#AtoZ Stay Home! Wear a Mask! “S” is for SUMMIT

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.

Photo by Martha Reynolds

Thanks to the Coventry Historical Society, the little village of Summit, a stop on the Providence, Hartford, & Fishkill railroad line, survives. Summit is one of many little villages within Coventry, a town in western Rhode Island that covers sixty-two square miles.

Back in the 1860s, Summit had a church and five white houses, a library, and the general store you see pictured above. It added a saw mill, a grist mill, a blacksmith shop, and a comb factory as more houses were added. Back in the 1700s, it was known as Perry’s Hollow, and the name “Summit” signified a high point on the rail line. The Coventry Greenway bike path, built along the old rail line, does climb as it reaches Summit, the end of the bike path.

Photo from Summit information board

If you can read this map, you’ll see the railroad line is indicated horizontally about two-thirds down the picture. “H.P. & F. R. R.” stands for Hartford Providence & Fishkill Railroad, and there is the depot, the store, a Christian church, and homes for familiar old Rhode Island names such as Tillinghast, Vaughn, Austin, Franklin, Nichols, Matteson, and Capwell.

The general store was built in 1855 by Giles Nichols, who served also as the station agent and postmaster. Nixon Hall was built in 1888 to serve as a public hall. Various societies including the Order of Patrons of Husbandry (official name of what we usually refer to as a grange, or a farmers’ association) met there.

Photo from Summit information board

12 thoughts on “#AtoZ Stay Home! Wear a Mask! “S” is for SUMMIT

    1. Hi Beth – actually, a couple of friends have suggested I turn these posts into a small book. Even though I’m trying to get two novels completed this year, I can’t say no to that idea!


    1. These small villages had only a handful of families, and if there were six to eight (or more) children (to work the farms), usually there was some marrying within those families. So a Waterman boy married a Nichols girl, and a Nichols boy married a Richmond girl, and a Richmond girl married a Nichols boy!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. You got me with this one, Martha. I’ve lived all of my sixty-eight years and Rhode Island and have never heard of this Coventry hamlet.
    I love the lettering of name sign.

    Liked by 2 people

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