Kingston Improvement Association
Kingston Vignette

Streets of the Village II

by Elizabeth J. McNab

When I grew up in Kingston, the major roads going north, south, east, and west were: North Road, South Road, Mooresfield Road, and Kingstown Road (often spelled with an e on the end – Kingstowne). One did not use route numbers.

Our original town’s name was Kings Towne (1674). The northern part became its own town, North Kingstown in 1722 since the northern and southern areas were rapidly increasing in population. Part of the southeast shore of South Kingstown separated off to become Narragansett in 1901. Previously this new town had become a separate voting district in 1888 with all privileges of township. Narragansett and South Kingstown at the time had very different lifestyles - resorts, casinos, country clubs, etc. were major aspects of life by the shore.

In Narragansett and South Kingstown the road, however, continues to use the Kingstown name. Beginning now at Usquepaugh Road (Route 2, 138 intersection) Kingstown Road (138) travels though the villages of West Kingston and Kingston, into the village of Peace Dale (108), winds past the mills and Peace Dale Library, skirts Old Mountain Field, circles around the Narragansett Rotary (Route 1A), travels by Sprague Field, turns right, and ends at Narragansett Pier where the Towers are located. Up until the 1850s and later several sections of the present Kingstown Road did not exist.

The original North Road (circa 1670) became Old North Road with the renumbering of houses throughout the state for 911 emergency services. A town could not have two streets with the same name even if one was located in the Kingston section and one in Peace Dale. Since Kingston’s North Road was the oldest, it was renamed Old North Road.

South Road (circa 1670) travels from the well (moved back from Kingstown Road) to Post Road in Wakefield. It is one of the oldest roads in this area. The “To Little Rest 2 Miles” original marker (1700s) still stands by the side of South Road just south of Curtis Corner Road at the old stone animal pound enclosure.

Mooresfield Road went from Kingston to the small village of Mooresfield located near the intersection Stony Fort Road on the Saugatucket River. It is amazing how many small villages we had.

There are many stories about why our village was called Little Rest (now a road built in the 1950s) during the 1700s. The one heard most is that after participating in the Great Swamp fight in November 1675, the exhausted soldiers climbed the rough path up the steep hill to the village and had to take a “Little Rest”. Version 2 – The area was an active government center (county and state houses) so there were many raucous late night activities as representatives gathered together; the residents got “Little Rest” during these sessions since while the court or legislature was in session, many participants roomed in the village as traveling home on horseback was too far. Version 3 is that the area was a community with much vitality from the start and because of this energy neither people nor animals took even a “Little Rest”. The Little Rest name changed to Kingston in 1826.