17th Century MeetUp group visits Hipses Rock and the Ochee Spring Soapstone Quarry

Hipses Rock, marking the Providence-Johnson border, was described in 1904 by Sidney Rider in The Lands of Rhode Island as “the ‘most western’ bound fixed ‘in his own person’ by Miantinomi to the lands Deeded to Roger Williams. According to Rider, “the name Hipses came probably from the Latin word Hesperius, meaning towards the west, or the most western point . . .” Click here for 14-minute video.


Sowams Heritage Area Project Coordinator Dave Weed organized a 17th Century MeetUp group visit to the Mabel Sprague historical house, originally known as the Andrew Harris House built in 1768, on Morgan Avenue in Johnston, RI, where owner Anthony Ricci led a walk to Hipses Rock on his property.


(Above) The Rock is a glacial erratic, most likely carried by the glaciers from Canada 12,000 years ago and deposited along with other smaller rocks on the side of Neutaconkanut Hill.


Following the visit to Hispes Rock, Anthony led the group to the Ochee Spring Quarry where indigenous people carved bowls and other items from an outcropping of steatite or soapstone over 3000 years ago.


The group enters the site situated next to the Northeast Auto Body facility at 775 Hartford Avenue in Johnston. The area was recently cleared of heavy overgrowth by the owner.


Places where bowls were carved out of the rock are still plainly visible in the outcropping. The site was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.

Click here for 14-minute video of the visits.