The John H. Chafee Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor is . . .
Twenty four communities, some 400,000 acres and over 500,000 people.
But it’s much more than that. It is a distinctive region – a river valley- and a special type of National Park. It is a partnership park that stretches from the headwaters of the Blackstone River in Worcester, Massachusetts to the Narragansett Bay in Providence, Rhode Island.
It’s a kind of virtual park – a living landscape where its long and nationally pivotal history is still visible through thousands of structures in distinctive landscapes and accessible through the living memory of its residents.
The American Industrial Revolution began in the Blackstone River Valley. It changed the landscape of the Valley and transformed life in America. The Blackstone River provided the waterpower for the birth of industry in America with its 438-foot drop over a 46-mile length. Even today, the Valley retains its “wholeness” as a unique landscape with a concentration of historic, cultural and natural resources that represent 18th and 19th century industrial production in America.
Recognizing its national significance, Congress established the John H Chafee Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor Commission in 1986 to assist in protecting and celebrating the Birthplace of the American Industrial Revolution.
To find out more about the Corridor, how we work as a partnership park, what we look like, and where you might want to visit, you might start by asking “What’s a Corridor?”
Did You Know?
The top speed on the Blackstone Canal was 3 mph? The canal barges, pulled by a team of two horses, usually took two days to make the 44 mile journey from Providence, RI to Worcester, MA.