#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

#AtoZ Stay Home! Wear a Mask! “R” is for RUMFORD


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

Got baking powder? If you do, chances are it’s Rumford baking powder. Well, today’s feature is Rumford, Rhode Island, and yes, there is a connection!

Photo by Martha Reynolds

Rumford is actually a part of the city of East Providence, and borders the neighboring city of Pawtucket (from the Algonquin meaning ‘river fall’). The photo above shows the old Rumford Chemical Works, which was chartered in Rhode Island in 1862. Rumford baking powder was developed and named after Sir Benjamin Thompson, Count Rumford. Thompson was an American-born British physicist and inventor, but it was Eben Horsford was actually invented baking powder. Okay, that’s enough history.

Photo by Martha Reynolds – location: Seven Stars Bakery, Rumford, RI

Hulman & Company acquired the Rumford Chemical Works in 1950. It still makes Rumford baking powder, now at its manufacturing plant in Terre Haute, Indiana. And the building you see pictured at the top of this post now offers studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments.

#AtoZ Stay Home! Wear a Mask! “Q” is for QUONOCHONTAUG


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

You can say it with me. Quon-uh-cuh-TAWG. See? Easy! It rolls off the tongue.

Photo by Martha Reynolds

Quonochontaug is located between two ponds – the Ninigret Pond and Quonochontaug Pond and their respective barrier beaches, both of which are salt ponds. The communities known as West Beach, Central Beach, and East Beach have several hundred residents, mostly in the summers, but over the years, there have been more year-round residents in Quonochontaug.

You had a peek at Blue Shutters Beach in my “B” post, and a visit to Ninigret in my “N” post. Blue Shutters is at the end of East Beach Road, and an unpaved road leads to the entrance of Ninigret National Wildlife Refuge. This area truly is one of the prettiest places in the state.

Photo by Martha Reynolds

Quonnie Pond is a great spot for kayakers. You get the benefit of being at the coast, but no ocean waves!

#AtoZ Stay Home! Wear a Mask! “P” is for POTOWOMUT


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

Potowomut (pot-oh-WOM-ut) is a neighborhood situated in Warwick, but bordered by the towns of East Greenwich and North Kingstown. It’s a peninsula surrounded by Greenwich Bay.

Potowomut’s name translates to “land of fires,” the Narragansett name for the neck of land. It can be called an enclave, since there is no land connection to the rest of the city of Warwick (remember “J is for Jerusalem” and its similar status as an enclave of Narragansett with no land connection).

Photo by Martha Reynolds

Nathanael Greene, a general in the American Revolutionary War, was born in Potowomut, on Forge Farm in 1742. He was born into one of Rhode Island’s earliest families, who had helped to establish the colony in the 1630s. Greene was a Quaker until he attended a military parade and showed support for armed rebellion against England.

“Hopelands,” the house that once belonged to Richard Greene.
Photo by Martha Reynolds
Photo by Martha Reynolds

Not all Greenes were patriots, however. Richard Greene inherited the house and lands that his ancestor had founded and built (the house is now part of the Rocky Hill School in Potowomut, as pictured above). Richard Greene was often referred to as ‘King Richard’ because of his ostentatious lifestyle. He also welcomed British officers into his home and furnished them with both produce and information. Because of its location on the Potowomut River (also known then as Greene’s River – yes, they were the dominant family), his home was easily accessible by the British ships. To the embarrassment of other Greene family members, Richard gave the British soldiers supplies whenever possible.  Richard Greene eventually left his Potowomut home and fled to British-occupied Newport, where he died in 1779, a broken man.

#AtoZ Stay Home! Wear a Mask! “O” is for OAK LAWN


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
Photo by Martha Reynolds

Oak Lawn (sometimes written as Oaklawn) is a community within the city of Cranston, and the reason I posted a photo of the church above is because this place, this church is where the oldest May Breakfast is held each year. Like the traditional May Day celebrations, an ancient festival to mark the beginning of spring, the May Breakfast is traditionally held on the first day of May. Is this a Rhode Island thing? Do you have May Breakfasts in your state?

The first May Breakfast was held in 1867, back when the Oak Lawn church was the Old Quaker Meeting House. Same spot, but it was known then as Searle’s Corner. On Thursday, May 1, 1879, fifty cents would get you hot biscuits, meats, clam cakes, and tea and coffee. These days, May Breakfasts are held across the state, not always on May 1, and usually as fundraisers. Sometimes they’re all-you-can-eat affairs. During these days of Covid-19, the traditional gatherings are put on hold, but hopefully in 2022 they’ll be back.

Across the street, the Oak Lawn Public Library has been in existence since 1889.

“It is desired that the library shall become a depository of national and local history, a supplement to the public school, and establish special departments for the use of the farmer, gardener, mechanic, student of natural history, etc.”

#AtoZ Stay Home! Wear a Mask! “N” is for NINIGRET


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

Ninigret, who was also known as Juanemo according to Rhode Island founder Roger Williams, was a sachem, or chief, of the eastern Niantic tribe in New England. In 1637, Ninigret allied with the colonists and the Narragansett tribe (“N” is for Narragansett!) against the Pequots. The photo above is of the entrance to the wonderful Ninigret Park in Charlestown, Rhode Island.

According to history posted at Ninigret Park, after the glacier receded, indigenous peoples lived here in the warmer months, moving inland in the winter to villages surrounded by forest. A mound of oyster shells, called a midden, dating from thousands of years ago, is located in the Ninigret National Wildlife Refuge, which is adjacent to Ninigret Park.

