Scituate, R.I. was first settled in 1710 by emigrants from Scituate, Massachusetts. The original spelling of the town's name was "Satuit", an Indian word meaning "cold brook". In 1730, Scituate lands were separated from Providence and the town was officially incorporated in 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.
At that time, Scituate boundaries also encompassed the land which is now Foster, so it was bounded by Glocester to the north, Providence to the east, Warwick to the south, and Connecticut to the west. In 1781, the present day town boundaries were created when a western portion of largely unsettled woodlands was given to create Foster.
As the population grew, the villages of North Scituate and Hope also grew. North Scituate was the home of the "Scituate Manufacturing' Company's mills, a National Bank, well-kept livery stores and other establishments". (1) Hope was the stopping point for the Pawtuxet Valley Railroad, and a mill that manufactured cannons used in the Revolutionary War. Other villages also developed, including Ashland, Clayville, Elmdale, Fiskeville, Glenn Rock, Harrisdale, Jackson, Kent, Ponaganset, Potterville, Richmond, Rockland, Saundersville, and South Scituate.
In 1915, the Rhode Island General Assembly voted to take 14,800 acres 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. During World War II, Scituate was the site of a radio monitoring system that intercepted enemy signals. Because of this, in 1946, the Chopmist Hill area was considered as the headquarters of the United Nations. (3)
The present-day Scituate offers suburban conveniences and proximity to Providence, and a tranquil, rural environment of unspoiled forests and pristine streams and ponds. Low taxes, an excellent school system, and location make Scituate a desirable place to live in Rhode Island.
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