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.[3]

Cumberland, Rhode Island
Cumberland Town Hall
Cumberland Town Hall
Great History. Bright Future
Location in Providence County and the state of Rhode Island.
Location in Providence County and the state of Rhode Island.
CountryUnited States
StateRhode Island
 • MayorJeff Mutter (D)
 • Town CouncilLisa Beaulieu (D)(Dist 3)
Peter J. Bradley (D)(At Large)
E. Craig Dwyer (D)(Dist 2)
Stephanie Gemski (D)(Dist 1)
Mike Kinch (D)(At Large)
Scott R. Schmitt (R)(Dist 4)
Robert G. Shaw, Jr. (D)(Dist 5)
 • School CommitteePaul DiModica, Chair
Karen Freedman, Vice Chair
Jennifer Bernardo, Clerk
Mark Fiorillo
Steve Hess
Raymond Salvatore
Heidi Waters
 • Total28.3 sq mi (73.2 km2)
 • Land26.4 sq mi (68.5 km2)
 • Water1.8 sq mi (4.7 km2)
 • Total33,512
 • Density1,200/sq mi (460/km2)
ZIP code
Area code(s)401
FIPS code44-20080[1]
GNIS feature ID1220068[2]


Cumberland was originally settled as part of Wrentham, Massachusetts, which was purchased from the local Indigenous Americans by the Plymouth Colony. It was later transferred to Rhode Island as part of a long-running boundary dispute. The town was named in honor of Prince William, Duke of Cumberland.[2]

William Blackstone (also spelled William Blaxton in colonial times) was the first European to settle and live in Cumberland. (He was also the first European to have settled in Boston, but left when he and the newly arrived Puritans disagreed about religion.) He preached his brand of tolerant Christianity under an oak tree that became an inspiration to Christians worldwide.[4] He lived on a farm in the Lonsdale area of Cumberland, where he cultivated the first variety of American apples, the Yellow Sweeting. The site of his home is now occupied by the Ann & Hope mill.

The popular tourist destination "Nine Men's Misery" is a tomb found on the grounds of a former Trappist monastery (Abbey of Our Lady of the Valley), part of which was destroyed in a fire in 1950. The Trappists sold the monastery and grounds to the town and part of the building was converted into the Edward J. Hayden Library, aka Cumberland Public Library in 1976. This combined three smaller libraries into one.

Cumberland was the site of iron works that made cannons and cannonballs for the French and Indian War and the American Revolution. Additionally, Cumberland (along with the neighboring towns of Central Falls, RI, Lincoln, RI, and Attleboro, Massachusetts) was the home of the Valley Falls Company, which is the original antecedent of Berkshire Hathaway, now one of the world's largest and most successful companies.

A machine shop in Cumberland made the first power looms for woolens in America.[5] These were reportedly used at the Capron Mill in Uxbridge, around 1820,[5] that burned in a fire in 2007.

Cumberland is home to the headquarters and original location of the Ann & Hope chain of discount stores which claims to be the first chain of discount department stores in America and was founded in 1955.

Cumberland 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.

Aaron Fricke was denied a request to bring a same-sex date to a school prom at Cumberland High School 1979. In an early legal victory for LGBT rights, a federal court held that such a denial violated the student's free speech rights, in Fricke v. Lynch.

In the summer of 2014,[6] the Cumberland American Little League baseball team, led by coach David Belisle, won the New England Regional Little League Baseball Championship and went on to play in the Little League World Series.


Ashton viaduct Blackstone River
Ashton Viaduct, Ashton Village

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 28.3 square miles (73.2 km2), of which 26.4 square miles (68.5 km2) is land and 1.8 square miles (4.7 km2), or 6.40%, is water.[7]

Cumberland is the easternmost town along the state's northern border with Massachusetts, making it the state's de facto northeasternmost town. Cumberland borders the Rhode Island cities of Woonsocket to the northwest and Central Falls, to the south and the town of Lincoln to the west as well as the Massachusetts towns of Wrentham to the north, Plainville and North Attleborough to the east and city of Attleboro to the southeast.

The Rhode Island state rock Cumberlandite is a rare iron-rich mineral unique to the region. The only large deposit of the mineral in the world is found off Elder Ballou Meeting House Road in northern Cumberland. Though the ore was used to make cannons during the colonial era, the resulting casts were of poor quality and prone to cracking. A major geologic feature of the area is Diamond Hill, a massive outcropping of white quartz. The hill once was host to two small ski areas and is now a town park.


