The Jewels of Smithfield - Glittering Water Links to RI History
Smithfield – On Wednesday, August 5th, please join the Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council (WRWC) and the Town of Smithfield at 5:30 pm at Georgiaville Pond to celebrate “The Jewels of Smithfield,” an exciting signage and tour program highlighting Smithfield’s wonderful water resources that was funded by the Rhode Island Foundation.
The Jewels of Smithfield are the reservoirs that were created as water storage to power mills along the river all the way into Providence in the 1800s. The day will feature a tour of the new signs, which are the result of collaboration between the WRWC and the Smithfield Town Council President Suzy Alba, Town Manager Randy Rossi, Town Planner Michael Phillips, the Smithfield Conservation Commission; Donald Burns, and the Smithfield Historic Preservation Commission; Robert Leach and Benjamin Caisse, the Parks and Recreation Department; Robert Caine and Paul McGinn. Also, a very special thank you to Smithfield resident Elaine Amoriggi for her creative design work on the new signs.
The reservoir system in Smithfield was the first of its kind in the United States. These reservoirs were designed to create a permanent water supply to power the downstream mill operations that lined the lower Woonasquatucket River in Johnston, North Providence and Providence. The reservoirs stored water during the wet season and released water through dams during dry months to assure adequate flow to power the mills. These reservoirs no longer power mills. Now, they are wonderful, clean water resources enjoyed by Rhode Islanders and visitors alike for boating, fishing and swimming. These Jewels of Smithfield include Georgiaville Pond (Smithfield Town Beach), the Stillwater Reservoir (also known as Stump Pond), and the Waterman Reservoir. Additional watershed informational signage that was designed by Jason Tranchida of LLAMAproduct was added along the Woonasquatucket River at Whipple Field.
The Jewels of Smithfield signs help foster pride and stewardship by telling a story that most Rhode Islanders do not know about the industrial history of the reservoirs and the rich history of Native American use of the Woonasquatucket River system. With 88 percent of Smithfield lands flowing into the Woonasquatucket River, the town is the heart of the Woonasquatucket and is a vital partner in the WRWC’s restoration and revitalization efforts.
If you plan to attend the event on August 5th, please be sure to wear a mask and adhere to social distancing guidelines.
Visit www.wrwc.org for more on the Jewels of Smithfield project and the WRWC’s summer recreation activities, including a bike tour of the signs happening on August 6th, and a canoe and kayak paddle on August 11th, planned for the Jewels of Smithfield.