World War II Exhibit

World War II Helmets
World War II Helmets from the collection of Kevin Heskin

World War II:  Collection of Kevin Heskin 2-4 pm, November 13

Northgate, Blackstone Valley Historical Society, 1873 Old Louisquisset Pike
The exhibit is free. All are welcome.

On November 13, Kevin Heskin will take us back to the days of World War II, bringing examples of his extensive collection.  Having spent over a decade in search of World War II memorabilia from all over the world, he has uniforms belonging to armies from all major countries, including Spanish, German, Japanese, Italian, and American soldiers. He also has a large collection of weapons: swords, rifles and bayonets, plus gas masks, helmets, map cases, first-aid kits, medals, and many other items from this period.

Join us, and relive the second “war to end all wars” as seen through artifacts from many countries.

 All guests are asked to wear masks while enjoying this exhibit.

Exhibit: Dan Bethel Collection on Oct 23

Sketch of Moffat Mill Collection of Dan Bethel

1-4 p.m. October 23, 2021, Blackstone Valley Historical Society, 1873 Old Louisquisset Pike, Lincoln, RI 02865.

Dan Bethel, who has amazed us with his collections on historic Lime Rock, and on Lincoln’s vanished dairy farms, will be having a new exhibit on October 23.

He has created two exhibits from his collection. The first exhibit will feature Moffett Mill, and the second, items from Lincoln’s 1971 Centennial.

Lincoln Centennial: This exhibit will showcase 90 newspaper articles on the many events from start to finish of the Lincoln Centennial in 1971. It will also include 20 snapshots of the River Road parade and other collectible items from the day.   

Moffett Mill: The other portion of the exhibit will showcase a large and comprehensive look at the Moffett Mill and the Moffett family.

    Several large and small display cases will  showcase everything from a blacksmith’s ledger to daily work journals to pictures of the mill as well as personal  items like books and family pictures, even two photos of the family car!

Great Road Day Sept 25

The Blackstone Valley Historical Society will be open 1-4 pm on Saturday, September 25 as part of Great Road Day.

Northgate Toll House (1807) 1873 Old Louisquisset Pike, Lincoln, RI.  Open 1:00 pm-4:00 pm. The home of the Blackstone Valley Historical Society. This two story building was originally built as a tollgate and residence for the toll collector for the Louisquisset Turnpike. The Pike, faster and straighter than Great Road, was the highway of its time and was built to expedite the shipment of lime to Providence. In later years, the building served as Lime Rock Grange #22, a gathering place for local farm families. It was sold to the BVHS in 1971 for the sum of one dollar.

Exhibit at Northgate:  The Papers of Arnold Jenckes. Jenckes (1797-1873) was a farmer and a cooper, who made lime casks for the Harris Lime Company. His farm was near the present-day Lincoln Mall.  The papers include bills, receipts, paid IOU’s, a running tab at a general store, his commission as captain of the militia, and lists of the members of his company. These bits and pieces, that may have come from his desk drawers, allow us to see a little bit of an everyday farmer’s life in the 19th century. 

Lincoln became a town only a few years before Arnold Jenckes died.  He was a son of Rufus Jenckes, who lived on Jenckes Hill Road, and a descendant of Joseph Jenckes, the founder of Pawtucket.  In 2017 Eleonore Costa donated this collection of his papers that she and Margaret Ott discovered at Lampercock Spring Farm on Wilbur Road in the 1960s.

We will be displaying the March 10, 1871 issue of the Central Falls Weekly Visitor, which was published from 1869-1891, showing the entry about the “Smithfield act” where the announcement that “the act dividing the Town of Smithfield into three towns under the names of Smithfield, LIncoln, and Slater, and annexing a portion of the town to Woonsocket was passed unanimously” by the state senate.

Arnold’s Lonsdale Bakery (1874) 1873 Louisquisset PikeLincoln, RI Open 1:00 pm-4:00 pmThis one-story, one-room bakery was relocated and rebuilt in its current spot adjacent to Northgate. Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Jenks Arnold began a Lincoln business in 1874 that lasted nearly 100 years. The bakery contains a collection of antique baking equipment and memorabilia relating to Arnold’s Lonsdale Bakery

Great Road Day 2021

When the Town of Lincoln separated from Smithfield in 1871, Great Road was already 200 years old, having been built in 1683.  What is remarkable is that some of the original buildings still remain where they were during those earliest years when Great Road was the one of the country’s first highways.  It ran between Providence and Mendon, Mass.  Today, there are a number of 17th, 18th and 19th century buildings as well along this historic roadway that have been preserved and are open to the public.  

