Greek Revival houses probably designed for the upper levels of the working class, skilled artisans, or small entrepreneurs densely line these narrow streets. This enclave was laid out by an African American, Cato Willard, and his wife, Lydia Brayton Willard, beginning in 1834. Despite the development of the central city around it, Cato Hill still remains a residential enclave, no doubt in part because of the topography, more recently because of an active preservation program. No house deserves special mention; the significance is the ensemble and the resurrection of such a charming community enclave at the very heart of the city. From the site.

Sitting on a hill above Main Street, Cato Hill is mid-nineteenth century working class neighborhood that has retained its period character. Cato Street was originally laid out by Cato Willard, a black whose wife had inherited property here. After his death in the 1840’s, his wife Lydia laid out additional plots along Cato and Church Street.

The area’s earliest houses are simple, gable-roofed structures with bare, Greek Revival trim. The neighborhood grew in an informal fashion from the 1840’s through the 1890’s as individual property owners erected houses for themselves. It has a very different feel from the neighborhoods of company-built homes that were constructed by the large mill companies during the same period. The large tenements in the area were built in the 1890’s.

Cato Hill is typical of the working class neighborhoods where the great majority of Woonsocket’s population lived in the mid-nineteenth century. It was home to successive waves of immigrants including Irish, French Canadian and Ukrainian mill workers. From Woonsocket.org

See also the page for Cato Willard on Find a Grave. It includes links to pages for his wife and children.

Cato Street, Woonsocket.