The John H. Chafee Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor, designated by Congress in 1986, is composed of 25 cities and towns on 500 square miles of land in the watershed of the Blackstone River.
The watershed area extends from north of Worcester, Massachusetts south to Providence, Rhode Island. The 46-mile long Blackstone River, named an American Heritage River in 1998, is the focal point and main artery of the region.
Why is the Blackstone River Valley such a special place? The region is distinguished by outstanding resources: natural, cultural and historical. Beginning in the 18th century, the Blackstone Valley provided the setting for a remarkable transformation from farm to factory - a local story that became the model for a national phenomenon: the American Industrial Revolution. America's first textile mill could have been built along practically any river on the eastern seaboard. However, in 1790, the forces of capital, ingenuity, mechanical know-how and skilled labor came together at Pawtucket, Rhode Island where the Blackstone River provided the power that kicked off America's drive to industrialization at the Slater Mill.