On Saturday, September 25th, the annual Great Road Day welcomes visitors for free admission to 10 of these sites.  Those sites include: Arnold House (c.1693), Saylesville Friends Meetinghouse (c.1703), Mount Moriah Lodge (c.1804), Northgate-Blackstone Valley Historical Society (c.1807), Arnold Bakery (c.1874), the Valentine Whitman House (c.1694) as well as Hearthside (c.1810), Moffett Mill (c.1812), Hannaway Blacksmith Shop (c.1880), and the Pullen’s Corner Schoolhouse (c.1850).  The buildings represent an impressive sampling of what was located here in the community during the time when the town was formed.  The event runs from 11 a.m.-4 p.m.

As part of the Town’s commemoration of its 150th anniversary, two shuttle buses are being provided to make visits to all the sites easier, with continuous runs between each site and parking areas.  Parking is available at lots at Gateway Park, Chase Farm Park, Hearthside, and at Mt. Moriah Lodge.  Roadside parking at Whitman House and Northgate. To further encourage visits to each site, a Passport will be given to each, which will get stamped at the individual sites, and if all 10 blocks are stamped to show that the visit was made, then a gift will be given.
At the Valentine Whitman Jr. House, stop in to learn how Preserve Rhode Island, who recently acquired this stone-ender house from the town, plans to restore the building and give it new life.  The house was the site of the first town meeting of the town of Smithfield.  

The Mt. Moriah Lodge is one of the earliest Masonic lodges in the state and where  the most notable early town residents were members.  The Lodge opens once a year to the public which is on Great Road Day.  The first structure on this site was a one-room schoolhouse, but in 1804 local masons established a new lodge here.  Today, meetings are still held by the lodge regularly. 

At the opposite end of Great Road’s Historic District is a rare journey back to the 17th and early 18th century that is featured at Historic New England’s Arnold House, a unique stone-ender house with a massive chimney end wall, as well as the Saylesville Friends Meetinghouse, one of the oldest continuously-used Quaker meetinghouses in New England.  Both properties feature the stories of the town’s earliest settlers, the Arnolds, and other notable family names of Lincoln’s early residents.

At the center of it all is the Great Road Heritage Campus at Chase Farm Park, where several of the historic buildings are located.  At the entrance to the Park is the Hannaway Blacksmith Shop, where visitors can watch the blacksmith shape hot metal into useful implements.  Next door at the recently relocated one-room schoolhouse, Pullen’s Corner but also known as the “Hot Potato Schoolhouse”, visitors can learn what lessons area farm children of all ages were learning here together, what recess was like, and even what the original outhouse might have looked like.  

Board the shuttle bus to take a tour of the Moffett Mill, accessible only by the shuttle, to this rare relic that appears to be frozen in time, with original tools and belt system that operated the machinery in this wooden machine shop still in place.  This mill did custom work for area businesses and farms, from making parts, to wagons and buggies, to laces for shoes and corsets around the period of the Civil War.  

What were the fashions of the day?  Find out with a trip to Hearthside and see examples of dresses, underclothes, and a man’s uniform from the Civil War.  Docents in period attire welcome you to explore through three floors of this stone mansion.  Besides the indoor exhibits, a small Civil War encampment will be set up on the grounds, and fall treats will be for sale of home-made apple crisp, popcorn, and apple cider.  A selection of books about the Civil War and Abraham Lincoln are available for purchase in Hearthside’s Gift Shop too.

BVHS Annual Meeting

We hope you are all well and looking forward to the coming year of events. As always, your suggestions and participation are welcome.

