Scituate, Rhode Island

Scituate (/ˈsɪtʃueɪt, -ɪt/ (listen))[3] is a town in Providence County, Rhode Island, United States. The population was 10,329 at the 2010 census.

Scituate, Rhode Island
Official seal of Scituate, 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′N 71°37′W / 41.783°N 71.617°WCoordinates: 41°47′N 71°37′W / 41.783°N 71.617°W
CountryUnited States
StateRhode Island
 • TypeTown commission
 • Town CouncilBrenda L. Frederickson (R)
David A. D'Agostino (R)
Charles A. Collins, Jr. (R)
James Brady Jr. (R)
Abbie Groves (R)
Gary Grande (R)
Tim McCormick (R)
 • Total54.8 sq mi (141.9 km2)
 • Land48.7 sq mi (126.1 km2)
 • Water6.1 sq mi (15.8 km2)
440 ft (134 m)
 • Total10,329
 • Density212.1/sq mi (81.9/km2)
Time zoneUTC−5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC−4 (EDT)
ZIP Codes
02815 (Clayville), 02823 (Fiskeville), 02825 (Foster), 02831 (Hope), 02857 (North Scituate)
Area code(s)401
FIPS code44-64220[1]
GNIS feature ID1220077[2]
WebsiteTown of Scituate


Scituate was first settled in 1710 by emigrants from Scituate, Massachusetts. The original spelling of the town's name was "Satuit", a native Indian word meaning "cold brook" or "cold river." The town was a part of Providence until 1731.

Scituate's first town meeting was held at the Angell Tavern in South Scituate, with Stephen Hopkins elected as the first moderator and Joseph Brown as clerk. Stephen Hopkins later became a governor of Rhode Island and was a signer of the Declaration of Independence. His brother, Esek Hopkins, was Commander in Chief of the Continental Navy beginning in 1776. In 1788 Scituate representative, militia general and Supreme Court Justice William West led an armed anti-federalist mob of farmers into Providence to protest the U.S. Constitution.[4] In 1791 the U.S. Supreme Court decided its first case, West v. Barnes, regarding a farm in Scituate.

Scituate was once made up of a multitude of small villages, including North Scituate, Hope, Ashland, Clayville, Elmdale, Fiskeville, Glenn Rock, Harrisdale, Jackson, Kent, Ponaganset, Potterville, Richmond, Rockland, Saundersville, and South Scituate. Foster was incorporated as a separate town in 1781, taking the western half of Scituate.

In 1915, the Rhode Island General Assembly voted to take 14,800 acres (60 km2) of land in Scituate (38% of the town) to create a reservoir to supply fresh water to greater Providence. This project resulted in the condemnation of "1,195 buildings, including 375 houses, seven schools, six churches, six mills, thirty dairy farms, eleven ice houses, post offices, and an electric railway system, the Providence and Danielson Railway system". (2) The hamlets of Kent, Richmond, Rockland, South Scituate, Ashland, Saundersville, Ponaganset and parts of North Scituate and Clayville disappeared forever.

Scituate has played an important role in many of the United States wars. During the Revolutionary War, 76 cannons were forged at the Hope Furnace in the village of Hope in southern Scituate. During World War II, a Federal Communications Commission Radio Intelligence Division monitoring facility on Darby Road near Chopmist Hill (41°49′11″N 71°38′43″W / 41.8198°N 71.6453°W) intercepted German HF communications. Because of this, in 1946, the Chopmist Hill area was considered as a candidate for the location of the headquarters of the United Nations.[5][6]


According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 54.8 square miles (141.9 km²), of which, 48.7 square miles (126.1 km²) of it is land and 6.1 square miles (15.8 km²) of it (11.15%) is water.

Scituate Reservoir

Hope Dam (51953)
The Hope Dam on the Pawtuxet River

One of the most prominent features of the town is the Scituate Reservoir. The large reservoir spans a large portion of Scituate and has forever changed the face of the town. During construction of the reservoir, numerous villages were flooded along the former banks of the Pawtuxet River. Some foundations of the old structures are still visible today during times of drought. The reservoir, and a large portion of land surrounding, it is owned and maintained by the Providence Water Supply Board.

The main Scituate reservoir was formed by the construction of a dam across the Pawtuxet River at the former village of Kent. The dam, principally of earth, is about 3,200 feet (980 m) long and 100 feet (30 m) high. Water storage in the reservoir began on November 10, 1925. An aqueduct from the dam feeds the nearby treatment plant which was placed in operation on September 30, 1926.

The Scituate Reservoir is the largest artificial freshwater body of water in the state of Rhode Island. It has an aggregate capacity of 39 billion US gallons (150×106 m3) and a surface area of 5.3 square miles (14 square kilometers). It and its six tributary reservoirs—which make up a total surface area of 7.2 sq mi (19 km2)—supply drinking water to more than 60 percent of the state population. The surrounding drainage basin that provides water to the reservoir system covers an area of about 94 sq mi (240 km2), which includes most of the town of Scituate and parts of Foster, Glocester, Johnston, and Cranston. The Scituate Reservoir is operated by Providence Water Supply Board.

