First settled around 1636 by Quakers, Smithfield was incorporated in 1730. The town is home to Bryant Business College's Tupper Campus. The Rhode Island Audubon Society maintains and operates the Powder Mill Ledges Wildlife Refuge; Sanderson Road; 77 acres of pine forest and open fields with more than 2 miles of trails. Agricultural roots remain today in the many apple orchards found locally ... indeed, among Rhode Islanders, Smithfield is often referred to as "Apple Country."
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The Town of Smithfield [†] is located in Providence County in northern Rhode Island. Roughly square in shape, Smithfield is bounded on the west by Glocester, on the north by North Smithfield, on the east by Lincoln, and on the south by Johnston and North Providence.
The population is concentrated in and around a series of villages: Esmond, Georgiaville, Stillwater, and Greenville, whose developments date largely from the nineteenth century. Later development has occurred for the most part in more open areas outside the villages in former farm lands. Smithfield is traversed by several major roads. Interstate 295 runs roughly northsouth through the town. Several state roads cross the town in a roughly southeastnorthwest direction—Putnam Pike Route 44, Farnum Pike Route 104, and Douglas Pike Route 7—linking the villages and providing connections to points outside the town.
A small state airport, North Central, is set on the northeastern border of the town. The most important factors in determining Smithfield's settlement patterns have been the town's accessibility to Providence, its transportation routes and patterns, and its geography. The topography of the town has presented opportunities and obstacles to generations of settlers, and even to this day helps account for Smithfield's uneven population distribution. Located in the upland section of New England, Smithfield's 27.8- square-mile land and water area is underlain by old crystalline rocks, mostly granite. The town's gentle hills are the worn remnants of part of an Appalachian Mountain system which was once higher, more rugged, and more extensive than today's. Millions of years of weathering and erosion, extremes of heat and cold, the rains of summer and the snow and ice of winter, gradually wore down the land.
† Historic and Architectural Resources of Smithfield, Rhode Island, 1992, preservation.ri.gov, accessed July, 2021.
Nearby Towns: North Smithfield Town • Woonsocket City •