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Foster Town Hall
181 Howard Hill Road
Foster, RI  02825
map

Phone: 401-392-9200

Fax: 401-702-5010


Summer Hours:
Monday - Thursday
8:30 am - 5:30 pm
Closed Fridays

 


 

 

Historical Preservation
Click any photo on this page for a larger version

 

The Town HouseThe Old Jail
The Town ScalesThe Town Pound
The Boston Post Cane
W3R Historical Cemeteries

 

The Town House, Foster, RI - Photo copyright 2008 John LewisThe Town House - This ancient landmark holds an enviable record for the number of years it has housed civic, religious, and community gatherings. The Second Baptist Church of Foster purchased the site for $15 in 1795. In 1796, the Rhode Island General Assembly voted a lottery for erecting the Elder Hammond Meeting House. Foster Town meetings were first held here beginning in 1801. Church trustees conveyed title to the Town in 1822 on the condition that the Town pay $85 which was half the cost of repairs.

During the early months of 2007, the entire exterior of the building was restored and repainted with grant funding from the Rhode Island Historical Preservation Heritage Commission.

On December 7, 2007 the RI Historical Preservation Heritage Commission (RIHPHC) announced that Foster would be awarded $11,880 for the repair and restoration of the interior of the Town House. The work to the Town House will be done in consultation with the RIHPHC in order to ensure and maintain the historical integrity of this historic building.
 

The Old Jail, Foster, RI - Photo copyright 2008 John LewisThe Old Jail - The Old Jail was built sometime around the turn of the last century but the exact date of construction seems to have been lost. The Foster Preservation Society holds a picture of the Old Jail from 1904 so it is certain that it was built before then. Originally located where the Town Hall is now, the jail was moved to its current site on South Killingly Road beside the Eddy Building some years ago. Only one prisoner was ever held in the Old Jail and that person was held for only a single day.

 


The Town Scales, Foster, RI - Photo copyright 2008 John LewisThe Town Scales - In the late 1800's every city and town in Rhode Island had a set of "Official scales" which were used by the local official who oversaw weights and measures throughout the town including being used at various markets. After being hidden away in the Town Hall attic for many years, the Town scales have now been reassembled and put on display in the Town House for all to see and enjoy. The Town Scales were restored in 2009, courtesy of the Foster Preservation Society.


 

The Town Pound, Foster, RI - Photo copyright 2008 John LewisThe Town Pound - "The Town Pound was built in 1845. This small, nearly-square pound, 48 1/2 by 48 feet is formed by fieldstone walls four to five feet high and 2 1/2 feet wide. A large flat slab of unworked granite forms a lintel above the opening for the iron gate which once hung here. A small brook flows through one corner of the pound. This property has been entered on the National Register." - from the Statewide Historical Preservation Report of the RI Historical Preservation Commission. Pounds were sturdy enclosures built to hold animals that were wandering around loose. A townsperson was designated poundkeeper, making sure the animals were cared for, and that any applicable fines were paid. The Foster Pound is one of the few with a brook running through it to water the animals. The pound is located at pole 15 South Killingly Road just south of Foster Center.

The Boston Post Cane - The year 2009 marks the 100th anniversary of the Boston Post Cane. The story behind the Boston Post Cane is as follows: In 1909, Edwin Atkins Grozier of the Boston Post newspaper initiated a campaign to recognize the oldest resident in each New England Town. Mr. Grozier distributed approximately 700 Boston Post canes to the selectmen of various Towns throughout Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island. No canes seem to have been distributed to Connecticut or Vermont. These canes were to be awarded to the oldest resident of each Town to recognize the vigor and longevity of the people of New England and then, upon their passing, transmitted to the “newest” oldest resident. The canes were made by J. F. Fradley and Company of New York from African ebony imported from the Congo. The wood was lacquered and then finished with fine French varnish and finally an ornate golden head was affixed to the top, hence the “gold-headed” name sometimes used to refer to the cane.

Twenty-one canes were given to Towns in Rhode Island. Over the years however, many canes have been lost, misplaced, or accidentally destroyed so that as of 2002 only twelve Rhode Island canes were still in existence. In 1909, Mr. Albert Blackmar became the first resident of Foster to receive the Boston Post cane. Mr. Blackmar, who was 97 years old at the time, was born in Foster on June 13, 1812 when James Madison was President of the United States. He held the cane from 1909 until his passing in October 1913.

Over the years the Foster cane had been badly damaged, especially damaged was the golden head. Earlier in 2007, the Council enlisted Vangel Jewelers to undertake the restoration of this historic artifact and today it can be found on display in the Town Clerk’s office. Unfortunately due to the ravages of time, the fragility of the cane, and the cost of restoration, the Town of Foster officially retired the cane itself in November of 2007. The oldest resident of Foster will continue to be formally recognized and awarded the honorary title “Holder of the Boston Post Cane.”
Boston Post Cane Holders List Link to list of holders of the Boston Post Cane

W3R logo W3R - Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route - Although there is some discussion concerning the exact route, Old Plainfield Pike/Plainfield Pike passing through the southeast corner of the Town of Foster may be part of the Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route (also known as the W3R).  This historic route follows the path taken by the French army under Rochambeau on its journey from Providence to the battle of Yorktown in 1781 near the end of the American Revolution.  Once all the signage has been posted,  history buffs should be able to make the drive from Providence to Yorktown, Virginia simply by following the signs depicted here. You can get more information on this aspect of Foster history and the W3R in general by visiting www.w3r-us.org

 

Picture of Historical Cemetery Sign Historical Cemeteries - There are over 150 historical cemeteries located throughout Foster. The following link--click here--provides a way to search for a specific cemetery anywhere in Rhode Island.

A second source of information for RI Cemeteries is the Rhode Island Cemeteries Database. The State of Rhode Island Historical Cemeteries Commission which studies the location, condition, and inventory of historical cemeteries in Rhode Island, and makes recommendations to the General Assembly maintains this website. Click here to link.

 

 

 

All photos copyright 2008 John Lewis.  All rights reserved.

 

Foster Town Hall • 181 Howard Hill Road • Foster, RI  02825
Phone: 401-392-9200 • Fax: 401-702-5010

Hours: Monday - Thursday
• 8:30 am - 5:30 pm • Closed Fridays

Copyright  2008 Town of Foster, RI.  All rights reserved.