The 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.
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
The 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 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.
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
Historical Cemeteries - There are over 150 historical cemeteries located throughout Foster. Click here to link to the Foster Preservation Society HIstorical Cemetery survey.
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.