The Eclipse is Coming!

7:00 p.m.
Tuesday, August 1, 2017
BVHS, North Gate
1873 Old Louisquisset Pike
Lincoln, RI  02865 

This image of the moon crossing in front of the sun was captured on Jan. 30, 2014, by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory observing an eclipse from its vantage point in space. Credits: NASA

On the evening of August 1, Francine Jackson, astronomer, will give a talk on the upcoming solar eclipse.

For the first time in almost a century, a total eclipse of the sun will be visible across a wide path across North America on August 21, 2017. We will be experiencing a partial eclipse in Rhode Island.  Learn all about it with Francine Jackson, NASA Solar System Ambassador, staff astronomer at Ladd Observatory, and Skyscrapers, Inc., public relations person. This event is free and all are welcome.


If it is a clear night, you could extend your astronomical evening by visiting Ladd Observatory at Brown University.  They are open to the public free of charge from 9:00 p.m.-10:30 p.m. on Tuesday evenings,  weather permitting.

BVHS’s Annual Tour of Cogswell Tower

6:30 pm, June 28, 2017

Cogswell Tower
Cogswell Tower. Photo by Dan Bethel

Bob Ferri will give a tour of Cogswell Tower. We will climb up behind the clock, and also visit the grotto beneath the tower. We will meet at the Jenks Park front entrance at 580 Broad Street, Central Falls, RI. 02863 at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, June 28.

This tour is free and all are welcome.  Please join us.


The Smith-Appleby House has an exhibit entitled A History of the Esmond Mills, 1909-1948: An interactive exhibit of mill memorabilia, featuring the extensive private collection of Sandra Achille.  The exhibit is open June 17th, 11:00 am-4:00 pm; June 21st, 5:00-8:00 p.m.; and Saturday, June 24, 11:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.

Also,  check out the Blackstone River Valley National Historic Park’s  free summer Ranger Walkabouts.  The following is from their calendar of events.

Thursday, June 15, 2017, 6:30 p.m. Ranger Walkabout: A Landscape with a View – Mills, Canals, Railroads & Organizers.

Location: Monument Square, Blackstone, MA 01504.  Parking:  in the new Blackstone Greenway parking lot

Grab your best walking shoes and join us for a “Walk with a View” as we enjoy the summer evening and take a look at a landscape contorted to meet the needs of a growing community and a growing nation.  From the development of early mills to building a canal, then a railroad, to building a community, a hike along the just completed section of the Blackstone Greenway will reveal a lot about a growing America.

Thursday, June 22, 2017, 6:30 p.m. Getting America Moving: Trains and Canals.

Location: 49 Central Street, across the street from St. John’s Episcopal Church, Millville, MA 01529 Parking:  in MA-DCR Blackstone Greenway parking lot on Central Street Millville, MA

A good evening walk will take us deep into the development of a regional transportation system.  Hidden deep in the woods along the Blackstone River, we’ll stroll along the top of the Millville Lock and see the connection between a canal tow path and the railroad tracks. We’ll also discover how a Bikeway becomes an outstanding preservation tool.

Wear your good hiking/walking shoes for we will be getting off the Bikeway to walk down to the river over woodland, often uneven, trail.







Technology, Industrialization and the Landscape

Blackstone Valley Historical Society Annual Meeting

May 21, 2017
1:30 p.m. Annual Meeting with Elections of Officers. 
2:00 p.m. Annual Christine Nowak Lecture

Gail Mohanty, PhD,  will give the annual Christine Nowak Memorial Lecture. Her topic will be Technology, Industrialization and the Landscape.

“Looking East from Denny’s Hill” by Ralph Earl, c. 1800. Oil on Canvas, Worcester Art Museum

Her talk will trace the changes from the late 18th century through the first half of the 20th century using a series of landscape paintings as evidence of changes to the environment.

The availability of land in the New World and its seemingly untamed character led the settlers to acquire land, clear it of trees, and create fields and farms. In this way, they attempted to duplicate what was familiar and prized in their homeland.

“The Starrucca Viaduct” by Jasper Cropsey, c. 1865. Oil on Canvas, Toledo Museum of Art

By the 18th century, these transplanted European residents continued to idealize the pastoral landscape, and artists depicted the results in paint and print.  By the end of the 18th century, a more diverse economy began to be developed, including some manufacturing and mining. By the first half of the 19th century the introduction of built elements to the environment were also incorporated into visual art.

Dr. Mohanty is a native Rhode Islander who returned to the state in 1990, working at Slater Mill Historic Site initially, and then turned to teaching in 2001. She is currently an Adjunct Faculty member in the History and Social Studies Department at Bryant University and Senior Lecturer, Liberal Arts at the Rhode Island School of Design.




Blackstone Valley History through Ephemera: From Dan Bethel’s Collection

2:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m.
April 23, 2017
Blackstone Valley Historical Society
North Gate Downstairs
1873 Old Louisquisset Pike
Lincoln, RI  02865

Don’t miss this exhibit!  It will be one of Dan’s largest.   See pictures, documents and other ephemera from the past.  All are welcome.  The exhibit is free; donations are gratefully accepted.  Some photos from the exhibit:

Picture of jockey: Lincoln Downs
The Cumberland Oval near Martin Street. Postcard of the audience at a baseball game.








Rt. 116
Mem:orial Day Ceremony at Wilbur Road Bridge (dedicated to Harry Speight) (BVHS in the background)


News Posts

Help needed for Ken Postle’s Cemetery Restoration Work:  With the spring fast approaching, Ken is in need of some new tools, gloves,and epoxy to repair the gravestones. We are asking for small donations of maybe $5 or $10. As you know,  we rarely ask for donations, but the Cemetery Fund  is low, so please consider donating.

