Al Klyberg

Al Klyberg, photo by Jim Hendrickson, at the Museum of Work and Culture.
Al Klyberg, photo by Jim Hendrickson, at the Museum of Work and Culture.

The Blackstone Valley Historical Society is deeply saddened by the loss of our mentor and dear friend, Albert Klyberg.

In the words of C. Morgan Grefe, Director of the RI Historical Society:

“There are people in this world who change the way we think about a place. Al Klyberg was one of those people. He came to Rhode Island with a passion for history, and not just any history, but the history of every single person. And he committed his life to sharing that history with everyone.

Al Klyberg at the 2016 Christine Nowak Lecture. Photo by Jim Hendrikson

He had a beautiful vision of the role that history should play in our lives, and I am honored to have known and worked with him. He continued to shape the RIHS every day, and I – we all – are grateful.

Thank you, Al, for your service, your passion, and your dedication. You made history, and you are forever part of us. You are missed so very much already.”

In Memoriam: Albert T. “Al” Klyberg, 1940-2017


Movie Matinee!

manvilleJanuary 22, 2:00 p.m.
North Gate Toll House
1873 Old Louisquisset Pike, Lincoln, RI  02865

Movie!  Public welcome, no charge for admission.

Enjoy selections from the movie, Senetchonet to Manville: a Journey through Time, by Betty Mencucci and Carlo Mencucci.  This is a documentary on the history of Manville, which contains hundreds of historical photographs of Manville from the collection of Roger Gladu.  This showing is made possible by a generous gift of Roger and Lorraine Gladu.

Christmas Open House


Door at North Gate
Door at North Gate

The Blackstone Valley Historical Society
Christmas Open House
2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
December 11, 2016
1873 Old Louisquisset Pike, Lincoln, RI  02865

We wish to thank our members and friends for their support throughout the year. Join us for a celebration of music, refreshments, and maybe a visit from a man in a red suit!

Bob Ferri will be playing holiday music for us. Come see all the work we are doing in the dining room,  Bring your family and friends.



The Three-decker Menace

cambridgetripledecker2:00 p.m., November 20, 2016
North Gate Toll House
Blackstone Valley Historical Society
C. Morgan Grefe, RI Historical Society, The Three-decker Menace

If you look around your neighborhood, there are probably some of these large, three-story houses; however, elsewhere in the U.S. they are not there.  Why is that?  When were the first of these large homes built, and why?  Are they an offshoot of our manufacturing roots, as necessary housing for workers?  And, are they really a “menace” within a neighborhood?

Dr. Morgan Grefe, the Head of the Rhode Island Historical Society, became interested in this form of housing during her Ph.D. studies at Brown University.  Her insight as to their history and construction will fascinate all who have lived in, or even just seen rows of, three-deckers in their neighborhoods.

Free and open to the public.

Image courtesy of Wikipedia

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.