Historical population
Census Pop.
Est. 201534,529[8]3.1%
U.S. Decennial Census[9][10]

As of the census of 2010, there were 33,506 people, 13,143 households, and 9,232 families residing in the town. The population density was 1,269 people per square mile (489.1/km²). There were 13,791 housing units at an average density of 522.4 per square mile (201.3/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 92.8% White, 1.5% African American, 0.3% Indigenous American, 2.3% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 1.4% from some other race, and 1.7% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.5% of the population.[3]

There were 13,143 households out of which 23.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.8% were headed by married couples living together, 9.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.8% were non-families. 24.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.6% were someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.53 and the average family size was 3.04.[3]

In the town, the population was spread out with 22.5% under the age of 18, 6.5% from 18 to 24, 24.9% from 25 to 44, 30.2% from 45 to 64, and 15.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42.5 years. For every 100 females, there were 93.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.0 males.[3]

At the 2000 census, the median income for a household in the town was $72,242, and the median income for a family was $84,038. Males had a median income of $41,073 versus $29,188 for females. The per capita income for the town was $32,378. About 2.9% of families and 3.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 3.1% of those under age 18 and 7.7% of those age 65 or over. However, due to the recent recession, the percentage of the population below or near the poverty line has increased dramatically.


Cumberland town vote
by party in presidential elections
Year GOP DEM Others
2016 43.19% 7,444 50.21% 8,655 6.60% 1,138
2012 42.61% 7,106 55.71% 9,291 1.67% 279
2008 41.00% 6,941 57.33% 9,707 1.67% 283
2004 43.23% 6,874 55.04% 8,753 1.73% 275
2000 35.28% 5,129 58.61% 8,521 6.11% 888
1996 28.77% 3,950 57.70% 7,923 13.53% 1,858
1992 31.74% 4,869 41.75% 6,406 26.51% 4,067
1988 47.68% 6,281 52.03% 6,854 0.29% 38

In the Rhode Island Senate, Cumberland is split in its representation between the 19th District, represented by Democrat Ryan W. Pearson, and the 20th District, represented by Democrat Roger A. Picard. At the federal level, Cumberland is a part of Rhode Island's 1st congressional district, currently represented by Democrat David N. Cicilline.

In presidential elections, Cumberland is reliably Democratic as no Republican presidential nominee has carried the town in over three decades.


The school system is led by its seven-member School Committee that is elected to serve for two years and includes a Chairperson, Vice-chairperson and Clerk. The School Committee hires a Superintendent of Schools to administer policies and to manage and lead learning in the district. The Cumberland Superintendent of Schools (in chronological order) are Mr. Robert Condon, Dr. Robert McGinnis, Mr. Rodney McFarlin, Dr. Robert Patterson, Mr. Robert Wallace (1993–1996), Mr. Joseph Nasif (1996–2005), Dr. Donna Morelle (2005–2011), Dr. Phil Thornton (2011–2015), and Mr. Robert Mitchell (2015–present).

Blackstone Valley Prep High School, Valley Falls, Rhode Island
Blackstone Valley Prep High School

Cumberland is home to a public charter school, the first Rhode Island Mayoral Academy, Blackstone Valley Prep (originally Democracy Prep Blackstone Valley). The school opened in the fall of 2009 with Kindergarten.

The Blackstone Valley Prep High School, a $10 million mayoral charter school, opened in 2017 on the site of a former lumber center in Valley Falls.[12]

The one non-public school in Cumberland, Mercymount Country Day School, is run by the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, a Roman Catholic order which has its New England regional headquarters in Cumberland.

Culture and traditions

Cumberland is home to the Arnold Mills Fourth of July Parade and 4 Mile Road Race, which is held each year to celebrate (Fourth of July). The first recorded Arnold Mills Parade was held on July 4, 1927.[13]

Cumberland Farms, a large convenience store chain, takes its name from the original dairy farm business in Cumberland, Rhode Island.[14]

A popular event, Cumberlandfest, is held each year on the second weekend of August at Diamond Hill Park on Diamond Hill Road. This event features a carnival, with rides and venues, as well as live entertainment and a small fireworks show. Proceeds go to the town's athletic programs.

The Blackstone River Theatre at 549 Broad Street hosts a wide variety of cultural events mostly in the form of intimate concerts encompassing the prevailing traditional cultures of the people who settled the Blackstone Valley. The Blackstone River Theatre sponsors the annual Summer Solstice Festival at Diamond Hill State Park in Cumberland.

Historic Metcalf-Franklin Farm on Abbott Run Valley Road was the last working dairy farm in Cumberland. Open historic fields, exposed farmers walls and a traditional "cow" pond are open for exploration. The 1810s barn and 1850s house are in the process of historical preservation.

