Contributing Writer

RICHMOND – There’s no better way to celebrate Rhode Island laying the foundation for mobile eateries than with a parade of food trucks. 

Throughout the summer, PVD Food Truck Events will be sending eateries on wheels to Charlestown and Richmond once a month.

Beginning the third Thursday in May, and following each third Thursday through Aug., a dozen or more food trucks will be parked and serving up great food at 5 Richmond Townhouse Road. 

From 5 to 8 p.m., come and set up your chairs or blankets on the green beside the town hall and enjoy free live music, spirits from Trinity Brewhouse of Providence, and a sampling of Rhode Island’s tastiest food truck offerings. 

The various types of traveling cuisine will also be at Burlingame Campground, located at 1 Burlingame State Park Road in Charlestown, every fourth Sunday of the month beginning on May 24 from 4:30 to 8 p.m. You must be a registered camper or guest to attend this town’s event. Reservations may be made online or in person. 

The surge in the popularity of food trucks would thrill Walter Scott, a 19th-century resident of Providence. For history says it was he who started it all.

Scott was born on Nov. 28, 1841 to Joseph Scott and Juliet Howland. Joseph was a Providence attorney and Julia ran the large boarding house they owned. 

When Walter married Mary Kelly, he was employed as a newspaper pressman. But in 1872, he had a delicious notion. After cutting a window into a large wagon, he attached it to his horse and set out on a new venture. Parking the wagon on Westminster Street, he sold sandwiches, pie and coffee to the newspaper men who kept tight schedules and appreciated quick food on the go. Before long, people from all walks of life were lining up at Scott’s ‘lunch wagon’. 

While his business grew, his marriage dissolved and, by 1880, he was divorced and living with his two sons on Reservoir Avenue where two live-in servants attended to household needs. In May of 1881, he married Ida Lawrence and they eventually boarded the lunch cart salesmen who worked for them. 

By 1920, Scott had passed his last slice of pie through the window. His son Robert, a retired trolley car conductor, had moved in with him, both men now widowed. 

Scott died on Oct. 26, 1924, probably having no idea how his legacy would grow into the 21st century. The brainchild of the moveable feast, he is buried in Swan Point Cemetery in Providence.

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