Please send your tax deductible donation to BVHS, P.O Box 125, Lincoln R.I 02865 and mention cemetery recovery project. Thank you for being a part of this great work!

Ken has been nominated for a Historic Preservation Award by the Attleboro Historical Commission.  There will be a presentation at Attleboro City Hall on May 8 at 7 p.m.

Art ShowSaturday April 22, 11:00 am -5:00 pm
North Gate, 1873 Old Louisquisset Pike, Lincoln, RI  02865

Local artists James Voyer and his daughter Meg Voyer will display and have for sale fine art originals. Mediums include watercolor, oil, acrylics, and photography.

This is not a BVHS exhibit, but please come and enjoy the artwork.

Don’t miss Dan Bethel’s exhibit on April 23!  (See previous post).   It will be one of his largest and most interesting exhibits ever on the Blackstone Valley.

On March 19, Joseph Coduri gave a presentation at BVHS about Rhode Island train Stations through post cards from the early 20th century.  He also collects post cards with images of Rhode Island Trolleys.  Here is a postcard from his collection that is marked  “RR Trestle in Lincoln, RI”  The walking path through the Nature Conservancy Park on Wilbur Road is part of the old trolley line.

The Annual Meeting of the BVHS will be held from 1:30 p.m.-2:00 p.m. on May 21, 2017. It will be followed by the Christine Nowak Lecture at 2:15 p.m., which will be given by Gail Mohanty, Adjunct Professor of Bryant University, Technology and the Landscape.  Light Refreshments after the lecture.  Please stop by.

Blackstone Valley History through Ephemera-from Dan Bethel’s Collection

2:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m. 

April 23, 2017
Blackstone Valley Historical Society
North Gate Downstairs
1873 Old Louisquisset Pike
Lincoln, RI  02865

A grand exhibit showcasing collector Dan Bethel’s newest finds,  including photos of the Manville Mill,  an early artist’s rendition of the Lincoln Mall, and ephemera and photos from Lincoln Downs.  Don’t miss this!


Blackstone River Watershed Council’s Spring Speaker Schedule

Natural History on the Blackstone
Programs on the Natural Wonders of the Blackstone Valley

All programs will be held at:
Friends of the Blackstone River Environmental Center
100 New River Road
Lincoln, RI  02865

Please call Judy Hadley at 401-724-5292 or for more information or to register.


Spring Stargazing: 8:00 PM, Friday, March 31, 2017 

A stargazing talk with telescopes available for viewing afterwards. Francine Jackson, staff astronomer at Brown University’s Ladd Observatory, will speak about stars and planets observable in the spring night sky.

Fossils and Geology of the Blackstone River Basin: 3:00 PM,  Sunday, April 23, 2017  
Talk by Steve Emma, former adjunct professor of Botany at URI. Steve will bring along several examples of fossils from the area.

Birds of the Blackstone River: 2:00 PM, Sunday, May 7, 2017 
Talk by Roseanne Sherry, Master Gardener and local bird expert, which will be followed by a brief walk for those who are able.

Graphic from Blackstone River Watershed Council.


Rhode Island Railroad Stations: Post Card Views at the Turn of the 20th Century.

2:00 p.m.  March 19, 2017
Blackstone Valley Historical Society
North Gate Toll House
1873 Old Louisquisset Pike
Lincoln, RI  02865

Joseph Coduri, author of “Rhode Island Railroad Stations: Post Card Views at the Turn of the 20th Century” will be giving a presentation based on his book.  Using images from vintage post cards, Mr. Coduri will illustrate the role the railroads played in early twentieth century life in Rhode Island.  The railroads linked Rhode Island’s villages and connected them to the shoreline communities. Please join us!  This program is free and the public is welcome.  Donations are gratefully accepted.  Image is from the book, showing postcard views of the Westerly and Apponaug stations.

About the author:  Joseph E. Coduri received his Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the University of Rhode Island and began this career on the staff of the University’s Bureau of Government Research working with cities and towns throughout Rhode Island.

After 14 years he left the academic environment and became a Supervisor of Local Government Assistance for the State of Rhode Island. Joe retired in 2013 after a 45-year career in State service.

Joe has been collecting post cards of Rhode Island for the past 35 years, and since 1988 he has chaired or co-chaired the very successful Annual Exhibit & Show of the Rhode Island Post Card Club. His first goal in retirement was to produce Rhode Island Railroad Stations: Post Card Views at the Turn of  the 20th Century.  Joe and his wife Joan reside in Warwick, Rhode Island


Exhibit: “Snapshots of the Blackstone Valley” by Dan Bethel

3:00-5:00 p.m.
Sunday, February 26, 2017
North Gate
Blackstone Valley Historical Society
1873 Old Louisquisset Pike
Lincoln, RI  02865


Don’t miss the work of Lincoln’s favorite amateur photographer.  Please stop by for refreshments and to meet the artist.

Pawtucket Times interview with Dan Bethel


Just don’t want you to miss the Valley Talks..

The Museum of Work and Culture is presenting its second series of Valley talks. Talks are usually held at 1:30 p.m. and are free and open to the public.

February 12: Documentary filmmaker Kenneth Proudfoot screens The Amazing Life & Times of Austin T. Levy and will lead a Q&A on the production of the film that chronicles the life of one of Rhode Island’s leading entrepreneurs and philanthropists.

February 26: Ellen (Wright) Puccetti & Claire (Bissonnette) Wright Boudreault present the history of Wright’s Dairy Farm & Bakery, chronicling the growth of the family business, the experience growing up on the farm, and what goes into raising cows and making their famous pastry.

March 12: Writer and  historical reenactor Paul Bourget explores life in Civil War encampments, detailing issues of transportation, camp set ups, medicine, military chores, and especially food.