It seemed appropriate this year to feature a theme that kept me close to home, so I give you my A to Z within the small acreage that is Rhode Island. I tried to be creative (you’ll see!) but I hope you learn something about Little Rhody, too. Whether you’ve lived here all your life, grew up within the boundaries, or have never set foot on one of our many beaches, come along for a virtual tour.
Welcome to Hope village! The word ‘Hope’ figures prominently in our little state. It’s our state motto!
There’s a Hope Valley in Rhode Island, too – a village in the town of Hopkinton. And Hope Artiste Village, a mill restoration project in Pawtucket. But today’s feature is the village of Hope, a mill settlement in Scituate. Set along the Pawtuxet River, Hope was alive with industrial activity from the mid-1700s, although these days it’s a quiet little community of residential dwellings.
The cannon pictured above sits in front of the lovely Hope Library on North Road. If you can’t read the engraving, it says: “This cannon was forged in the Hope Furnace Foundry, not far from this site, during our war for independence. On May 4, 1776, Rhode Island declared her independence from Great Britain, two months before the other twelve colonies. It is therefore appropriate that we here today, May 4, 1974, 198 years later, re-dedicate the cannon to the causes of independence and freedom, for which it was originally forged.”
The reference to the Hope Furnace Foundry was an iron furnace, constructed in 1766, after iron ore was discovered nearby the previous year. The factory produced household goods and crude iron, and did receive a contract from the Rhode Island General Assembly to manufacture cannons for use in the American Revolutionary War.
In 1806, the Hope Cotton Factory Company built the textile mill pictured above along the Pawtuxet River. The mill was constructed out of wood, and, in 1844, the buildings burned down and were replaced by a large, four-story stone building. An additional building was added in 1900, and a fifth floor was added to the original stone mill.
The Hope Mill produced textiles until 2007. The last textile manufacturing occupant of the mill was Just-A-Stretch, a weaver of elastic fabrics.
The mill gradually descended into disrepair, and ceilings collapsed after years of vacancy and neglect. In June 2020, a sale of the 38-acre property was finalized. The Hope Mill was sold to Paramount Development, which plans to turn the buildings into a residential compound. The idea was not well received by the residents of Hope, but the Planning Commission approved Paramount’s plan under the low-to-moderate-income housing plan.
The district of Hope was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in August 1995.