Central Falls encompasses only 1.3 square miles and, with a population of 18,928, is the smallest and most densely populated city in Rhode Island. Its industrial roots go back to the 18th-century establishment of a chocolate mill. In the 19th century, the economy boomed through textile manufacturing.
A number of the city's historic mills and industrial buildings already have been converted to housing, and the city is currently working to redevelop a large mill complex as a mixed-use project.
When completed, Central Falls Landing will provide residences, offices, shopping, dining, and recreational river access. The river itself has been turned into an outdoor heritage classroom with seasonal tour boats, including a replica canal boat, departing from Central Falls.
Visitors can also learn about the community's heritage assets through a self-guided driving tour that highlights the story of the many immigrant groups that came to Central Falls. The community has two historic districts and several individual historic buildings and structures listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
Designated a Preserve America Community in June 2004.