Solomon Drowne, a prominent American physician, academic and surgeon during the American Revolution
Foster Town Building, c. 1796, the oldest government meeting house of its type in the United States where town meetings have been held continuously since 1801
The Town Pound in Foster Center Historic District, c. 1845

Foster is a town in Providence County, Rhode Island, in the United States. The population was 4,469 at the 2020 census.

History

Foster was originally settled in the 17th century by British colonists as a farming community. In the year 1662, William Vaughan, Zachariah Rhodes, and Robert Wescott, purchased from the Indians a large tract of land called West Quanaug, bordering on Providence. The 'West Quanaug purchase' included nearly the whole southern half of the town of Foster. The first English settler was allegedly Ezekiel Hopkins. Many settlers from Newport were active in the town in the 18th century. Shortly before the incorporation of the town, Foster's first church, a Calvinist Baptist congregation was founded. Shortly afterwards, Six Principle Baptist and Free Will Baptist congregations were founded.[3]

Foster was incorporated with Scituate, Rhode Island in 1730, forming the western section of that township, and remained part of Scituate until 1781, when it was split off as a distinct and separate township. Foster derived its name from U.S. Senator Theodore Foster.[4] Mr. Foster presented the town with a library. Some of the library's original books and town records are still preserved. U.S. Senator Nelson Aldrich was born in Foster in 1841. Senator Aldrich was instrumental in starting the U.S. Federal Reserve Board.

In the 1920s the Ku Klux Klan was active in the area. The largest Klan rally north of the Mason–Dixon line was held in Foster on the Old Home Day grounds in 1924 with 8,000 in attendance and U.S. Senator J. Thomas Heflin of Alabama speaking. Foster remained a bastion of racial and religious bigotry for more than half a century.[5]

Geography

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 51.9 square miles (134 km2), of which, 51.1 square miles (132 km2) of it is land and 0.7 square miles (1.8 km2) of it (1.41%) is water. Foster contains Rhode Island's highest point, Jerimoth Hill, with an elevation of 248 m (812 ft).

Climate

Climate in this area has mild differences between highs and lows, and there is adequate rainfall year-round. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Foster has an Oceanic climate, abbreviated "Cfb" on climate maps.[6]

Climate data for Foster, Rhode Island
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 67
(19)
68
(20)
88
(31)
94
(34)
93
(34)
94
(34)
97
(36)
97
(36)
94
(34)
84
(29)
78
(26)
75
(24)
97
(36)
Average high °F (°C) 34
(1)
38
(3)
46
(8)
57
(14)
67
(19)
75
(24)
80
(27)
78
(26)
71
(22)
60.7
(15.9)
50
(10)
39
(4)
58.4
(14.7)
Daily mean °F (°C) 25.7
(−3.5)
28.4
(−2.0)
36.4
(2.4)
47
(8)
57.1
(13.9)
65.2
(18.4)
70.4
(21.3)
69.1
(20.6)
61.5
(16.4)
50.6
(10.3)
41.4
(5.2)
30.6
(−0.8)
48.6
(9.2)
Average low °F (°C) 17
(−8)
20
(−7)
27
(−3)
36
(2)
46
(8)
55
(13)
60
(16)
59
(15)
52
(11)
41
(5)
32
(0)
23
(−5)
38.8
(3.8)
Record low °F (°C) −13
(−25)
−11
(−24)
−1
(−18)
14
(−10)
27
(−3)
36
(2)
42
(6)
39
(4)
31
(−1)
21
(−6)
4
(−16)
−15
(−26)
−15
(−26)
Average precipitation inches (mm) 4.28
(109)
4.12
(105)
5.45
(138)
4.70
(119)
3.92
(100)
4.58
(116)
3.82
(97)
4.33
(110)
4.09
(104)
4.77
(121)
4.96
(126)
4.84
(123)
53.86
(1,368)
Average precipitation days 12 10 12 11 13 12 11 10 10 11 11 12 135
Mean daily sunshine hours 10.1 11.1 12.5 13.9 15.1 15.7 15.4 14.3 12.9 11.5 10.3 9.7 12.7
Source: Weatherbase[7]

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
17902,268
18002,4578.3%
18102,6136.3%
18202,90011.0%
18302,672−7.9%
18402,181−18.4%
18501,932−11.4%
18601,9350.2%
18701,630−15.8%
18801,552−4.8%
18901,252−19.3%
19001,151−8.1%
19101,124−2.3%
1920905−19.5%
19309161.2%
19401,23735.0%
19501,63031.8%
19602,09728.7%
19702,62625.2%
19803,37028.3%
19904,31628.1%
20004,274−1.0%
20104,6067.8%
20204,469−3.0%
U.S. Decennial Census[8][9]

