Historic lamps add old-time glow to Greenville

Historic lamps add old-time glow to Greenville

SMITHFIELD - Adding a 19th-century touch to contemporary Greenville, the state has installed nine antique-style street lamps in the village center, five more than originally planned.

Town Planner Michael Phillips said the change was requested by him and Robert Leach, chairman of the town's Historic Preservation Commission, because the smaller number "just didn't have much impact."

The lights are part of a road relocation in which the state Department of Transportation is moving a 300-foot stretch of Putnam Pike (Route 44) several feet to the south in the vicinity of the village common.

The road curves in that area, obstructing driver visibility toward the Smithfield Fire Department headquarters and presenting a danger to firefighters as they back equipment into the building at the end of emergency runs.

The relocation, designed to add distance to motorists' line of sight as they approach the station, is part of a $2.3 million upgrade of the state road that is nearing completion.

According to Phillips, the new light poles are further from the curb than were similar street lights installed in Chepachet, two of which were broken or knocked down.

The 150-watt sodium lights, which resemble pre-electricity gas lamps, were installed between Austin and Smith avenues.

Phillips said the state has also agreed to move to a less prominent location a four-foot-tall stainless steel utility cabinet, installed as part of the project at the east end of the common, that seemed out of character with the period ambiance.

The larger road project includes repaving a three-quarter mile section of Putnam Pike, and replacing crumbling sidewalks, between Austin and Danecroft avenues.

The roadbed relocation will bring the highway closer to St. Thomas Episcopal Church on the south side of Putnam Pike, increasing frontage at the fire station and the adjacent, circa 1822 Waterman Tavern/Smithfield Exchange Bank building.