Notable people

National Registered Historic Places


  1. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on September 11, 2013. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  2. ^ a b "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. October 25, 2007. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  3. ^ a b c d "Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (DP-1): Cumberland town, Providence County, Rhode Island". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Archived from the original on September 11, 2013. Retrieved October 10, 2012.
  4. ^ Keenan, Kevin (July 23, 2000). ""Namesake preserves memory of William Blackstone"". Worcester Telegram & Gazette. Archived from the original on February 9, 2005. Retrieved May 12, 2008.
  5. ^ a b "MHC Reconnaissance Survey Town Report: Uxbridge; Report Date: 1984, Associated Regional Report: Central Massachusetts;" (PDF). Massachusetts Historical Commission. 1984. Archived from the original (PDF) on December 2, 2007. Retrieved November 20, 2007.
  6. ^ "Cumberland American Little League wins the 2014 New England Region Championship, Advancing to the Little League Baseball® World Series". Little League Baseball. August 10, 2014. Retrieved September 24, 2017.
  7. ^ "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (G001): Cumberland town, Providence County, Rhode Island". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Archived from the original on September 11, 2013. Retrieved October 10, 2012.
  8. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2015". Archived from the original on July 14, 2016. Retrieved July 2, 2016.
  9. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on May 12, 2015. Retrieved June 4, 2016.
  10. ^ Snow, Edwin M. (1867). Report upon the Census of Rhode Island 1865. Providence, RI: Providence Press Company.
  11. ^
  12. ^ Borg, Linda (14 November 2016). "Blackstone Valley Prep breaks ground on new Cumberland high school". The Providence Journal. Retrieved 29 April 2018.
  13. ^ "History of the Parade". Arnold Mills Parade Association. Retrieved September 24, 2017.
  14. ^ "Ari Haseotes, Chief Executive Officer". Cumberland Farms. Retrieved March 17, 2018.

External links

Coordinates: 41°58′00″N 71°25′58″W / 41.96667°N 71.43278°W

Abbott Run

Abbott Run is a de facto river in the U.S. state of Massachusetts and Rhode Island. It flows approximately 10 miles (16 km).

Ashton Historic District (Cumberland, Rhode Island)

The Ashton Historic District is a historic district in Cumberland, Rhode Island. The district consists of a mill and an adjacent mill village that was built for the workers of the mill. It lies between Mendon Road, Scott Road, Angell Road, Store Hill Road, Front Street and Middle Street. The district was added to the National Register of Historic Places on November 1, 1984.

In 1867, in a program of further expansion, the Lonsdale Company erected a large, three and-one-half-story, mansard-roof brick mill at Ashton on the east side of the Blackstone River north of Lonsdale. It was later enlarged to four full stories with a flat roof.A compact group of associated brick row houses and other buildings, including a handsome mansard-roofed office, also were built. This mill played a major role in 19th-century textile technology and was the site of the first large-scale test of the high-speed Sawyer spindle, one of the earliest of its type developed in the United States. The mill houses here are noteworthy for their simple form and dense arrangement. The village is tucked into a narrow, low flood plain site at the bottom of a bluff carrying Mendon Road (Rhode Island Route 122) in this section.

Bobby Farrelly

Robert Farrelly (born June 17, 1958) is an American film director, screenwriter and producer. He is one of the Farrelly brothers, alongside his brother Peter, and together are known directing and producing quirky, slightly offensive comedy films such as Dumb and Dumber, Shallow Hal, Me, Myself and Irene, There's Something About Mary, and the 2007 remake of The Heartbreak Kid.

Cumberland High School (Rhode Island)

Cumberland High School is a public school located in Cumberland, Rhode Island. In its current location since 1962, the school serves approximately 1,500 students.

Cumberland Hill, Rhode Island

Cumberland Hill is a census-designated place (CDP) in the town of Cumberland, in Providence County, Rhode Island, United States. The population was 7,934 at the 2010 census.

Daniel McKee

Daniel J. McKee (born June 16, 1951) is the 69th and current Lieutenant Governor of Rhode Island, since 2015. Prior to his election, he served as mayor of Cumberland, Rhode Island.

Diamond Hill Reservoir

Diamond Hill Reservoir (also known as the Pawtucket Upper Reservoir) is a reservoir in Cumberland, Providence County, Rhode Island near Diamond Hill.

The earthen Diamond Hill Reservoir Dam was constructed in 1971 with a height of 80 feet, and a length of 2000 feet at its crest. It impounds the Abbott Run waterway for municipal drinking water. Both dam and reservoir are owned and operated by the city of Pawtucket's Water Supply Board.

The reservoir it creates has a normal surface area of 390 acres, a maximum capacity of 15,680 acre-feet, and a normal storage of 11,000 acre-feet. Immediately adjacent to the south is the Arnold Mills Reservoir.

Farrelly brothers

Peter Farrelly and Bobby Farrelly, collectively referred to as the Farrelly brothers, are American screenwriters and directors. They have made eleven films, including Dumb and Dumber, Kingpin, Hall Pass, Me, Myself & Irene, Shallow Hal, Stuck on You, Osmosis Jones, There's Something About Mary, Fever Pitch (also known as The Perfect Catch outside America), the 2007 remake of The Heartbreak Kid, The Three Stooges, and Dumb and Dumber To.

