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 due 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)


img_1592Thanks to several generous donations, we have purchased the sign that used to hang on the little original Arnold’s Lonsdale Bakery, and it will be on display.  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.






Lampercock Lane CemeteryCleanup at Lampercock Cemetery: April 16 (9:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.)

Save the Date! The Lincoln Conservation Commission voted to sponsor a cleanup at the Lampercock Lane Cemetery (LN044) on April 16 from 9:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. Please feel free to just drop by for a little while. The cemetery is a short distance off Wilbur Road, where Lampercock Lane turns the corner. Free lunch for all volunteers. Call John Houghton (401-651-6463) for more information.

Cleanup at Mineral Spring Veteran’s Cemetery: April 23 (9:00 a.m.-Noon)

The retired police and firefighters under the direction of Gerry O’Connor will be hosting a trash and leaf cleanup at Mineral Spring Veteran’s Cemetery from 9:00 a.m.-noon. If you want to help in any way with donations of water, work gloves, muscle donations or picture taking, please feel free to swing on by.

IMG_1335Cemetery Tour by Ken Postle: Sunday, May 1 (2:00 p.m.)

Saylesville Friend’s Meeting House, 374 Great Rd, Lincoln, RI 02865.
We will travel to several sites (use your own car), ending at the Lampercock Lane Cemetery.  Please wear appropriate clothing and shoes. Bring (and wear!) tick spray.  Free and open to the public. Picture; Stone of Jonathan Sprague, 1648-1741, photographed on the tour.

Annual Meeting of the Blackstone Valley Historical Society: May 15 (1:30 p.m.)

North Gate, Blackstone Valley Historical Society, 1873 Old Louisquisset Pike, LIncoln, RI  02865.  All interested are welcome.

Christine NowakChristine Nowak Lecture: May 15 (2:00 p.m.)

The 4th Christine Nowak Annual Lecture will be a panel discussion this year.  The focus of the presentation will be to see if there are similarities among the earliest permanent settlers of Pawtucket, Central Falls, Lincoln, Cumberland, Smithfield, North Smithfield, and Woonsocket.

In previous annual meetings we have introduced the idea of using the annual Christine Nowak talk as a future chapter in a book of talks about the history of the Blackstone Valley.  We have heard about the origins of the geographic area known as Louisquisset, a description of the uprooting of the original settlers in King Philip’s War (battles at Nipsachuck Swamp in 1675/1676).  This time we are focusing on the families who filtered back into the this region after the 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. Our presenters will be Dan Santos for the Arnold family of Lincoln and Woonsocket, Gail Harris for Cumberland, Irene Nebiker for North Smithfield, Steve Todaro for Pawtucket, Irene Blais for Woonsocket and Albert Klyberg (chair and moderator) for Central Falls and the rest of Lincoln,

The presentations will be based on research the presenters have done on the original settling families, but not genealogies of the families.  The aim of this presentation is to create a “group profile” based on occupations, religious beliefs, house types, farm types, and other general descriptions of this re-settlement of the land in the postwar years.


Ken Postle – Historic Cemeteries


Ken Postle – Historic Cemeteries

March 30, 7:00 p.m.
North Gate Upstairs Hall
1873 Old Louisquisset Pike
Lincoln, RI  02865

Talk free and open to the public.  All welcome!

Ken’s Facebook Pages:

River Road, Blackstone River and Canal Cemeteries

Mineral Spring Avenue Veteran’s Cemetery

Jocelyn Dube interviews Ken Postle (from the March Landmark)

Ken Postle is intense. Let me rephrase that; you haven’t met intense until you’ve met Ken Postle. I decided one of the best ways to convey his enthusiasm would be to check out his frequent Facebook posts throughout February and offer you some highlights. His posts are tireless, inspirational, beautiful and emotional. Let’s start with this – If you’re an avid reader of The Valley Breeze, you might find the name Ken Postle slightly familiar. It’s because he’s been part of a news story in the periodical 5 different times in February. (Maybe more?) He was involved in coverage concerning the Lincoln Conservation Commission, as well as the Lincoln Town Council’s, work in regard to cemetery restoration and preservation. Ken, along with BVHS Vice President John Houghton, stood before the Commission and was awarded 600 dollars for restoration work. From there, the Town Council voted to enact stricter legislation on construction near cemeteries, hopefully ensuring their protection. He was instrumental in Pawtucket removing debris that had been allowed to pile up on gravesites behind the public works building. This was a problem that government officials had promised a resolution to years ago. Ken refused it to be swept under the rug. Finally, he was interviewed about the terrible condition of historic cemeteries in North Providence. One theme runs through all these news stories: cemeteries. Ken Postle is enthusiastically working to uncover, preserve and restore historic cemeteries through the Blackstone Valley; right now he’s focused in Lincoln and North Providence.

