Foster, Rhode Island

Foster is a town in Providence County, Rhode Island, in the United States. The population was 4,606 at the 2010 census.

Foster, Rhode Island
Location in Providence County and the state of Rhode Island.
Location in Providence County and the state of Rhode Island.
Coordinates: 41°47′49″N 71°43′38″W / 41.79694°N 71.72722°WCoordinates: 41°47′49″N 71°43′38″W / 41.79694°N 71.72722°W
CountryUnited States
StateRhode Island
 • TypeTown meeting
 • Town CouncilDenise L. DiFranco (R)
John L. Lewis, Jr. (D)
Roger L. Hawes (D)
Gordon E. Rogers (I)
Jon Restivo (D)
 • Town ModeratorRobert A. Boyden
 • Town ClerkJane Christopher
 • Total51.9 sq mi (134.3 km2)
 • Land51.1 sq mi (132.5 km2)
 • Water0.7 sq mi (1.9 km2)
525 ft (160 m)
 • Total4,606
 • Density90.1/sq mi (34.8/km2)
Time zoneUTC−5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC−4 (EDT)
ZIP Code
Area code(s)401
FIPS code44-27460[1]
GNIS feature ID1220072[2]
Solomon Drowne
Solomon Drowne, a prominent American physician, academic and surgeon during the American Revolution
Foster Rhode Island Town Building
Foster Town Building, c. 1796, the oldest government meeting house of its type in the United States where town meetings have been held continuously since 1801
Foster Town Pound Rhode Island
The Town Pound in Foster Center Historic District, c. 1845


Foster was originally settled in the 17th century by British colonists as a farming community. In the year 1662, William Vaughan, Zachariah Rhodes, and Robert Wescott, purchased of the Indians a large tract of land called West Quanaug, bordering on Providence. The 'West Quanaug purchase', consisted of nearly the whole southern half of the town of Foster. The first settler was allegedly Ezekiel Hopkins. Many settlers from Newport were active in the town in the 18th century. Shortly before the incorporation of the town, Foster's first church, a Calvinist Baptist congregation was founded. Shortly afterwards, Six Principle Baptist and Free Will Baptist congregations were founded.[3]

Foster was incorporated with Scituate, Rhode Island in 1730, forming the western section of that township, and remained part of Scituate until 1781, when it was split off as a distinct and separate township. Foster derived its name, from U.S. Senator Theodore Foster.[4] Mr. Foster presented the town with a library. Some of the library's original books and town records are still preserved. U.S. Senator Nelson Aldrich was born in Foster in 1841. Senator Aldrich was instrumental in starting the U.S. Federal Reserve Board.

In the 1920s the Ku Klux Klan was active in the area, and one of the largest Klan rallies in the state was held in Foster on the Old Home Day grounds in 1924 with 8,000 in attendance and U.S. Senator J. Thomas Heflin of Alabama speaking.[5]


According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 51.9 square miles (134 km2), of which, 51.1 square miles (132 km2) of it is land and 0.7 square miles (1.8 km2) of it (1.41%) is water. Foster contains Rhode Island's highest point, Jerimoth Hill, with an elevation of 248 m (812 ft).


Climate in this area has mild differences between highs and lows, and there is adequate rainfall year-round. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Foster has a Oceanic climate, abbreviated "Cfb" on climate maps.[6]


Historical population
Census Pop.
Est. 20154,698[8]2.0%
U.S. Decennial Census[9][10]

Foster's Capt. Isaac Paine Elementary School, has the top spot for reading proficiency according to the New England Common Assessment Program, or NECAP, exams. 82 percent of its students attained proficiency, the state leader in that testing category.

As of the census[1] of 2000, there were 4,274 people, 1,535 households, and 1,198 families residing in the town. The population density was 83.6 people per square mile (32.3/km²). There were 1,578 housing units at an average density of 30.9 per square mile (11.9/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 97.26% White, 0.21% African American, 0.23% Native American, 0.58% Asian, 0.09% Pacific Islander, 0.26% from other races, and 1.36% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.80% of the population. Foster's zip code, 02825, has a significantly larger population than the town of Foster. This is because the zip code extends into parts of the more populated town of Scituate, Rhode Island.

There were 1,535 households out of which 36.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 68.5% were married couples living together, 6.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 21.9% were non-families. 17.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.77 and the average family size was 3.14.