James McLaughlin (politician)

James N. McLaughlin (born November 6, 1943) is an American politician and a Democratic member of the Rhode Island House of Representatives representing District 57 since January 2011.

Mia Ackerman

Mia A. Ackerman (born March 28, 1965) is an American politician and a Democratic member of the Rhode Island House of Representatives representing District 45 since January 1, 2013.

Millers River (Rhode Island)

The Millers River is a river in the eastern section of the U.S. state of Rhode Island. It flows approximately 3 km (2 mi). There are no dams along the river's length.

Miscoe Lake

Miscoe Lake is a reservoir in Cumberland, Providence County, Rhode Island. It is about 0.8 miles (1.3 km) long and the northern tip of the lake lies in Wrentham, Norfolk County, Massachusetts. At normal levels it has a surface area of 49 acres (20 ha). It has also been known as Grants Mills Pond and Miso Meadow Pond.Much of the lake is surrounded by private property and can only be accessed by residents.

The lake is home to many wildlife species, including beavers, swans, herons, cormorants, turtles, and is a temporary habitat for Canada geese.

Located at the southern part of the lake is historical Grant's Mill. It resides on Miscoe Lake Dam, also known as Grants Mill Pond Dam, which was built in 1937. The dam's height is 14 feet (4.3 m) with a length of 75 feet (23 m), and maximum discharge is 70 cubic feet (2.0 m3) per second. Its capacity is 244 acre feet with normal storage of 226 acre feet. The dam drains an area of 3 square miles (7.8 km2).

National Register of Historic Places listings in Cumberland, Rhode Island

This is a list of Registered Historic Places in Cumberland, Rhode Island.

This National Park Service list is complete through NPS recent listings posted June 14, 2019.

Peter Farrelly

Peter John Farrelly (born December 17, 1956) is an American film director, screenwriter, producer and novelist. Along with his brother Bobby, the Farrelly brothers are mostly famous for directing and producing quirky comedy and romantic comedy films such as Dumb and Dumber; Shallow Hal; Me, Myself and Irene; There's Something About Mary; and the 2007 remake of The Heartbreak Kid. On his own in 2018 Farrelly co-wrote and directed the comedy-drama Green Book, which won the Audience Award at the Toronto Film Festival in 2018. For his work on the film he won the Golden Globe Award for Best Screenplay and earned the Academy Award for Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay.

Richard Jenkins

Richard Dale Jenkins (born May 4, 1947) is an American actor. Jenkins began his acting career in theater at the Trinity Repertory Company and later made his film debut in 1974. He has worked steadily in film and television since the 1980s, mostly in supporting roles. His first major role did not come until the early 2000s, when he portrayed the deceased patriarch Nathaniel Fisher on the HBO funeral drama series Six Feet Under (2001–2005). He is also known for his roles in the films Burn After Reading (2008), Step Brothers (2008), Let Me In (2010), and Jack Reacher (2012).

Jenkins was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor for the drama film The Visitor (2007). He won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie for the limited drama series Olive Kitteridge (2014). For his performance in the fantasy drama film The Shape of Water (2017), Jenkins received Academy Award, Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Award nominations for Best Supporting Actor.

Ryan W. Pearson

Ryan W. Pearson (born June 30, 1988) is an American businessman and politician from Cumberland, Rhode Island. A Democrat, he serves in the Rhode Island Senate, representing the 19th district. He took office on January 1, 2013 and was named Senior Deputy Majority Leader on January 16, 2018.

St. Joseph's Church Complex (Cumberland, Rhode Island)

St. Joseph's Church Complex is an historic Roman Catholic church complex at 1303 Mendon Road in Cumberland, Rhode Island within the Diocese of Providence. It includes a Gothic Revival style church along with two late 19th-century, clapboard-sheathed, wood-frame structures on the east side of Mendon Road.

Tim White (wrestling)

Timothy Rhys White (born March 25, 1954) is an American former professional wrestling referee. He worked with World Wrestling Entertainment as a producer on the SmackDown! brand. During the 1980s and 1990s, White worked as André the Giant's assistant in addition to his referee duties.

Valley Falls, Rhode Island

Valley Falls is a village and census-designated place (CDP) in the town of Cumberland, Providence County, Rhode Island, United States. The population was 11,547 at the 2010 census.Warren Buffett's company Berkshire Hathaway was founded in 1839 by Oliver Chace in Valley Falls as a cotton manufacturing company, called the Valley Falls Company. Valley Falls is also the home of the Ann & Hope Mill.

Places adjacent to Cumberland, Rhode Island
Municipalities and communities of Providence County, Rhode Island, United States
Major cities
Cities and towns
Cities and towns
Cities and towns

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