His Facebook group, River Road, Blackstone River and Canal Cemeteries, shows just how committed he is; and how nothing stands in the way of Ken Postle. On February 6th, for instance, traveling in his wife’s car, he breaks down with a dead battery. Now for me, after waiting in the cold for a jump, I would have called it a day and gone home to some junk TV and high calorie food. Ken Postle, however, made the rounds in Pawtucket, checking up on cemeteries and seeing if progress had been made on the aforementioned debris removal. After discovering a cemetery in North Providence, Ken pulled out a banner day on February 20th. He spent the morning answering e-mails about gravesites and met with the Town Historian, Tom Greene. After that, he shot over to the Sons of the American Revolution Banquet where he was awarded the bronze medal for local preservation efforts. Again, for me, this is a pretty good day, and after the free meal from the S.A.R., I would have gone home and spent the night finding the perfect spot for my medal. Ken Postle pulled on his boots (or maybe he was already wearing them) and spent the rest of the day (right up until dark) cleaning up the newly found plots at NP4, or Sunset Cemetery. He gets his new phone activated on the 21st and instead of calling his friends and installing apps, Ken drives out and tests the camera under the full moon at Sunset Cemetery. This is the type of person Ken Postle is; relentless and incredible. Keep in mind, this is his “side job”. This is his unpaid weekend hobby. Ken works fulltime during the week. He has a lovely wife, 4 amazing children and 2 precious grandkids. His passion for cemetery restoration is exemplified by how critical it is to him that he still fit it into his already busy life.

He has uncovered more than 3000 memorials, most of them Vets and their families. He has obstacles. He has to listen to critics and naysayers who come out and sneer at what he does. People sometimes can’t help but try and get others down by telling them their work is futile. They try to dishearten you by reminding you of how big the task at hand is. Ken’s heart is too strong to be conquered. He is reminded of the grace behind his work when a family gets connected to their ancestors. His work isn’t futile when he sees that spark in other volunteers. It comes in that moment when they uncover something broken and are able to see it fixed.

What does Ken want out of 2016? “I want to continue recovering the fragile and missing in our local connecting communities, while empowering the neighbors of the yards to restore and preserve what we have found-the more civic and school groups we can encourage and involve the better. In Pawtucket, our work efforts led to local school kids doing essay contests, flaggings and parades to honor our fallen and living veterans-I would like to see similar efforts start in Lincoln, Cumberland and North Providence. As always, the work goes on one stone and yard at a time-we can’t get discouraged by the enormity of the missing and neglected, instead we need take advantage of every opportunity to raise awareness and awaken folk to the buried treasures in their midst…” Let’s help him succeed. Donations can be made to BVHS on Ken’s behalf. Attend our lecture on March 30th at 7 P.M. to meet Ken yourself.

Historical Cemetery Recovery and Restoration Project



February 20-21

Lime Rock Grange #22  Exhibit

February 20 and 21, 2016
North Gate Downstairs
2:00-4:00 p.m.

Limerock Grange

1971.1 Photograph. Harvest Supper Series. Limerock Grange BVHS

On February 20-21, the BVHS will be exhibiting some of the records and memorabilia from the Lime Rock Grange #22.  Some of this material can be seen in the Online Exhibit on this website.   Please stop by!

On February 21, Michael Di Mucci will be giving a concert in the Upstairs Hall in North Gate. This is not a BVHS event, but we hope many of you will enjoy the concert!



Standards: Songs from the Great American Songbook and Jazz
A Concert
February 21, 2016, 3:00 PM
Tickets: $20.00 Available at the Door

BVHS 2 21 16 Poster


Michael Di Mucci, David Marshall and Brandon Carrita.

A program of great music from Cole Porter, Rodgers and Hammerstein, Jerome Kern, Irving Berlin and more!






Museum of Work and Culture-Free Lecture Series


Beginning January 10, the Museum of Work & Culture will be hosting Valley Talks, a series of free, bi-weekly historical lectures. All talks take place at 1:30pm at the Museum of Work & Culture.


January 31: Historian & former RIHS Executive Director Albert Klyberg will discuss the Civilian Conservation Corps’ work in Rhode Island parks from 1932 to 1941 as part of FDR’s New Deal.

February 7: Writer and filmmaker Rick Beyer explores the local roots of the WWII deception unit known  as the Ghost Army, and discusses his ongoing efforts to uncover this amazing story.

February 21: Writer & historical reenactor Paul Bourget examines the Sentinelle Affair, the local underground movement that led to the excommunication of 61 congregants

March 6: Baseball historian Greg Rubano presents on his upcoming book, In the Shadow of Ty Cobb: The Life & Times of Napoleon Lajoie, recounting the meteoric rise of Woonsocket native Napoleon Lajoie from mill worker to baseball Hall of Famer.

Image: Wikipedia Commons