As of the census[1] of 2000, there were 4,274 people, 1,535 households, and 1,198 families residing in the town. The population density was 83.6 people per square mile (32.3/km2). There were 1,578 housing units at an average density of 30.9 per square mile (11.9/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 97.26% White, 0.21% African American, 0.23% Native American, 0.58% Asian, 0.09% Pacific Islander, 0.26% from other races, and 1.36% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.80% of the population. Foster's zip code, 02825, has a significantly larger population than the town of Foster. This is because the zip code extends into parts of the more populated town of Scituate, Rhode Island.

There were 1,535 households, out of which 36.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 68.5% were married couples living together, 6.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 21.9% were non-families. 17.1% of all households were made up of individuals, and 6.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.77 and the average family size was 3.14.

In the town, the population was spread out, with 25.9% under the age of 18, 5.6% from 18 to 24, 29.1% from 25 to 44, 28.9% from 45 to 64, and 10.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females, there were 99.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 97.6 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $59,673, and the median income for a family was $63,657. Males had a median income of $39,808 versus $30,632 for females. The per capita income for the town was $22,148. About 1.5% of families and 3.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 2.9% of those under age 18 and 7.8% of those age 65 or over.

Education

Foster's Capt. Isaac Paine Elementary School, has the top spot for reading proficiency according to the New England Common Assessment Program, or NECAP, exams. 82 percent of its students attained proficiency, the state leader in that testing category.[citation needed]

Arts and culture

Tourism

Foster is home to the Foster Town House. Built in 1796 and in use to this day,[10] the Foster Town House is the oldest government meeting house of its type in the United States.[11] Foster also contains Rhode Island's only authentic covered bridge, the Swamp Meadow Covered Bridge.[12][note 1] Built in 1994 by Jed Dixon, a Foster resident, it is a reproduction of an early-19th-century specimen. It is the only covered bridge in Rhode Island located on a public road.[13] Jerimoth Hill, the highest point of elevation in Rhode Island, is located in Foster.[14]

Notable people

Historic Places in Foster

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Another covered bridge is located on Ponaganset High School's Cross Country Course in Scituate, but it lacks the supporting timber trusses that would make it authentic.

References

  1. ^ a b "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  2. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  3. ^ Albert J. Wright (1878). History of the State of Rhode Island with Illustrations. Philadelphia: Printer No. 79 Mille Street, corner of Federal, Boston. Hong, Wade & Co. pp. 133–135.
  4. ^ Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. Govt. Print. Off. pp. 130.
  5. ^ Smith, Robert (April 26, 1999). "In the 1920s, the Klan ruled the countryside". The Providence Journal. Archived from the original on September 30, 2007. Retrieved May 14, 2007.
  6. ^ "Climate Summary for Foster, Rhode Island". Weatherbase. 2013. Retrieved September 22, 2013.
  7. ^ "Weatherbase: Historical Weather for Foster, Rhode Island". Weatherbase. 2011. Retrieved on November 24, 2011.
  8. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Census.gov. Retrieved June 4, 2016.
  9. ^ Snow, Edwin M. (1867). Report upon the Census of Rhode Island 1865. Providence, RI: Providence Press Company.
  10. ^ "Town of Foster - Historical Preservation". Town of Foster. Archived from the original on April 7, 2014. Retrieved April 2, 2014.
  11. ^ "Rhode Island". Good Sam Camping. Retrieved April 2, 2014.
  12. ^ Evans, Benjamin D. and June R. (2004). New England's Covered Bridges. Lebanon, NH: University Press of New England. p. 175. ISBN 1-58465-320-5.
  13. ^ "Swamp Meadow Covered Bridge". Visit Rhode Island. Retrieved April 2, 2014.
  14. ^ "JERIMOTH HILL". Atlas Obscura. Retrieved April 2, 2014.
  15. ^ "ALDRICH, Nelson Wilmarth, (1841 - 1915)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved March 26, 2014.
  16. ^ "Theodore Foster Papers". Rhode Island Historical District. Retrieved April 2, 2014.
  17. ^ "Execution of Hicks the Pirate". New York Times. Retrieved July 30, 2019.

External links