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Woonsocket (wōnsŏkˈĭt, wŏn–) [key], city (1990 pop. 43,877), Providence co., N R.I., on both sides of the Blackstone River; settled c.1666, set off from Cumberland 1867, inc. as a city 1888. The demise of the textile industry, which long shaped the city, hurt its economy, but it remains a manufacturing center. Worsted weaving and package dyeing are still carried on, and electronic equipment, plastics, and sporting goods are produced. Of interest are the river falls in the center of the city and the unusual potholes worn by swirling stones in the riverbed. Also in Woonsocket are a library in which Abraham Lincoln spoke (1860), the John Arnold House (1712), and the Woonsocket Company Mill (1830s), a complex of industrial buildings and worker housing.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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