Author Ray Wolf to speak Oct. 16 at North Gate

ww-ii-jpeg2:00 p.m.
October 16, 2016
North Gate Toll House, Blackstone Valley Historical Society
1873 Old Louisquisset Pike, Lincoln, RI  02865

Ray Wolf, “World War II, as told by John E. O’Hara”

Ray Wolf, author of “The Scituate Reservoir”, and many other books of local history, will talk about his book “World War II”, written from the logbook written by John E. O’Hara kept while he was in the Navy from 1942-1945.  It will also touch on its companion volume, “Shirley, His Only Love”, written about John O’Hara’s wife and their life together in Rhode Island after they met in 1948. He may also mention his most book, “Rhode Island Diners Today”, and his newest research on outhouses!

This event is free and the public is welcome. Donations are gratefully received.


North Gate is the Town of Lincoln’s 2016 Christmas Ornament!


"The North Gate Ornament!"
“The North Gate Ornament!”

Exciting News!  North Gate is the Town of Lincoln’s 20th Christmas ornament.

“North Gate” was originally built as a toll house for the newly built Louisquisset Pike in the early years of the 19th century.

Valley Breeze reporter Brittany Ballantyne interviewed Richard DiMase, Dave Sale, and BVHS President Jason Dionne at North Gate.  North Gate was selected for the town’s 20th annual ornament because of “the relevance of the tolls on the pike, and the parallels with today’s truck tolls passed by the Rhode Island House of Representatives in February of this year,” according to Richard DiMase.

The ornament sells for $17.00 and can be purchased at North Gate at Blackstone Valley Historical Society events, and several other places around the town of Lincoln.

The sale of Christmas ornaments over the years has provided $23,000 to the town for the re-location of the historic Hot Potato School House, which was transported from the corner of Angell and Whipple Road to Chase Farm last November.

Read the Valley Breeze article.

News from Ken Postle and the Historical Cemetery Project

Last weekend, plenty of work was done on historical cemetery Lincoln 51  by Boy Scout Troup 711 Albion with friends and family,  led by soon-to-be Eagle Scout Drew Abrams with Ken Postle. Lincoln 51 (LN51) is a Wilbur family lot, near Lime Acres, on Jenckes Hill Road.

All photos are courtesy of Ken Postle’s facebook site, River Road, Blackstone River and Canal Cemeteries.  There are many more! Ken has also been working on Chapel Street, on the Mineral Spring Avenue cemetery, and on NP01 near Intervale Avenue in North Providence.  He has also been working with the Cumberland High School students at historical cemetery CU33  near Kimball St. in Cumberland.  Here is one of Ken’s posts on the Wilbur Lot cleanup.

John Houghton (left) and Drew Abrams.
John Houghton (left) and Drew Abrams.

October 2: “John Houghton and I met up with the Scout Troop 711 and Day 3 was just as exciting as Day 1 and 2-It started with more raking off, more foot stone discoveries, field stone finds and continued into restoring original line alignments of shoved and toppled bases and ended up with an incredible boring out of a previously degraded base back into functionality again…We ended the day with an incredible assessment of 28 marked burials and 5 hollows (as yet no stones), where previously only 22 known burials were indicated and that number will probably get bigger as the cleared Lot weathers…We ended the day honoring the Rev War Vet (Christopher Wilbur) with a new flag, salute and moment of silence-Thank you Drew, Brian McMahon and Troop 711 for an incredible display of team work and dedication to restoring history!”

After digging out and straightening the stones
After digging out and straightening the stones
Scouts putting flag on grave of Christopher Wilbur
Scouts putting flag on grave of Christopher Wilbur








A few days earlier, Ken was working on the McIntyre Cemetery LN055  on Sherman Avenue with Jason Dionne, Danielle Dionne, Kassie Sandra and Lonnie and Sally Watson.

Danielle Dionne (left), Kassie Sandra, and Jason Dionne. Kassie holding a recovered foot stone
Danielle Dionne (left), Kassie Sandra, and Jason Dionne. Kassie holding a recovered foot stone
Stone of Mary McIntyre
Stone of Mary McIntyre
Plain Quaker-style stone with "toothy" bottom
Plain Quaker-style stone with “toothy” bottom

October is Archaeology Month!

Marker from Nipsachuck dig (2012-2013) in North Smithfield, "Lead Shot East Side"
Marker from Nipsachuck dig (2012-2013) in North Smithfield, “Lead Shot East Side”

October 2016 is Archaeology Month. This series of events is organized by the Rhode Island Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission to promote Rhode Island’s rich archaeological heritage though a series of free public events led by the professional community.

Read about all the exciting events this month.





Great Road Open House


1905 Annual School Report Cover
1905 Annual School Report Cover

September 24, Great Road Day Open House at North Gate, 11:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. The Bakery will be open 11:30 a.m.-3:00 p.m.  We will have a small exhibit, Central Falls Annual School Reports, 1904-1916, and 1929-1933: Unexpected Photographs and Artwork.

This exhibit takes place thanks to our grants for the archives in 2015 from the Blackstone Valley Historic Corridor and the Ida B. Littlefield Trust.




Cooking Class- 7th Grade, Broad Street School, 1913 Annual School Report, Central Falls (frontispiece)




Thanks to several generous donations, we have purchased the sign used to be on the original Arnold’s Lonsdale Bakery. It will be on display.  Also, Steven Parent has donated a wonderful panorama photograph of the Arnold’s Bakery fleet in 1951. (photo is one section of the photograph.)