In the town, the population was spread out with 25.9% under the age of 18, 5.6% from 18 to 24, 29.1% from 25 to 44, 28.9% from 45 to 64, and 10.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females, there were 99.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 97.6 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $59,673, and the median income for a family was $63,657. Males had a median income of $39,808 versus $30,632 for females. The per capita income for the town was $22,148. About 1.5% of families and 3.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 2.9% of those under age 18 and 7.8% of those age 65 or over.

Arts and culture


Foster is home to the Foster Town House. Built in 1796 and in use to this day,[11] the Foster Town House is the oldest government meeting house of its type in the United States.[12] Foster also contains both of Rhode Island's only two covered bridges, known as the Swamp Meadow Covered Bridge (the other is located on Ponaganset High School's Cross Country Course). Built in 1994 by Jed Dixon, a Foster resident, it is a reproduction of an early-19th-century specimen. It is the only covered bridge in Rhode Island located on a public road.[13] Jerimoth Hill, the highest point of elevation in Rhode Island, is located in Foster.[14]

Parks and recreation

Foster is home to the most scenic part of the North-South Trail. Along the trail you can see the remnants of the Thomas O' Wagon Wheel Shop which was later converted to a shingle mill in 1919.

Notable people

Historic Places in Foster

See also

  • Flag of Rhode Island.svg Rhode Island portal


  1. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on September 11, 2013. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  2. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  3. ^ Albert J. Wright (1878). History of the State of Rhode Island with Illustrations. Philadelphia: Printer No. 79 Mille Street, corner of Federal, Boston. Hong, Wade & Co. pp. 133–135.
  4. ^ Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. Govt. Print. Off. p. 130.
  5. ^ Smith, Robert (April 26, 1999). "In the 1920s, the Klan ruled the countryside". The Providence Journal. Archived from the original on September 30, 2007. Retrieved May 14, 2007.
  6. ^ "Climate Summary for Foster, Rhode Island". Weatherbase. 2013. Retrieved September 22, 2013.
  7. ^ "Weatherbase: Historical Weather for Foster, Rhode Island". Weatherbase. 2011. Retrieved on November 24, 2011.
  8. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2015". Archived from the original on June 2, 2016. Retrieved July 2, 2016.
  9. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Archived from the original on April 26, 2015. Retrieved June 4, 2016.
  10. ^ Snow, Edwin M. (1867). Report upon the Census of Rhode Island 1865. Providence, RI: Providence Press Company.
  11. ^ "Town of Foster - Historical Preservation". Town of Foster. Archived from the original on April 7, 2014. Retrieved April 2, 2014.
  12. ^ "Rhode Island". Good Sam Camping. Retrieved April 2, 2014.
  13. ^ "Swamp Meadow Covered Bridge". Visit Rhode Island. Retrieved April 2, 2014.
  14. ^ "JERIMOTH HILL". Atlas Obscura. Retrieved April 2, 2014.
  15. ^ "ALDRICH, Nelson Wilmarth, (1841 - 1915)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved March 26, 2014.
  16. ^ "Theodore Foster Papers". Rhode Island Historical District. Retrieved April 2, 2014.

External links

Albert W. Hicks

Albert W. Hicks (c. 1820 – July 13, 1860), also known as Elias W. Hicks, William Johnson, John Hicks, and Pirate Hicks, was a triple murderer, and one of the last persons executed for piracy in the United States. Cultural historian Rich Cohen places him as the first New York City legendary gangster figure, a bridge between piracy of old and rise of a new 'gangster nation'.

Borders Farm

The Borders Farm is a historic farm district at 31-38 North Road in Foster, Rhode Island. It includes two adjacent farms, covering nearly 200 acres (81 ha) of land. The George Phillips Farm, located at 31 North Road, includes an 18th-century house and several outbuildings dating to the 19th and early 20th centuries, as well as the foundational remnants of several older structures. The Allen Hill Farm, whose late-18th century house is located at 41 North Road, includes a second house adjacent to the first, as well as a carriage shed, barn, and farm shed, all of 19th-century origin with some 20th-century alterations. Although the two farms were long in separate families, they were acquired by the Borders family and combined into a single operation in the mid-20th century.The district was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2009.

Breezy Hill Site (RI-957)

The Breezy Hill Site (RI-957) is a prehistoric archaeological site in Foster, Rhode Island. Finds at the site have been dated to 500-1000 AD, and included dentate stamped pottery fragments.The site was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1985.

