Tiverton Harbor is a township in eastern Rhode Island on the Sakonnet River and Mount Hope Bay off Narragansett Bay. Tiverton Harbor was part of the Plymouth Colony until annexed into Rhode Island in 1746. Tiverton Harbor is almost six nautical miles (6.5 kilometers or four miles) southeast of the Port of Bristol. Tiverton Harbor is nearly 14 nautical miles (20 kilometers or 12.3 miles) northeast of the Port of Newport. The 2010 US Census reported that almost 12.3 thousand people called Tiverton Harbor home.
In the early days, Tiverton Harbor was a center for farmers, fishermen, and boat builders. In the 19th Century, textile mills were established in Tiverton Harbor. Today, agriculture and tourism are the foundations for the Tiverton Harbor economy. Since 2006, major employers in Tiverton Harbor have included trade establishments.
Before Europeans came to the future Tiverton Harbor area, the Wampanoag people inhabited the land. The Wampanoag welcomed the Plymouth Pilgrims in the early 17th Century. They are the American Indians known for bringing corn and turkey to the Pilgrims and establishing the American Thanksgiving. In 1616, yellow fever came to all 69 tribes of the Wampanoag Nation. As many as two-thirds the Wampanoag Nation (45 thousand strong) died.
As settlers from Britain arrived in the future Tiverton Harbor, they displaced the Wampanoag. Giving alcohol to the Wampanoag, they "purchased" the native's lands while they were under drunk. The British also sold many of the native people into slavery and would not permit them to use their language or their tribal names.
English colonists first incorporated Tiverton Harbor in 1694. When a boundary dispute was settled between the colonies of Rhode Island and Massachusetts in 1746, Tiverton Harbor and the eastern shores of Narragansett Bay were annexed into the Rhode Island colony. Tiverton Harbor was incorporated as a town in 1747.
During the American Revolution in 1778, men from Tiverton Harbor fought in the Battle of Freetown. For much of the war, Rhode Island was occupied by the British, and Americans fled to Tiverton Harbor, mustering colonial forces.
Farming was the major economic activity in Tiverton Harbor until 1900 when manufacturing menhaden oil became an important industry. In the early 19th Century, cotton and wool mills were established.
In the 1920s and 1930s, Mark's Stadium in Tiverton Harbor was home to the Fall River Marksmen, a successful early soccer team. It is one of the first soccer-specific stadiums in the United States. When the Marksmen collapsed, other local teams took over the stadium.
Since the middle of the 1900s, Tiverton Harbor has growth as a suburb of Fall River, Massachusetts, and as a summer resort.In 2002, contaminated soil was found in the Tiverton Harbor Bay Street neighborhood. High levels of arsenic, cyanide, lead, and other toxins were found, leading to a prohibition from digging in the soil in the neighborhood. Property values fell dramatically. The Rhode Island legislature passed the Environmentally Contaminated Home Ownership loan program to help property owners whose equity has fallen. The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management is developing plans to create the contamination.