The area was farmland from the mid-1600s until the beginning of World War II.

Photo by Martha Reynolds
Photo by Martha Reynolds
Photo by Martha Reynolds

During World War II, the federal government acquired the land for a naval airfield. Former President George H.W. Bush trained in 1943, and ultimately 1,500 personnel were stationed at the base. In 1944, Navy pilots trained in night fighter operations. Training was dangerous, resulting in 62 deaths from airplane crashes off the coast and in the nearby woods and swamps. The airfield was decommissioned in the early 1970s. In 1979, the property became the Salt Pond Unit of the Ninigret National Wildlife Refuge.

Photo by Martha Reynolds
Photo by Martha Reynolds

According to archaeologists, Native people were the first to live off Ninigret Pond and its surrounding lands, taking advantage of the abundant supply of fish, shellfish, and other animals that the pond had to offer.

#AtoZ Stay home! Wear a Mask! “M” is for MISQUAMICUT


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

Misquamicut (Mis-SQUAM-eh-cut) is part of the town of Westerly, as close to Connecticut as you can get, and is a Narragansett word meaning “at the place of the red fish,” or “at the salmon place.” The land was purchased from Chief Sosoa of the Montauks in 1661, and the name was changed from Pleasant View (which it does have) to Misquamicut in the 1920s.

For residents of Connecticut, Misquamicut is a popular destination, as it’s the first beach on open water (the Atlantic Ocean) you come to when driving east to Rhode Island from Connecticut. Connecticut’s coastline is on Long Island Sound, and the relative calmness of the water compared to what can sometimes be wild ocean in Misquamicut is a draw for many. Misquamicut also has a lively night life, which is an attraction for some and a deterrent for others.

Photo by Martha Reynolds
Photo by Martha Reynolds

It was a cold day when I took these photos at Misquamicut Beach! So cold I didn’t venture down to the shoreline. Desolate in winter, too, but on a hot summer day, the beach is packed.

Photo by Martha Reynolds

There’s over a half-mile of beachfront here, and lots of activities for kids. The waves are usually pretty big, too, so take care!

Photo by Martha Reynolds

#AtoZ Stay Home! Wear a Mask! “L” is for LIPPITT


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.

Photograph by Martha Reynolds

The Lippitt mill, home to cotton textile manufacturing, was built in 1809, making it the third oldest mill in Rhode Island after John Slater’s in Slatersville, RI and Samuel Slater’s Slater Mill in Pawtucket.

The original partnership was formed in November 1809 with (Revolutionary War) Colonel Christopher Lippitt, his brother Charles Lippitt, Benjamin Aborn, George Jackson, Amasa Mason, and William Mason. Following the War of 1812, there was an economic depression, and the company survived by supplying yarn to a Vermont prison, for convicts to weave. Throughout the 19th century, the company grew to become a profitable enterprise, and generations of Lippitts were involved in the running of the mill.

In 1889, the Lippitt assets were sold to the firm of B.B. Knight and Robert Knight, founders of Fruit of the Loom. In 1925, B.B. Knight sold the property to the owner of the Riverpoint Lace Works. The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.

The manufacturing of lace ended in the early 1970s, and recently, renovation work was begun to convert the mill and adjacent buildings into residences.

#AtoZ Stay Home! Wear a Mask! “K” is for KICKEMUIT


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

Kickemuit (sometimes spelled Kickamuit) (Kick-uh-MEW-et) is a Native word meaning ‘back river.’ The Kickemuit River, located in the north part of the town of Warren, flows nearly eight miles between Massachusetts and Rhode Island. During the Revolutionary War, the river was a major route, and supplies were transported on the river daily. By the 1800s, oyster beds were plentiful, and a major source of revenue, until pollution from the nearby Parker Mills, and general sewage, killed most of the oysters by 1920. Whatever was left of the oyster industry ended with the Hurricane of ’38.

Photo by Martha Reynolds
Photo by Martha Reynolds

The source of the Kickemuit River is in Rehoboth, Massachusetts, which sits right on the border of Massachusetts and Rhode Island. From Rehoboth, the river flows south to Swansea (also in Massachusetts) and into the Warren (RI) reservoir. From the reservoir, the river continues its journey, mostly southwest, until it lands in the Mount Hope Bay. The Kickemuit Reservoir dam forms the boundary between salt water and fresh water.

Photo by Martha Reynolds

#AtoZ Stay Home! Wear a Mask! “J” is for JERUSALEM


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

Jerusalem, as you would know from my “G” post, is a fishing village in the town of Narragansett, and across the channel from Galilee.

Photo by Martha Reynolds

Jerusalem might be a village in the town of Narragansett, but it is not attached to any other part of Narragansett by land; its only land border is with Matunuck (‘Mah-TOON-uck’), which is in South Kingstown. Although Jerusalem is not technically in the town of South Kingstown, SK provides fire and police service.

Photo by Martha Reynolds

You’ll also know how Jerusalem got its name by reading my “G is for Galilee” post from a few days ago. It’s a tiny place, and probably its most famous road is Succotash Road.

In 1935, the U.S. Public Works Administration constructed two piers and dredged a 35-acre portion of harbor just inside the entrance to Point Judith Pond. Those improvements would be of tremendous help to the state’s fishing industry. But the destructive Hurricane of 1938 ravaged the area, destroying 125 of the 150 houses that were situated in Galilee.

Photo by Martha Reynolds