Cranston Through Time, by Sandra Moyer and Janet Cullen Ragno
In 1638, the first settlers of the land that is now Cranston, Rhode Island, left Roger Williams’ settlement in Providence and traveled south to make their new homes along the Pawtuxet River. The river and their village were named after the Indian word for “little falls.” The placement of the settlement was well planned. Besides providing a means of transportation, the river was a source of water for their animals and crops. The river emptied into a bay filled with fish and shellfish, providing them with additional food. In time, the Pawtuxet Falls was used to power their grist and textile mills. Several bridges have been built over the river and the newest structure is now part of the busy main street of this quaint village. As more settlers came into the area, other villages were established. Cranston became a town in 1754, although many inhabitants still identified more closely with their village. Years later, Cranston remains divided into distinctive communities, each with its own character and history, but they all add up to make Cranston a special city.