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Foster #23: RI’s Best Communities 2012

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

 

Foster

It's home to the highest point in a state not known for its mountains (or even hills for that matter), but the western Rhode Island town is also home to farmsteads, mill ruins, and quiet country life. And what is more emblematic of that than being home to one of the only two covered bridges in Rhode Island?

It's Foster that offers a country lifestyle within a short drive of Providence, and this town of just 4,606 souls has moved up in the 2012 ranking 2 spots, to #23. The most credit goes this year, as it did in 2011, to Foster's very low crime rate (moving up to #2 in the state, second only to Glocester). Further, Foster made a major move up in Affordability, landing this year at #14, up 8 spots from last year's #22 ranking. These results help the town overcome its low Restaurants & Bars ranking, tied with equally rural Hopkinton and West Greenwich at #37, the lowest ranking for 2012.

Foster by the numbers

Established: 1636
Population: 4,606
Median household income: $72,163
Median housing price: $241,000

2011 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 23
Affordability ranking: 14
Education ranking: 26
Economic condition ranking: 25
Safety ranking: 2
Arts & Culture ranking: 23
Restaurants & Bars ranking: 37

History in a nutshell:

Foster was incorporated on August 24, 1781 when it was set off from the town of Scituate. Primarily a residential and agricultural town, there are many houses and farms which date between 1760 and 1820. Jerimoth Hill, the heralded 812-foot hill which is the highest point in Rhode Island, is located in northwest Foster. Some of the earliest villages in Foster include Clayville, Mount Vernon, and Mooseup Valley. Foster with its old homes, grand farmsteads, and mill ruins is known for its natural beauty. The Foster Town House, built in 1796 and in use to this day, is the oldest government meeting house of its type in the United States. Foster remains sparsely populated as most of its land is either covered with hills or forests.

Famous residents:

Theodore Foster, U.S. Senator, the town is named after him
Solomon Drowne, physician, author, close friend of Foster who lived on a farm called Mount Hygeia
Nelson Aldrich, U.S. Senator, father of Abby Rockefeller
Lucinda Landon, author of the "Meg Mackintosh" children's book series
H. P. Lovecraft, author
Mark Picard, author of the Ultraquest series

Famous residents source: Wikipedia

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