Annual Tour of Cogswell Tower

Meet at the Jenks Park entrance on Broad Street, Central Falls
July 13, 2016, 6:30 p.m.

tower-2014On July 13, Bob Ferri will give his annual tour of Cogswell Tower in Jenks Park in Central Falls.  Learn the history of the tower as we climb to the top for a spectacular view and go under the building to the hidden grotto.

In addition, Dan Bethel will be there and will show us pictures and postcards of the tower from his collection.

This event is free and the public is welcome.


Jenks Park, about 1907
Jenks Park about 1907


Photograph of Jenks Park Entrance from the Lysander Flagg Collection.


BV Nat’l Historical Park Ranger Walkabout Series

300px-Blackstone_River_Gorge_-_MassachusettsWe are happy to share the Blackstone River Valley National Historical Park schedule for the 2016 Ranger Walkabout Series.  Each Thursday evening at 6:30 p.m., a National Park Ranger will offer a free program in the Blackstone Valley. The full schedule is as follows:

June 2: “Slatersville: An Engineered Landscape of Waterpower.”

June 9: “A Walk Up Castle Hill: How to Fight Depression.” Meet at Whitin Machine Works Parking Lot off Douglas Road, Whitinsville, Mass.

June 16: “Ashton Walking Tour: Evolution of a Mill Village.” Meet under the viaduct by Kelly House/Bikeway, Lincoln.

June 23: “Hopedale Walking Tour: A Mill Village Design Renaissance.” Meet at the Hopedale Junior Senior High School, 25 Adin St, Hopedale, Mass.

June 30: “Building a Canal: Working in Heat.” Meet at the open field by the entrance to the Goat Hill Trail, East Hartford Avenue, Uxbridge, Mass.

July 7: “Exploring Roger’s Journey: New Wayside Exhibits.” Meet at the Roger Williams National Memorial.

July 14: “Slater Mill: Pawtucket Falls & Sargent’s Trench.” Meet in Slater Mill parking lot.

July 21: “Ashton: Controlling Water.” Meet at the viaduct/Kelly House parking lot, Lincoln.

July 28: “Slatersville: Planning a Mill Village.” Meet at North Smithfield Heritage Hall, 101 Greene Street.

Aug. 4: “Slater Mill: Conflict of Man & Nature.” Meet at Slater Mill parking lot, Pawtucket.

Aug. 11: “Hopedale: The Hopedale Women’s Sewing Circle.” Meet at the Adin Ballou Statue, Hopedale and Peace Streets, Hopedale, Mass.

Aug. 18: “Whitinsville: The Growth of the Village.” Meet at Alternatives parking lot, Douglas Road, Whitinsville, Mass.

Aug. 25: “Ashton: Kelly House & the Canal.” Meet at the viaduct/Kelly House parking lot, Lincoln.

Andy DiPaola Jazz Trio: Concert Fundraiser for BVHS

LiveatNorth Gate-blackThe Andy DiPaola Jazz Trio

1873 Old Louisquisset Pike, Lincoln, RI  02865, Upstairs Hall
June 12, 2016, 3:00 p.m.
Tickets are $15.00.  This is a benefit for the BVHS.

Call Jason at  401-862-4202 for reservations or to buy tickets.  Tickets will be sold at the door.  

The Blackstone Valley Historical Society will present the Andy DiPaola Jazz Trio on Sunday afternoon, June 12 at 3:00 PM upstairs at the Blackstone Valley Historical Society.  

Andy has been playing jazz professionally since he was seventeen. All who have known him, worked with him or heard him play jazz are agreed that he is a world class jazz pianist in the tradition of Oscar Peterson, Dave Brubeck and Dave McKenna. He is renowned for his sensitive performance of Gershwin classics. He has played with such well known jazz greats as Tony Bennett.

Joining Andy for the concert will be John Curzio on string bass and Joe Holtzman on drums, both of whom have performed throughout the U.S. in large and small jazz ensembles.

Reservations are encouraged as seating is limited.



2016 Annual Meeting and Christine Nowak Memorial Lecture

IMG_1360Al Klyberg Brings the Blackstone Valley to Life with a Panel Discussion

Panel Discussion: Sunday, May 15th, 2016, 2:00 P.M.
North Gate Toll House, Upstairs Hall
1873 Old Louisquisset Pike (Route 246), Lincoln, RI 02865
Annual Meeting 1:30 p.m. Downstairs

The Blackstone Valley Historical Society’s Christine Nowak Lectures are always a fascinating slice of life in this very rich historic region of Rhode Island.  This year, Rhode Island historian Al Klyberg brings together members of all the communities within the Blackstone Valley – Pawtucket, Central Falls, Lincoln, Cumberland, Smithfield, North Smithfield and Woonsocket – and introduces you to the lifestyles of the early settlers within these communities. The panel discussion will focus on the families who filtered back into the this region after King Philip’s War, in the period 1680 to 1731, when the ‘Outlands’ or North Woods of Providence were set off into the towns of Smithfield, Glocester, and Scituate.

Although not aimed at the genealogy of the families, the local experts will introduce you to their ways of life: their occupations, how they built their houses, what farm life was like hundreds of years ago, in the years between

In addition to chairing this panel of local historians, Al Klyberg will speak of Central Falls and parts of Lincoln; Dan Santos of Historic New England will spotlight the Arnold family of Lincoln and Woonsocket; BVHS board member Gail Harris will introduce her hometown of Cumberland, Irene Nebiker will showcase North Smithfield, Irene Blais, Woonsocket, and Steve Todaro will give information on Pawtucket.  This will be a great way to learn the histories of our local cities and towns.

At 1:30 P.M, the organization’s annual business meeting will be held in the downstairs hall.  All are invited to come before the presentation upstairs at 2:00 P.M.

Free and open to the public, donations are gratefully accepted, and all interested persons are invited to join the organization.