The beauty in the tiny State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations rests partly in its size, a tiny jewel, rich in the history of founding fathers. Centuries old historic landmarks can be visited and enjoyed within, at most, an hour's car ride. Smith's Castle is perhaps one of the most significant landmarks in Rhode Island's history, located near Wickford, RI, in Washington County.
Rhode Island was founded by Roger Williams, who traveled to America from England, because of his strong beliefs in the freedom of religion and civic liberty. He again fled the Massachusetts Bay Colony, when about to be deported back to England, due to his conflicts with the highly structured Puritans of Salem and eventually settled with the Narragansett Indians. He believed in treating the Narragansetts humanely and in 1637, he purchased the land at a fair price from the Narragansett Chiefs, Conanicus and Miantonomi. He named the settlement "Providence" in thanks to God.
Roger Williams believed in fair compensation for the land of the American Native Indians, which was against popular belief at the time. His liberal ideas of religious tolerance and separation of church and state were to be key contributions to American political thought. As a result of his fair treatment of the Indians, they became friends, and Williams set up a trading post at the headwaters of Narragansett Bay. The trading post was burned during King Phillip's War after the Great Swamp Fight, and the land was purchased by Richard Smith from Roger Williams in 1651. Smith built the first English house on the land, which was thought to be very grand by colonial standards, and therefore, called "Smith's Castle." Cocumscussoc was the Narragansett's name for the land, and because of its richness in artifacts and yield from archeological digs was designated in 1993 as a National Historic Landmark and is called "Cocumscussoc Archeological Site".
Smith's Castle is an easy car ride to Wickford and offers tours by traditionally dressed guides, at 1:00, 2:00, and 3:00 pm, Thursdays through Sundays, in June, July and August, and Fridays through Sundays in May, September, and October. You can call 401-294-3521 to make arrangements for school and club group tours. Admission is $5.00 for adults and $1.00 for children 6â12 for tours of the house. There is no fee to visit the gardens and grounds.
Educational programs for kindergarten through adults, including craft activities, and reenactments of colonial life are also available, as is a catered lunch for large bus tours, or you can bring a picnic for your family.
Smith's Castle offers the visitor the opportunity to experience four centuries of Rhode Island history.