Smithfield, Rhode Island

Last updated
Smithfield, Rhode Island
Providence County Rhode Island incorporated and unincorporated areas Smithfield highlighted.svg
Location in Providence County and the state of Rhode Island.
Coordinates: 41°55′18″N71°32′58″W / 41.92167°N 71.54944°W / 41.92167; -71.54944
Country United States
State Rhode Island
County Providence
Named for Smithfield, London
  Type Council-manager
  Town CouncilT. Michael Lawton (D)
Sean M. Kilduff (D)
Michael P. Iannotti (R)
Rachel S. Toppi (R)
John J. Tassoni Jr. (I)
  Town ManagerRandy Rossi
  Total27.8 sq mi (71.9 km2)
  Land26.6 sq mi (68.9 km2)
  Water1.2 sq mi (3.1 km2)
367 ft (112 m)
  Density831.5/sq mi (311.0/km2)
Time zone UTC−5 (Eastern (EST))
  Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
ZIP Codes
02828, 02917, 02814
Area code 401
FIPS code 44-66200 [2]
GNIS feature ID1219817 [1]

Smithfield is a town that is located in Providence County, Rhode Island, United States. It includes the historic villages of Esmond, Georgiaville, Mountaindale, Hanton City, Stillwater and Greenville. The population was 22,118 at the 2020 census. Smithfield is the home of Bryant University, a private four year college.



Greenville Bank at the turn of the twentieth century GreenvilleBank.JPG
Greenville Bank at the turn of the twentieth century

The area comprising modern-day Smithfield was first settled in 1663 as a farming community by several British colonists, including John Steere. [3] The area was originally within the boundaries of Providence until 1731 when Smithfield was incorporated as a separate town. The town was named after John Smith, a first settler of Providence, according to the town's official website. [4]

Chief Justice Peleg Arnold lived in early Smithfield, and his 1690 home still stands today. There was an active Quaker community in early 18th century Smithfield that extended along the Great Road, from what is today Woonsocket, north into south Uxbridge, Massachusetts. This Quaker community, and its members, became influential in the abolition movement, with members such as Effingham Capron and Abby Kelley Foster, and also gave rise to other Quaker settlements including one at Adams, Massachusetts, where Susan B. Anthony was born as an early member. Elizabeth Buffum Chace is a well-known person from Smithfield who was influential in both the abolition of slavery, and the women's rights movement.

Captain James Buxton, a Revolutionary War figure, served with a Massachusetts regiment at Valley Forge, was promoted to the rank of Captain, and later granted Massachusetts land for his war service by Governor John Hancock. [5]

During the Industrial Revolution, Smithfield transformed from an agrarian community to a manufacturing center, with several textiles mills being founded along the Woonasquatucket River by the mid-1800s.

In 1871, the towns of North Smithfield, Lincoln, and Central Falls became separate municipalities. The colonial ghost town of Hanton City is located within the boundaries of present-day Smithfield, but was a completely separate community in the eighteenth century.

In 1943, a U.S. Army Air Corps Lockheed RB-34 crashed on Wolf Hill, killing all three servicemen aboard.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 71.9 km2 (27.8 mi2), of which 68.9 km2 (26.6 mi2) of is land and 3.1 km2 (1.2 mi2) of is water. The total area is 4.25% water.


Historical population
1790 3,171
1800 3,120−1.6%
1810 3,82822.7%
1820 4,67822.2%
1830 6,85746.6%
1840 9,53439.0%
1850 11,50020.6%
1860 13,28315.5%
1870 2,605−80.4%
1880 3,08518.4%
1890 2,500−19.0%
1900 2,107−15.7%
1910 2,73930.0%
1920 3,19916.8%
1930 3,96724.0%
1940 4,61116.2%
1950 6,69045.1%
1960 9,44241.1%
1970 13,46842.6%
1980 16,88625.4%
1990 19,16313.5%
2000 20,6137.6%
2010 21,4304.0%
2020 22,1183.2%
U.S. Decennial Census [6]

As of the 2020 United States Census, Smithfield has 22,118 residents with a median age of 43.7 years and 15.4% of the population under the age of 18. The racial makeup as of 2020 was 84.7% White, 1.2% African Americans, 0.2% Native American, 7.5% Asian, 1.8% from other races and 4.3% of two or more races. Hispanic and Latino of any race made up 3.7% of the population. [7] The median household income is $85,337 and 3.4% of the population live below the poverty line. [8]


Smithfield contains three public elementary schools (Pleasant View, Raymond LaPerche, and Old County Road School), a middle school (Vincent J. Gallagher Middle School) and a public high school, Smithfield High School which was ranked 17th out of 52 high schools in Rhode Island in 2006. [9] St. Phillip's School, a private Roman Catholic academy offering education in grades K–8, is situated in Greenville. [10] Mater Ecclesiae College, a Catholic college, was also located in the town in a facility that was formerly the St. Aloysius Orphanage until the college closed in 2015. [11] [12] Partnered with Saint Raphael Academy [13] in Pawtucket, the private Catholic boarding school Overbrook Academy [14] currently resides those same facilities for middle school, high school, and summer camp programs.

Bryant University

Bryant University's campus Bryant Center.jpg
Bryant University's campus

Bryant University, a private university with programs in business and the arts and sciences, is located in Smithfield.

In 1971, the University moved to its current campus in Smithfield when the founder of Tupperware, Earl Silas Tupper, a Bryant alumnus, donated the current 428 acres (1.73 km2) of land to be the new campus. The famous Bryant Archway was also relocated. The old Emin Homestead and Captain Joseph Mowry homestead occupied much of the land that makes up the present day Smithfield campus. The land was purchased and farmed for three generations between the late 19th century and the mid-20th century. Today, many descendants of the original Emin settlers still live near the Bryant campus. The school also claims a handful of family members as alumni and offers a scholarship for accounting students as a tribute to the Emin family. Historical pictures of the Emin Homestead can still be found in the Alumni house. [15]


Principal employers

According to Smithfield's 2021 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, [16] the principal employers in the city are:

#Employer# of employees
1 Fidelity Investments 3,900
2 Bryant University 850
3Town of Smithfield500
4 Citizens Bank 400
5 Honeywell 300
6Village at Waterman Lake300
7 Stop & Shop 300
8 FGX International 250
9 Target Corporation 200
10Rubius Therapeutics100

Notable people

See also

Related Research Articles

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Peleg Arnold (1751–1820) was a lawyer, tavern-keeper, jurist, and statesman from Smithfield, Rhode Island. He represented Rhode Island as a delegate to the Continental Congress in the 1787–1788 session. He later served as the chief justice of the Rhode Island Supreme Court from June 1795 to June 1809, and from May 1810 to May 1812.

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Daniel Mowry Jr. was an American cooper and farmer from Smithfield, Rhode Island. He served as a delegate for Rhode Island in the Continental Congress from 1780 to 1782.

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Coordinates: 41°54′N71°32′W / 41.900°N 71.533°W / 41.900; -71.533