Cranston, originally a part of Providence, was settled in 1638, by friends of Roger Williams known as the Pawtuxet Purchasers, among them William Arnold, the father of Benedict Arnold of Newport. In 1754, it separated from Providence and became a town. The City government was organized in 1910.
Today the City of Cranston is one of the major commercial and industrial areas of Rhode Island. The manufacture of jewelry, food, combined metals and machinery are the largest employers in the city.
Cranston is located in Providence County. Located southwest of Providence on Hwy 12, west of I-95 near the Pocasset river. Cranston is part of the Providence-Fall River-Warwick metro area.