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 Richmond Rhode Island Home Improvement


The Town of Richmond, originally a part of Charlestown, was incorporated August 18, 1747. It was probably named in honor of Edward Richmond, the Attorney General of the colony from 1671 to 1680, who took an active part in the original settlement of the area. A large portion of the town was included in the Shannock Purchase, a tract of vacant land sold by the Commissioners of the General Assembly to a company of purchasers in 1709.

Like many other communities in Washington County, 17th Century Richmond was home for many early settlers. After purchasing land from the Indians, these wealthy Narragansett planters, who were educated, intelligent, landed gentry, settled in South County and brought an accumulated wealth to the area making it the wealthiest area in Rhode Island for many years. Eventually industry overpowered these agricultural moguls, and the greater wealth moved to the cities. Today, Richmond's small population is primarily employed in manufacturing.

The end of the plantation era also signaled the beginning of the early water-powered industry. The water power of Richmond's streams furnished the motive power for its sawmills and the textile industry. The first cotton mill was organized at Hope Valley 1810, and a second mill in Wyoming in 1814. From 1826, and for the next 90 years, the life and history of the village of Arcadia was entwined with the activity of the Arcadia Mill.

Richmond is still a rural area. In fact, a large portion of the town (about 60 percent) is undeveloped woodland. It is still dotted with villages like Shannock, Kenyon, Hope Valley and Hillsdale, however, many of the mills that once activated these villages are now closed. One major exception is the Old Grist Mill in Usquepaugh. The late C.D. Kenyon began producing corn meal in three-pound boxes in 1910. Today the mill is still a grist mill in the true Early American sense--"the flavor of an old time industry remains"--and is still in high production, producing Johnnycake meal. Johnny cakes, whose named was derived from "journey cakes" because they were originally taken by sea captains on long voyages, are made from locally grown flint corn. The corn is ground into a meal, and and then cooked into a small flapjack type cake.

Arcadia is a quaint village popular for Arcadia State Park, and Dovecrest, an Indian restaurant operated by descendants of the Old Narragansett Tribe. There is also the state-operated Fish Cultural Station in Arcadia where the primary focus has been to introduce such species as Northern Pike and Atlantic Shad to New England waters.

Other points of interest in Richmond include the Bell School, a one room school house established in 1826, and used until 1934, and Shannock Falls, the location of a fierce battle between the Narragansett Indians and the Pequot Indians for possession of fishing rights.


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