East Providence , city , Providence county, eastern Rhode Island , ., on the eastern side of the Seekonk and Providence rivers, opposite Providence city. The site was long occupied by Wampanoag Indians before Roger Williams , the founder of Rhode Island colony, established himself there in 1636; he left at the request of Plymouth colony. About 1644 it was settled by a company from Weymouth as part of the Massachusetts town (township) of Rehoboth. In 1812 the western part of Rehoboth was set off as the township of Seekonk. It was subsequently decided that western Seekonk belonged to Rhode Island, and that part was incorporated as the township of East Providence in 1862. City status was attained in 1958. Although it is primarily residential, the city has industries, notably jewelry making and the manufacture of machinery. Pop. (2000) 48,688; (2010) 47,037.
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Educational institutions include Brown University (founded in 1764 in Warren as Rhode Island College, moved to Providence in 1770, and renamed in 1804 for Nicholas Brown, its principal benefactor), Johnson and Wales University (1914), the Rhode Island School of Design (1877), Rhode Island College (established in 1854 as Rhode Island State Normal School), and Providence College (1917, Roman Catholic). The Museum of Art of the Rhode Island School of Design has collections of American decorative arts and European paintings. The Providence Athenaeum (1838) houses a collection (established 1753) of old books and paintings. The State House (1895–1900), built of white Georgia marble, has a dome measuring 50 feet (15 metres) in diameter. The city has two cathedrals, SS. Peter and Paul (1874–89, Roman Catholic) and St. John (1810, Episcopal).