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Little Compton #14: RI’s Best Communities 2012

Thursday, June 28, 2012

 

Little Compton

It may be Rhode Island's most small-town small town, and its legacy of insularity makes residents practically family, and interlopers just that. Proud, small, distinctly Yankee and remote, populated by both old-money families and longstanding rural families with little more than their land, Little Compton defies the momentum-based lifestyle that has taken over most of the state's communities. And this year, it surges into the Top 15 communities in Rhode Island, from last year's #22 to this year's #14.

Second only to New Shoreham's year-round population, Little Compton is the next-smallest town in Rhode Island with only 3,492 residents. And small is beautiful, in this case: Little Compton takes over from New Shoreham as the #1 community in Rhode Island in Economic Condition, and moved up 3 spots to a grade-A #6 for Education. But isolation comes at a price: despite one of the state's glamorous Stone House Inn located there, Little Compton doesn't have much else going on, ranking #25 for Arts & Culture and #35 for Restaurants & Bars. Some might argue that might be a strength. In any event, if you can afford the Median Household Price of $410,000 this is idyllic Rhode Island living.

Little Compton by the numbers

Established: 1862
Population: 3,492
Median household income: $94,866
Median housing price: $410,000

2012 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 14
Affordability ranking: 20
Education ranking: 6
Economic condition ranking: 1
Safety ranking: 26
Arts & Culture ranking: 23
Restaurants & Bars ranking: 35

History in a nutshell:

Little Compton was incorporated as a community of Plymouth Colony in 1682 before it was transferred to Rhode Island under Royal Decree in 1746. Before Little Compton was settled, it was the home of the Sagonate Indians, a tribe that fought with the settlers against King Philip in the Metacom War. After the war ended with King Philip’s death, Little Compton enjoyed a period of peace and prosperity, before the American Revolution began. British foraging parties raided the small town several times but were always met with swift and strong resistance from the settlers. Fishing has been a major source of industry since the town was established and it remains so today. Little Compton is also a prime vacation destination with the nostalgic mood of New England.

Famous residents:

Awashonks, female sachem of the Sakonnet tribe
Sydney Richmond Burleigh, artist
Captain Benjamin Church, father of American ranging
Christopher R. Hill, former Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs and current United States Ambassador to Iraq
Henry Demarest Lloyd, muckraking journalist
J. William Middendorf, diplomat, civil servant, and artist
Arden Myrin, cast member of MADtv
Elizabeth Pabodie, daughter of John Alden and Priscilla Mullins, recognized as the first white girl born in New England
Abel Head "Shanghai" Pierce, a rancher and cattleman in Texas
John Simmons, clothing manufacturer and founder of Simmons College
Henry Tillinghast Sisson, Civil War hero, Lieutenant Governor of Rhode Island, and inventor of the three-ring binder
Charles Edwin Wilbour, journalist and Egyptologist
Isaac Wilbour, Governor of Rhode Island, member of the United States House of Representatives, and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Rhode Island
Paul Suttell, current Chief Justice of the Rhode Island Supreme Court

Famous residents source: Wikipedia

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