This post was originally published to Facebook’s “RI History Lost and Found” group

A drive through Exeter and North Kingstown today rekindled my curiosity about the name “Ten Rod Road”. Where did it come from?

I found an answer in this article about “The Pound” in Wickford, which is a nice bit of lost and found history in itself. (And on multiple levels, even!)  So why “ten rod”? A rod, it turns out, is an archaic form of measurement, equalling 16½ feet. According to the article: “The road, originally constructed to allow cattle, sheep, horses and other farm animals to be driven from farms in western Rhode Island and eastern Connecticut, was named due to its enormous width of ten rods (about 165 feet). It was designed this way to allow for ample public pasturage for feeding the multitude of livestock driven to the docks of Wickford for eventual shipment all over the British Colonial world.”

165 feet wide! Which leads me to wonder: Is it a coincidence that the western part of Ten Rod Road is designated as Route 165, or was that some clever transportation planner’s easter egg?