Smithfield: Take care of your history, beauty, and community

Smithfield: Take care of your history, beauty, and community

To all Smithfield Town Council members: My family was not a multi-generational family from the town of Smithfield. However my family did live there for many years. Our family’s journey in Smithfield began with my father attending Bryant College. As my father sat in class, he would look out over Stump Pond and dream about owning a home and raising a family in the woods at the top of Log Road. My parents bought their house there shortly after he graduated.

I was born in that house and Smithfield was my home town. My memories of my childhood do not contain the excitement of new developments and shopping centers. As a child growing up in a small town with so much history, those things made little difference to me. My memories were of long walks in the woods. I remember the old fire station on Log Road that eventually got torn down. I remember going to dance class every week in Greenville and looking at the old houses and buildings in awe. I remember the old stone walls throughout the town. Every time my mom brought us to Greenville, we would talk about the Waterman Tavern and how George Washington once spent a night there during the Revolutionary War. It was amazing to think about people coming and going from that building when it was freshly built so many years ago. This made it so incredible and part of what I will never forget.

I remember going to dances at the East Smithfield Neighborhood Center. I think about how I made new friends there and the great times I had whenever I drive past it. I see that building today and imagine how wonderful it would be if it was fully restored and became a service to the town once again. I remember raising my own daughter in Smithfield. She shares in my memories. That is the Smithfield my daughter and I knew and loved. The children that are growing up in Smithfield now will not have memories like this.

It saddens me to see new developments in the town taking the place of old historical buildings and open space. I look at where the old buildings that I loved were and find those images slipping away. As the powers that be snub their noses up to these irreplaceable pieces of a town and instead see only dollar signs, I can only sigh with grief.

People move to towns because of the history, the beauty, and the community. When these things are neglected and destroyed, people will move to other towns. To the families that have lived in this town for generations, I am sorry the town is fated to be but a shadow of what it once was. I fear those multi-generational families might move on one day as well. This is truly a sad time where preserving what is left of Smithfield’s history and beauty is up for debate. This part of Smithfield should be what is non-negotiable.

Jennifer (Lieberman) Newbury

Attleboro, Mass.