The White Rock Spring
I was borne and lived at what was known as White Rock Farm, in Kent Heights. The name “White Rock” came from the outcropping of white quartz rocks that were located on a path south of the Bucklin lot in the pasture of this farm.. There was a road past the white rock ledge and two springs with a gate at each end. A.J. Kent and his sons built this road with a bridge over a brook, past the springs and ending in what was called the “Rocky Mountain Lot” The gates were to keep the cows out of this area as there were several springs, one a bottomless spring in which great grandfather’s yolk of oxen were drowned. The outcropping was about 30 feet high; at the base of which there were two springs.
This road was built so that spring water could be obtained from the best of these springs to sell to the New York Boats along with the delivery of milk. This spring was used because the flow was constant and never dried up. It was lined with white rocks with a 2-inch pipe under the road with the end high enough to get a 20-quart can under it. The flow of spring water would fill a can in about a minute. The road was also used so that large white rocks could be mined to use for markers. In the yard of the farm house there was a ring of these about 20 feet in diameter and 8 feet high. There was a large one placed at the beginning of each street when the roads were platted east from Pawtucket Ave. I helped my father drag these out with a Fordson tractor and a stone boat. There are a few of them still at the beginning of some of the streets east of Pawtucket Ave. Before the land was sold, I was able to save a few of them, from the outcroppings near the spring.
On a hot day a walk through this road was a delight. As soon as you climbed over the gate on a 95-degree day the temperature dropped about 10 degrees. There was always a cup at this spring for an ice cold drink of this sweet clear water. In summer the violets grew with long stems and the big bottomless spring was covered with watercress and cow slips grew along the brook. The brook was loaded with brook trout and if you approached carefully you could feed them with earthworms and wish you had a hook. A.J.’s plan was to bottle this spring water and market it as “White Rock Spring Water.” His dream was about 50 years too soon. While the spring water was well received on the two New York Boats, no one was about to pay for water that you could get free.
After the end of WW 2 the land of White Rock farm was taxed to the point that farming was no longer a viable business. The remaining owners began to disband. For a time my Uncle Everett would have one of his boys take him to the spring to clean out the leaves and replace the white rocks surrounding it. The land was sold bit by bit until now there is no sign remaining of, not only this spring, but also any part of the farm. All is covered with commercial building and homes.
I often think of what a beautiful park this might have been with two ponds, brooks, streams and about 100 acres of woods and open fields. All in the center of East Providence.