and clothing began with 1820 power looms. Uxbridge became famous for woolen cashmeres. "Uxbridge Blue", was the first US Air Force Dress Uniform. BJ's Wholesale Club distribution warehouse is a major employer today.West Hill Dam
West Hill Dam Reserve is a United States Army Corps of Engineers flood control project with a recreational park and wildlife management area located at Uxbridge, Massachusetts. The West Hill Dam Project was completed in 1960. It is located on the West River, one of the branches of the Blackstone River which flows from Worcester, MA to Providence, RI. The West River originates in Grafton, Massachusetts, at Cider Mill Pond and Silver Lake, near Upton, Massachusetts, and the Upton State Forest. The dam is unusual in that it isn't filled unless there is a flood.
West Hill Dam was built after devastating floods during the 1950s; it is intended to protect the Blackstone Valley from future destructive flooding. The cities and towns downriver from Uxbridge, including Millville, Blackstone, Woonsocket, North Smithfield, Cumberland, Lincoln, Central Falls, Pawtucket and Providence, Rhode Island, suffered extensive flooding from the Blackstone during Hurricane Diane in 1955. Hurricane Donna tested this new dam in 1960 as the eyewall passed over.
The West Hill Dam is located in the Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor near the Blackstone River and Canal Heritage State Park. Park rangers provide visitor assistance and offer scheduled interpretative programs. Fishing, hunting, and wildlife viewing opportunities are available year-round. The park has a recreation area, 34 picnic sites, one playground, a swimming area and five miles of hiking trails.
West Hill Dam (where the Army Corps project is based) is also the field office for the Charles River Natural Valley Storage Area. It consists of scattered wetlands in the upper and middle Charles River watershed, between the towns of Bellingham and Needham. The wetlands provide flood storage area, fisheries, wildlife management, and recreation. The Charles River is the well-known watercourse that flows into Boston Harbor.Wheelockville, Massachusetts
Wheelockville is a village in the town (township) of Uxbridge, Massachusetts, United States. Part of the village centering on Mendon and Henry streets is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as the Wheelockville Historic District. Wheelockville appears on the Blackstone U.S. Geological Survey Map. The Village receives municipal services from Uxbridge, for fire, police, EMS, School district, public works, and other services. Worcester's Judicial District includes Uxbridge District Court. The geography of Wheelockville includes several other distinct mill villages, including: Hecla and Elmdale.