The Town of Glocester is located in northwestern Rhode Island. It is bordered on the north by Burrillville, on the east by Smithfield, on the south by Scituate and Foster, and on the west by Killingly and Putnam, Connecticut. It is connected to these various other communities by Route 44, which runs east-west, and by Route 102, which runs north-south. The state capital, Providence, is approximately 35 minutes to the east.
Glocester is basically a rural community, dotted throughout by lakes and ponds. Several of these bodies of water are part of the Providence Water Supply System. Much of the northern portion of the town is set aside as state-owned parks and forests. The highest point in Glocester, and second highest point in the state of Rhode Island, is Durfee Hill at 804'.
Glocester (originally "Gloucester") was established in 1639, just three years after Roger Williams founded Rhode Island's first settlement at Providence. The land was "disposed of to Roger Williams and his associates by the sachems of local Indian tribes, who received payment that the sachems deemed satisfactory."
On March 16, 1730/31, the Town of Glocester was separated from Providence and organized as the Town of Glocester. It derived its name Frederick Lewis, Duke of Gloucester, who was the son of King George II of England. On April 16, 1806, Old Glocester was divided in half, with the southern half retaining the original name and the northern half being called Burrillville.
The Town of Glocester is governed by a five-member Town Council which meets on the first and third Thursdays of each month at 7:30 pm at the Town Hall in Chepachet. Its fiscal year begins July 1. The Town Financial Meeting is held on the first Saturday following the first Friday in May. Elections are held in November in even years.
COAT OF ARMS
"Glocester's coat of arms appears with three red arrowheads divided by three red chevrons upon a golden shield. This device is based on the arms of Gloucester, England, which uses three red chevrons. The arms of the ancient family of Clare, who were Earls of Gloucester, made the distinction by the addition of ten torteaux ["roundels" or half-circles*]. In Glocester's arms, the torteaux have been changed to three arrowheads to signify that Glocester, Rhode Island is in America."
*Definition of "torteaux" from Pimbley's Dictionary of Heraldry.
Chepachet, the largest of the villages to spring up over the years, was the seat of government and a bustling trading center during the 18th and 19th centuries. Chepachet, like its more eastern neighbor, Harmony, continues to flourish. Other Glocester villages have, as Glocester Historian Edna Kent relates, "lost their identities ... Williams' Mills, Skeeterville, Hawkins' Village, Clarkville, Cherry Valley, Spring Grove, Waldron's Corner, and Evans' District ..." Vestiges of these places remain in names of businesses and favorite swimming holes, however.
For more information on Glocester's history, see "Glocester - The Way Up Country: A History, Guide, and Directory," Edna M. Kent, Ed. (1976). Available at Glocester Heritage Society.
Numerous intriguing events are associated with the Town of Glocester and its villages of Chepachet, Harmony, and West Glocester ... the Pirates of Ponaganset Pond, the death of "Betty, the Learned Elephant" in 1826, the Dorr Rebellion in 1842, the great mill fire of 1897, and the famed Ancients & Horribles Parade held every Fourth of July since 1926. Details on these and many other interesting facts and folklore of the town of Glocester are featured in "Glocester - The Way Up Country: A History, Guide, and Directory," Edna M. Kent, Ed., Glocester Town Historian (1976), available at Glocester Heritage Society or online at www.GlocesterHistorian.com.
The Town of Glocester boasts a thriving business community of shops, restaurants, and services, with many businesses active in the Glocester Business Association. Tourists find many treasures in the numerous antiques and collectible shops throughout Chepachet and Harmony, and dine companionably with the locals at any of a number of fine restaurants in the area.
SCHOOLS & LIBRARIES
Elementary students are served by Fogarty Memorial Elementary School and West Glocester Elementary School. Middle school and high school students from Glocester and the neighboring town of Foster attend Ponaganset Regional Middle School and Ponaganset Regional High School in Glocester. The town is host to two libraries, Glocester Manton Library in the village of Chepachet and Harmony Public Library in the village of Harmony.