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7 Pieces Of History Near North Smithfield, RI

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North Smithfield, Rhode Island, may be a small town, but it has a rich history. As a modern-day observer, it's easy to forget the historical significance of the land we live on. Here are seven historic events that took place in or near North Smithfield, Rhode Island.

1. Battle of Rhode Island (1778)
During the Revolutionary War, the Battle of Rhode Island took place in Newport and Aquidneck Island. General John Sullivan led the Continental Army against the British forces. North Smithfield was used as an encampment for Continental forces and played a role in strategic planning and supply for the Battle of Rhode Island.

2. North Smithfield Railway Station
In the 19th century, railways were the primary mode of transportation. The North Smithfield Railway Station was built in 1855 and served as a hub for goods and people traveling through the region.

3. Union Village Dam
To aid textile mills in the Blackstone River Valley's faster transportation, Governor Lippitt commissioned the Union Village Dam in 1867. It's located in the northeastern part of town.

4. Blackstone Canal
Before the railways, canals were the primary way for transporting goods through the area. The Blackstone Canal was opened in 1828 to transport goods from Worcester to Providence. One of the canal's main sites was in what's now known as the Slatersville Historic District, which includes land in and around North Smithfield.

5. The Great Blizzard of 1888
On March 11th, 1888, the Great Blizzard of 1888 hit the East Coast of the United States. The town of North Smithfield was buried under several feet of snow, and the resulting power outages lasted for two days.

6. Slatersville Mill
In the early 19th century, Samuel Slater built tiny cottages and textile mills for Industrial Revolution workers to live and work in. Slatersville became the first planned mill village in the US and was home to the first mill established by Samuel Slater. The mill still stands today and is now known as the Museum of Work and Culture.

7. Iron Furnace
The "Iron Furnace" is technically located in Burrillville, RI, but it's a historic landmark in North Smithfield as well. The furnace is one of the region's last stoneworked iron furnaces from the 19th century.

Although North Smithfield may be small, it has a rich history. From textile mills to Revolutionary War battles, the town has played a part in shaping the United States. By learning about the town's past, it hopes to preserve its legacy and history for generations to come.
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