The original treatment plant was state-of-the-art at the time of its construction. The plant was considered to be among the most technologically advanced of its day, and for many years the filtration system was the only plant of its type in New England. As demand continued to grow, the treatment plant underwent major expansions and renovations in the 1940s and again in the 60s. Today, the plant has a maximum treatment capacity of 144 million US gallons (550,000 m3) of water per day and still remains the largest treatment facility in New England.[7]


In the 2008 U.S. Presidential election, Scituate was the only town in Rhode Island to vote for John McCain, 51%–47% over Barack Obama.[8] It is the only town in Rhode Island to vote Republican in every presidential election since 2000.


Historical population
Census Pop.
Est. 201510,549[9]2.1%
U.S. Decennial Census[10][11]

As of the census[1] of 2000, there were 10,324 people, 3,780 households, and 2,929 families residing in the town. The population density was 212.1 people per square mile (81.9/km²). There were 3,904 housing units at an average density of 80.2 per square mile (31.0/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 98.13% White, 0.29% African American, 0.07% Native American, 0.58% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.32% from other races, and 0.58% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.75% of the population.

There were 3,780 households out of which 36.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 67.3% were married couples living together, 7.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 22.5% were non-families. 18.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.72 and the average family size was 3.12.

In the town, the population was spread out with 25.5% under the age of 18, 5.9% from 18 to 24, 28.8% from 25 to 44, 27.7% from 45 to 64, and 12.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females, there were 96.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.4 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $60,788, and the median income for a family was $67,593. Males had a median income of $42,392 versus $30,703 for females. The per capita income for the town was $28,092. About 2.0% of families and 3.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 4.3% of those under age 18 and 5.5% of those age 65 or over.


Pentecostal Collegiate Institute, North Scituate, R.I. (1905)
The Pentecostal Collegiate Institute in North Scituate, 1905.

In 1839, the Smithville Seminary, a Freewill Baptist institution was founded in North Scituate and existed on and off as an educational institution until it finally closed in 1876. The Pentecostal Collegiate Institute then moved to the former campus from Saratoga Springs, New York in 1902. When PCI became Eastern Nazarene College and left in 1919, William Holland purchased the property and moved his Watchman Industrial School and Camp there in 1923. It was allegedly burned several times by the local Ku Klux Klan in the 1920s and 1930s[12] and closed in 1938, although the summer camp operated until 1974. The Greek Revival buildings and campus are now the Scituate Commons, an apartment complex on Institute Lane.

High school students in Scituate go to Scituate High School (Rhode Island).

Scituate Art Festival

The Scituate Art Festival,[13] held every Columbus Day weekend since 1967, features over 300 artists and craftspeople displaying and selling their artwork in the picturesque New England village. Visitors number in the 200,000 to 350,000 range per festival. The Old Congregational Church grounds are used for part of the festival.

National Historic Places and Notable Sites in Scituate

Hope Mill RI
Hope Mill

Notable people


  1. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  2. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  3. ^ "Scituate". Unabridged. Random House. Retrieved 15 November 2014.
  4. ^ The Vernon family and arms, by Harrison Ellery, with additions and corrections by Thomas Vernon
  5. ^ BBC On This Day | 24 October 1945: United Nations Organisation is born
  6. ^
  7. ^ "History of Providence Water and the Scituate Reservoir". Providence Water Supply Board. Archived from the original on 2006-10-26. Retrieved 2006-10-05.
  8. ^
  9. ^ "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.
  10. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2016.
  11. ^ Snow, Edwin M. (1867). Report upon the Census of Rhode Island 1865. Providence, RI: Providence Press Company.
  12. ^ The Rhode Island Century
  13. ^ Scituate Art Festival

External links

Alfred H. Littlefield

Alfred Henry Littlefield (April 2, 1829 – December 21, 1893) was an American businessman and politician. He was a member of the Rhode Island House of Representatives and the Rhode Island Senate, and was the 35th Governor of Rhode Island.

Andrews–Luther Farm

The Andrews–Luther Farm (also known as the Harley Luther Farm) is an historic farm in Scituate, Rhode Island. It is located on the south side of Elmdale Road, a short way east of its junction with Harmony Road. The farm is a 45-acre (18 ha) property, with its main house, a c. 1768 wood frame structure set near the road. It is 2-1/2 stories high, with a large central chimney, and a center entry on the south facade (i.e. facing away from the road) with vernacular Greek Revival styling. A corn crib dating to the late 19th or early 20th century stands further south on the property, and the foundational remains of older buildings dot the area. The farm is distinctive for retaining a large portion of its original setting, and for the detailed accounts of it which have been retained by Harley Luther's descendants.The property was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1985.