Capt. George Dorrance House

The Captain George Dorrance House is an historic house at 2 Jencks Road in Foster, Rhode Island. It is located on the west side of the road, a short way south of its junctions with Plain Woods Road, not far from the Connecticut border. It is a 2-1/2 story wood frame structure, five bays wide, with a gable roof and a large central chimney. The main block was built c. 1720, and a leanto was added c. 1750. It is one of the best-preserved early 18th-century houses in the state.The house was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on March 16, 1972.

Clayville Historic District

Clayville Historic District is an 81-acre (33 ha) historic district in Foster and Scituate, Rhode Island. The district encompasses the heart of the village of Clayville, a small 19th-century mill village. It is centered on the junction of Plainfield Pike, Field Hill Road, and Victory Highway near the Clayville Mill pond, and is roughly bisected by the town line between Foster and Scituate. The mill pond is impounded by a c. 1847 dam, which powered mills whose ruins and waterways lie downstream. The village is mainly residential, with vernacular 19th-century construction predominating. Notable buildings include the Clayville Christian Union Church, built 1867-71 with Greek Revival styling, and the c. 1845 Clayville Schoolhouse.

The district was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1988.

Foster Center, Rhode Island

Foster Center is a village in the town of Foster, Rhode Island, United States. It was listed as a census-designated place (CDP) in 2010, with a population of 355. Historic elements of the village are included in the Foster Center Historic District, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The district features various colonial and Greek Revival houses as well as the still functioning town building from the late 18th century. The district was added to the National Register of Historic Places on May 11, 1974.

Hopkins Mill Historic District

The Hopkins Mill District is a historic district in Foster, Rhode Island. It encompasses a historic mill village that extends along Old Danielson Pike between its two junctions with Danielson Pike (United States Route 6). The area has been the site of mills (at first grist- and sawmills) since the 18th century, and includes one of Foster's oldest houses, the c. 1720 Hopkins-Potter House at 21 Old Danielson Pike. Prominent public buildings in the district include the c. 1830 Curtis Hall at 18 Danielson Pike, which was long used as a tavern and social gathering place, and the 1869-71 Hopkins Falls Union Church.The district was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1984, where it is misspelled "Nopkins".

Michael Chippendale

Michael W. Chippendale (born April 25, 1969 in Providence, Rhode Island) is an American politician and a Republican member of the Rhode Island House of Representatives representing District 40 since being elected in November 2010.

Chippendale currently serves on the House Committee on Labor, the House Committee on Corporations and the Permanent Joint Committee on Healthcare Oversight. Past committee assignments include the RI State Lottery Commission, Vice Chairman of House Oversight, Secretary of House Oversight, House Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, House Judiciary Committee and the House Rules Committee.

Moosup Valley Historic District

The Moosup Valley Historic District is a rural, agricultural historic district in western Foster, Rhode Island. The focal center of the area is a small village where Moosup Valley Road crosses the Moosup River, and where the Moosup Valley Christian Church is located. The largest concentration of buildings in the district lie along a roughly one-mile stretch of Moosup Valley Road west of Rhode Island Route 14, with properties extending along some of the winding roads (paved and unpaved) that extend from that road. The district encompasses most of the headwaters of the Moosup River. The major public buildings are the church, a vernacular Greek Revival structure built in 1864-65, and the Grange hall, built in 1926. There is also a one-room schoolhouse which was built in 1811, and later used as a library and community center.The district was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1988.

Mount Hygeia

Mt. Hygeia (also known as the "Solomon Drown House") is an historic farm property at 83 Mt. Hygeia Road in Foster, Rhode Island.

Mount Vernon Tavern

The Mount Vernon Tavern, also known as the Bank House Tavern, is an historic house in Foster, Rhode Island. It is located at 199 Plainfield Pike (Rhode Island Route 14), about 3/10 of a mile east of its junction with Howard Hill Road. The main block of the house, a 2-1/2 story wood frame structure with gable roof, was built c. 1760, and was originally attached to an even older structure which was demolished in the late 19th century. This main block, five bays wide with a central chimney, is attached to a 1-1/2 story gable-roofed ell to the west. The main entrance portico features unusually elaborate Federal styling for a rural location, and was probably added in 1814. The house has long been a landmark on the road, serving as a stagecoach stop on what was the main road between Providence and points in Connecticut.The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.

