Filed Under Geography

The Border Today

The border between Adamsville and Westport was changed in 1747 from the west bank of the Westport River (which is just to the East of Brayton's Garage) to this location in the middle of the mill pond. The new border cut though established lots creating private properties that were half in RI and half in MA. Though more than two centuries old, the "new" border continues to cause difficulties for dual-state homeowners today.

More importantly, Little Compton lost its claim on the "Acoaxet" triangle, one of Massachusetts' loveliest seaside communities.

Images

1895 Map of Adamsville
This map, taken from an 1895 atlas, shows the village of Adamsville, with the current RI/MA border depicted by the pink line. Note the Westport River, along the right edge of the photo, that once marked the original boundary between Rhode Island and Massachusetts.
17th Century Proprietor's Map
This seventeenth-century map shows the allocation of land to the original proprietors of the Adamsville area. The Westport River, once known as the Acoaxet River, originally formed the eastern boundary of Adamsville. When the border between Rhode Island and Massachusetts changed in the eighteenth century, some of the property lots were split so that they were a part of both states.
1870 Map of Adamsville This 1870 map clearly shows how the border between Rhode Island and Massachusetts was redrawn as a straight line in the 1740s, as opposed to the earlier border that followed the meandering course of the Westport River.

Location

687 Adamsville Rd Westport, MA 02790

Metadata

Marjory O'Toole, “The Border Today,” Rhode Tour, accessed October 3, 2022, https://rhodetour.org/items/show/113.