In 1986, Richmond resident Eleanor (House) Smith wrote a story about the Village of Wyoming. The village was originally known as Brand’s Iron Works, renamed Alton, and according to Kelly Sullivan in her December 30, 1999 article in the Chariho Times, finally “Wyoming, which is the Indian word for ‘meeting of the plains’.”
Eleanor titled her story: “Old Bizness_New Bizness”, which provides not only a history of the Town, but also describes some of the businesses in 1986, when the piece was written. The following is a link to the document, along with a cover letter explaining the reason she wrote it:
Not only had Wyoming “awakened”, but subsequently has continued to change. The following describe some of the metamorphosis from the date of the original article to the present (2016):
On page 1 the Sun Valley Motel building has been demolished and the Sun Valley Restaurant has been replaced by Billy Hill’s. This is the Reynolds Card farm that originally stood on the property:
The adjacent gas station, formally Morrone’s,was replaced by Walgreens Pharmacy. Walgreen’s moved out of town and the vacant building remains available. Howard Johnson’s is now The Dragon Palace.
On page 2 she refers to a building which houses Fleming’s; the A & P, and Post Office. Of the three named businesses, the Wyoming Post Office is the only one that remains in that location. Jim Fleming built a new location on Stillson Road at Route 138, and after the Rhode Island Credit Union crisis in 1990, Flemings Department Store was shortly closed. Presently the site is occupied by the Ocean State Job Lot, along with several other businesses.
The A & P grocery store was bought out by the Stop & Shop chain and a new building is located on Stillson Road and Route 138 across from Job Lot. The site of the old store has been vacant for many years. It’s only other occupant was a motorcycle repair business that was short lived.
Stillson Road is the industrial area of the Town and the site for several manufacturing companies. This was not the case in the 1986:
Segar’s Store is the Wood River Inn, a local restaurant. The Stage Coach House, located across the street, is operated as a bed and breakfast on the second floor; with several small businesses on the first floor.
Avery’s Funeral Home, located in Hope Valley (Hopkinton), is still in business. Washington Trust Company has a new building on Main Street and is located opposite the vacant Walgreens. Woodmansee Insurance is housed in a new building on the Richmond side of the Wood River, just west of the and on the same side of the street as The Stagecoach House.
……..and as Eleanor would say: The End
However there is no end and the story just continues. In 1990 the State of Rhode Island suffered a credit union crisis. Not long before this the Chariho-Exeter Credit Union constructed and moved into a new building located on Route 138 west of the plaza Eleanor referred to containing Fleming’s, etc. As a result of the crisis, the credit union struggled, was purchased by, and became, in 1992, First Bank & Trust:
First Bank did not remain in Town very long and the building was purchased by the Town of Richmond. The first floor became the Richmond Police Station and the second floor a community center. Both continue to exist as such. The Richmond Seniors have a daily coffee hour, among other things, and other groups schedule various meetings and activities.
In 1994, a police foot patrol was added to discourage an element of people who were “hanging out” in the area. This was “interfering with business and scaring customers away.”