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Cato Hill Historic District

Cato Hill Historic District Sitting on a hill above Main Street, Cato Hill is mid-nineteenth century working class neighborhood that has retained its period character. Cato Street was originally laid out by Cato Willard, a black whose wife had inherited property here. After his death in the 1840's, his wife Lydia laid out additional plots along Cato and Church Street.

The area's earliest houses are simple, gable-roofed structures with bare, Greek Revival trim. The neighborhood grew in an informal fashion from the 1840's through the 1890's as individual property owners erected houses for themselves. It has a very different feel from the neighborhoods of company-built homes that were constructed by the large mill companies during the same period. The large tenements in the area were built in the 1890's.

Cato Hill is typical of the working class neighborhoods where the great majority of Woonsocket's population lived in the mid-nineteenth century. It was home to successive waves of immigrants including Irish, French Canadian and Ukrainian mill workers.

This page utilizes information from:

  • Statewide Historic Preservation Report for Woonsocket, Rhode Island published by the Rhode Island Historic Preservation Commission in September, 1976.
For Woonsocket residents, this book is available at the Woonsocket Harris Public Library.


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