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North Smithfield, Rhode Island

North Smithfield, Rhode Island
Forestdale school house from the nineteenth century
Forestdale school house from the nineteenth century
Location in Providence County and the state of Rhode Island.
Location in Providence County and the state of Rhode Island.
Country United States
State Rhode Island
County Providence
 • Town Administrator Paulette D. Hamilton
 • Town Council Paul J. Zwolenski
Robert P. Boucher
Kimberly L. Alves
Roseanne Nadeau
Ernest H. Alter
 • Total 24.7 sq mi (64.1 km2)
 • Land 24.0 sq mi (62.3 km2)
 • Water 0.7 sq mi (1.8 km2)
Elevation 361 ft (110 m)
Population (2013)
 • Total 12,178
 • Density 498.6/sq mi (192.1/km2)
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP codes 02824, 02896
Area code(s) 401
FIPS code 44-52480[1]
GNIS feature ID 1219815[2]

North Smithfield is a town in Providence County, Rhode Island, United States, settled as a farming community in 1666 and incorporated into its present form in 1871. North Smithfield includes the historic villages of Forestdale, Primrose, Waterford, Branch Village, Union Village, Park Square, and Slatersville. The population was 11,967 at the 2010 census.


  • Geography 1
  • History 2
  • Demographics 3
  • Historic Places in North Smithfield 4
  • Notable people 5
  • Education 6
  • Adjacent Cities and Towns 7
  • Houses of Worship 8
  • References 9
  • External links 10
  • Image gallery 11


According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 24.7 square miles (64 km2), of which, 24.0 square miles (62 km2) of it is land and 0.7 square miles (1.8 km2) of it (2.83%) is water. North Smithfield is in a New England upland region. The Branch River and Blackstone Rivers provided much of the power for the early mills in the town.


In the 17th century Valley Forge among other battles.

Today North Smithfield is part of the John H. Chaffee Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor. The Blackstone Valley is the oldest industrialized region in the U.S. A local North Smithfield industry today, Berroco Yarns, is a continuation of an original family owned woolen company first established in this valley by Daniel Day in 1809.

A rare "stone-ender" known as the John Mowry, Jr. or Sayles House on Wesquadomeset (Sayles) Hill near Iron Mine Hill and Sayles Hill Roads in North Smithfield, demolished in the 20th century

The village of Slatersville was largely built by Samuel Slater and his brother John Slater beginning in 1803.[5] It is a well preserved original New England mill village with worker housing and commercial buildings. This village is in fact America's first planned industrial mill village.[6] Samuel and John's family owned this mill and the village until the turn of the 20th century.[5]

Union Village, along Rhode Island Route 146A achieved local prominence as an important stagecoach stop on the route along Great Road.[6] Union Village was also home to a hat shop, taverns, an academy and the Union Bank from which the village got its name.[6]

In the nineteenth and early twentieth-century, North Smithfield "was served by several trolley and railroad lines; now all are gone save one. A freight-only spur line of the Providence and Worcester Railroad extends from the main line in Woonsocket and terminates [in Slatersville] at the Providence Pike"[7] where it "primarily serves a single customer, a steel supplier called Denman and Davis,"[8] a company in Slatersville which is now part of O’Neal Steel, Inc...[9]


As of the census[1] of 2000, there were 10,618 people, 3,954 households, and 2,957 families residing in the town. The population density was 441.7 people per square mile (170.5/km²). There were 4,070 housing units at an average density of 169.3 per square mile (65.4/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 98.32% White, 0.42% African American, 0.21% Native American, 0.52% Asian, 0.08% from other races, and 0.45% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.47% of the population. 41% reported either French or French Canadian ancestry, 12% Irish, 12% Italian, and 8% English.[10]

Masjid Al Islam mosque on Sayles Hill Road in North Smithfield

There were 3,954 households out of which 31.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 64.0% were married couples living together, 7.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 25.2% were non-families. 21.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.61 and the average family size was 3.05.

In the town the population was spread out with 22.4% under the age of 18, 5.7% from 18 to 24, 27.2% from 25 to 44, 26.8% from 45 to 64, and 18.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females there were 90.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.8 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $58,602, and the median income for a family was $67,331. Males had a median income of $43,133 versus $30,748 for females. The per capita income for the town was $25,031. About 1.9% of families and 3.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 2.8% of those under age 18 and 9.9% of those age 65 or over.

Historic Places in North Smithfield

The Peleg Arnold Tavern, built around 1690, was home to Peleg Arnold

Notable people

Chief Justice Peleg Arnold was a resident of Union Village in North Smithfield


  • North Smithfield High School, the only public high school in the town, was ranked 9th out of 52 public high schools in Rhode Island in 2006.[14]
  • North Smithfield Elementary School which was built in 1989 and now is used for grades Preschool-Third Grade.
  • The Kendall Dean School was built in 1936 but today is no longer used as a school.
  • Dr. Harry L. Halliwell School was built in 1958 and is still used today for grades 3-5.
  • North Smithfield Middle School was built for the 2009-2010 school year which now holds grades 6-8.

Adjacent Cities and Towns

Houses of Worship

  • Lighthouse Christian Church
  • Masjid Al-Islam mosque
  • Slatersville Congregational Church
  • St. John the Evangelist Church


  1. ^ a b "American FactFinder".  
  2. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names".  
  3. ^ a b c Nebiker, Walter (1976). the History of North Smithfield. Somersworth, NH: New England History Press. 
  4. ^ *The National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution Volume, 15 page 7 Mrs. Ella S. Anderson Freeman. DAR ID Number: 149020 4 James Buxton (1745-1817) commanded a company in Col. Benjamin Tupper's regiment, Massachusetts troops. He was born and died in Smithfield, R. I. Also No. 127831. View full context
  5. ^ a b "Samuel Slater/The Mill Village, Slatersville/Woonsocket". Retrieved 2007-12-26. 
  6. ^ a b c "Plan your visit/Valley sites/Cumberland, North Smithfield, Smithfield". National Park Service. Retrieved 2007-12-25. 
  7. ^ North Smithfield Comprehensive Plan Five-Year Update Revised August 2007 J - Circulation –March 2006
  8. ^ Frank Heppner, Railroads of Rhode Island: Shaping the Ocean State's Railways (The History Press, 2012) pg. 81
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^ Who Was Who in America, Historical Volume, 1607-1896. Chicago: Marquis Who's Who. 1963. 
  12. ^ "Obituary Record of Graduates of Yale University Deceased during the Year 1930-1931" (PDF). Bulletin of Yale University. December 1, 1931. 
  13. ^ Wilkinson, Alec (2004-09-20). "The Ghostly Ones".  
  14. ^ Alphabetical List of Public Schools In Rhode Island

External links

*The Church on the Green at Slatersville, long a Buxton Church

  • Samuel Slater, Father of the American industrial revolution, Slatersville, the mill village/with photos

Image gallery

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