Clayville, Rhode Island

Clayville is a census-designated place in the towns of Foster and Scituate, Rhode Island, United States. As of the 2010 census, it had a population of 300. It is the location of the Clayville Historic District.

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.

Double L Site, RI-958

Double L Site, RI-958 is a historic site located in Scituate, Rhode Island, United States.

The site was added to the US National Historic Register on September 12, 1985 and contains prehistoric archaeological evidence.

Elisha Mathewson

Elisha Mathewson (April 18, 1767 – October 14, 1853) was a United States Senator from Rhode Island.

Gene Steere

Frederick Eugene "Gene" Steere (August 16, 1872 – March 13, 1942) was a Major League Baseball player. Steere played for Pittsburgh Pirates in the 1894 season. In 10 games, Steere had 8 hits in 39 at-bats. He attended Brown University.

Steere was born in South Scituate, Rhode Island and died in San Francisco, California.

Hope Village Historic District

The Hope Village Historic District encompasses a historic mill village located in Scituate, Rhode Island. Located on a bend in the Pawtuxet River in southeastern Scituate, the area has seen industrial activity since the 18th century, and has surviving industrial and residential buildings from the early 19th century. The village is centered on the junction of Main Street (Rhode Island Route 115) and North Road (Rhode Island Route 116), and radiates out from there, with numerous properties on smaller side streets. The present main mill building was built in 1844 by Brown & Ives, operators of numerous Rhode Island textile mills. Approximately 1/4 of the village's housing stock originated as mill worker housing built by the company.The district was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on August 8, 1995.

Jeremiah Colegrove

Jeremiah Colegrove (31 July 1758 – 26 August 1836) was born to William Colegrove in Scituate, Rhode Island. A man of giant stature, both physically and in the community, he was a prominent farmer and manufacturer in New England. Jeremiah served in the American Revolution and helped to found the city of North Adams, Massachusetts.

McGonagle Site, RI-1227

McGonagle Site, RI-1227 is a historic site in Scituate, Rhode Island.The house on the site was constructed in 1807 and the house and cemetery were added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1985.

Millrace Site, RI-1039

The Millrace Site, RI-1039 is an historic site in Scituate, Rhode Island.

The site was added to the National Historic Register in 1985.

Moswansicut Pond Site, RI-960

Moswansicut Pond Site, RI-960 is an historic site in Scituate, Rhode Island

The site offers prehistoric archaeological evidence and was added to the National Historic Register on September 12, 1985.

Old Congregational Church (North Scituate, Rhode Island)

The Old Congregational Church is an historic church building on Greenville Road (Rhode Island Route 116) in the Smithville-North Scituate village of Scituate, Rhode Island. The wood-frame shingled church was designed by Clark Sayles (a protege of noted church-builder Elias Carter) and complete in 1831. The church was regularly used in the 19th century, but attendance declined in the later years, and it was only occasional used until 1940, when it was given to the town. In 1974, the building was listed on National Register of Historic Places.The Scituate Art Festival has been held on the church grounds every autumn since 1967. The art festival was founded to raise funds to restore the church interior.

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.

Rhode Island State Police

The Rhode Island State Police (RISP) is an agency of the state of Rhode Island responsible for statewide law enforcement and regulation, especially in areas underserved by local police agencies and on the state's limited-access highways. Its headquarters is in North Scituate (a village of Scituate).

Scituate High School (Rhode Island)

Scituate High School is a school located in North Scituate, Rhode Island (in Providence County). The majority of students live in the villages of Hope, Clayville and North Scituate, Rhode Island. The official nickname of the school's athletic teams is the Spartans. According to a US News, 467 students attend Scituate High School.

This is one of the few high schools in Rhode Island to receive a GreatSchools rating of 9 out of 10.

Smithville Seminary

The Smithville Seminary was a Freewill Baptist institution established in 1839 on what is now Institute Lane in Smithville-North Scituate, Rhode Island. Renamed the Lapham Institute in 1863, it closed in 1876. The site was then used as the campus of the Pentecostal Collegiate Institute and later the Watchman Institute, and is now the Scituate Commons apartments. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.

Smithville – North Scituate, Rhode Island

North Scituate is a village in the town of Scituate, Rhode Island. Since 1967, the village has been home to the Scituate Art Festival.Much of the community is included in a historic district on the Danielson Pike and West Greenville Road. The district contains many nineteenth-century buildings, including the Old Congregational Church (1834) and Smithville Seminary (1839). The district was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.The zip code for the village is 02857. The zip code is assigned to the name "North Scituate". The zip code extends not only into Scituate but also Glocester, Rhode Island to the north.

William West (Rhode Island politician)

William West (c. 1733–1816) was an American militia general in the American Revolutionary War, Justice of the Rhode Island Supreme Court, Deputy Governor of Rhode Island, and anti-federalist leader. West also was a party in the first U.S. Supreme Court decision in 1791, West v. Barnes.

Municipalities and communities of Providence County, Rhode Island, United States
Major cities
Cities and towns
Cities and towns
Cities and towns

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