National Register of Historic Places listings in Foster, Rhode Island

This is a list of Registered Historic Places in Foster, Rhode Island.

This National Park Service list is complete through NPS recent listings posted July 12, 2019.

Nelson W. Aldrich

Nelson Wilmarth Aldrich (; November 6, 1841 – April 16, 1915) was a prominent American politician and a leader of the Republican Party in the United States Senate, where he served from 1881 to 1911. By the 1890s he was one of the "Big Four" key Republicans who largely controlled the major decisions of the Senate, along with Orville H. Platt, William B. Allison and John Coit Spooner. Because of his impact on national politics and central position on the pivotal Senate Finance Committee, he was referred to by the press and public alike as the "General Manager of the Nation", dominating tariff and monetary policy in the first decade of the 20th century.

Born in Foster, Rhode Island, Aldrich served in the Union Army during the American Civil War. After the war, he became a partner in a large wholesale grocery firm and won election to the Rhode Island House of Representatives. He served a single term in the United States House of Representatives before winning election to the Senate. In the Senate, he helped to create an extensive system of tariffs that protected American factories and farms from foreign competition, and he was a cosponsor of the Payne–Aldrich Tariff Act. He also helped win Senate approval of the 1898 Treaty of Paris, which ended the Spanish–American War.

Aldrich led the passage of the Aldrich–Vreeland Act, which established the National Monetary Commission to study the causes of the Panic of 1907. He served as chair of that commission, which drew up the Aldrich Plan as a basis for a reform of the financial regulatory system. The Aldrich Plan strongly influenced the Federal Reserve Act of 1913, which established the Federal Reserve System. Aldrich also sponsored the Sixteenth Amendment, which allowed for a direct federal income tax.

Deeply committed to the efficiency model of the Progressive Era, he believed that his financial and trade policies would lead to greater efficiency. Reformers, however, denounced him as representative of the evils of big business. His daughter Abigail married into the Rockefeller family, and his descendants, including namesake Nelson A. Rockefeller, became powerful figures in American politics and banking.

Ponaganset High School

Ponaganset High School is a school of the Foster-Glocester School District, located in North Scituate, Rhode Island (in Providence County). The majority of high school students live in the rural towns of Foster, Rhode Island and Glocester, Rhode Island. This is a public high school, known for its music program, AP and honors classes, as well as its CTE approved pathways; Plant Systems, Animal Systems, Materials and Manufacturing, Pre-Engineering, Music Technology, Music Performance, and Pending Programs: Computer Science and Information Technology, and Biomedical. The school's athletic teams are known as the "Chieftains," and the FIRST FRC Team is known as "5112, The Gongoliers." The principal is Renee Palazzo.

Ray Buker

Raymond "Ray" Bates Buker, Sr. (August 27, 1899 – June 3, 1992) was an American track and field athlete who competed in the 1924 Summer Olympics.

He was born in Foster, Rhode Island and died in Boca Raton, Florida.

In the 1924 Olympics he finished fifth in the 1500 metres competition.

Rhode Island Route 101

Route 101 is a numbered state highway running 9.7 miles (15.6 km) in Rhode Island. It begins at the Connecticut state line in the town of Foster and ends at U.S. Route 6 in the town of Scituate.

Rhode Island Route 94

Route 94 is a numbered state highway running 12.7 miles (20.4 km) in Rhode Island.

Theodore Foster

Theodore Foster (April 29, 1752 – January 13, 1828) was an American lawyer and politician from Rhode Island. He was a member of the Federalist Party and later the National Republican Party. He served as one of the first two United States Senators from Rhode Island and, following John Langdon, served as dean of the Senate.

William S. Hayward

William S. Hayward (February 26, 1835 – November 5, 1900) was an American banker, baker, and politician who served as mayor of Providence, Rhode Island from 1881 until 1884.

Climate data for Foster, Rhode Island
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 67
Average high °F (°C) 34
Daily mean °F (°C) 25.7
Average low °F (°C) 17
Record low °F (°C) −13
Average precipitation inches (mm) 4.28
Average precipitation days 12 10 12 11 13 12 11 10 10 11 11 12 135
Mean daily sunshine hours 10.1 11.1 12.5 13.9 15.1 15.7 15.4 14.3 12.9 11.5 10.3 9.7 12.7
Source: Weatherbase [7]
Municipalities and communities of Providence County, Rhode Island, United States


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