The BVHS Annual Meeting and Election will take place at 1:30 June 27 at North Gate at 1873 Old Louisquisset Pike, where board members will be elected and reports will be presented. It will be an in-person meeting after this long year of Covid-19. The Nominating Committee for the BVHS, Don Coelho, Robert Ferri, Richard Walker, Kevin Heskin, and Kevin Bedford, announces that the slate of officers remains the same: Jason Dionne, President, Lori Melucci, Vice-President, John Houghton, Treasurer, Francine Jackson, Secretary, Gail Harris, Director and Member-at-Large, Bob Ferri, Director and Member-at-Large, and Don Coelho, Director and Member-at-Large. If you are interested in joining the board, which organizes history-related activities, lectures, and exhibits and cares for North Gate, the Bakery, and the Fire Station, please contact Don Coelho at Nominations will be also be taken on the floor at the meeting.

We invite you to join the meeting and attend the annual Christine Nowak Lecture that follows. This year the lecture will be by Ken Postle, whose efforts to preserve Blackstone Valley history through conservation of its historic cemeteries have often been chronicled in this newsletter. The title of his talk topic will be “Inconvenient Burials.”

Exhibit: World War II Collection of Kevin Heskin

This exhibit has been postponed until spring. The current indoor and outdoor social gathering limit is 10 people. Although we are disappointed, we hope everyone will stay well and safe and we look forward to seeing you next year.

2-4 pm, Saturday, November 21, 2020

The World War II Collection of Kevin Heskin

Blackstone Valley Historical Society, 1873 Old Louisquisset Pike, Lincoln, RI  02865

On Saturday, November 21st, Kevin Heskin will again bring an exhibit of his remarkable collection of World War II artifacts to North Gate.

Heskin has long been fascinated with the twentieth century World Wars.  He has spent more than a decade hunting down everything he can find that memorializes these devastating times in our history. His collection includes German, Italian, French, Spanish, British, and Japanese pieces as well as American ones. 

In 2017, he amazed us with his exhibit of his World War I collection at BVHS, and in February 2019, he showed many pieces from his World War II collection. This month, we will have the opportunity to see more highlights from his World War II memorabilia, including uniforms, helmets, map cases, gas masks, rifles, and other items that have survived from the 1940s. 

Don’t miss this event!   We ask that all our guests wear masks and practice social distancing while viewing the collection.

Dairy Days: An Exhibit by Dan Bethel

2:00 – 4:00 pm, October 24 , 2020. North Gate, Blackstone Valley Historical Society

Do you remember when the milkman came to your door, with real milk bottles, some of which were topped with cream? Dan Bethel will take us down Memory Lane, with his collection of bottles from many of the local dairies.

Milk Bottle
Chase and Butterfly Farm

Approximately one hundred milk bottles from Lincoln dairies will be displayed. Many farms will be represented, with different types and styles of bottles,  including painted and slug versions, and many size variations. Other dairy farm items like milk caps will also be on display.

Dairies represented in this exhibit will include Maplehurst,  Henry Jordan Farm, Chase Farm, Butterfly Farm, Chase & Butterfly Farm, Lincoln Woods Farm, Comstock Farm, Rene Lamare, Manville Dairy, Stony Brook, Theinert Farm, Fair Oaks Farm, Pascale Farm, Lonsdale Co. Farm, Jordan Bros/Echo Farm, El Rancho, Carl Franz, Ulrich Demaris, Highland Cottage, Maple Farm, and Clarke Farm.

Dan Bethel is known throughout the Blackstone Valley for his many and varied local collections. Come enjoy a trip back to the more simpler days of having milk delivered right to your door!

Unfortunately, no milk, or other refreshments, will be available. We ask that our guests wear masks.

Great Road Day

BVHS will be open on Great Road Day, September 26, 2020 from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm. We will be showcasing the work of Greg Duhamel, Johnelle Bergeron, and Ken Postle and all of the other volunteers who have been doing wonderful work restoring historic cemeteries. This exhibit will focus on their work in 2020. Please stop by see some pictures of some of their work from the Facebook group, River Road and Blackstone River Valley Cemeteries. The Arnold’s Lonsdale Bakery will also be open. Please stop by!

Johnelle Bergeron repairs a gravestone

We ask that everyone wear a mask. We want to have fun and be safe. Thank you.

On Great Road Day, many of the historic properties on Great Road will be open from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm, including Hearthside, Hannaway Blacksmith’s shop, Pullen’s Corner Schoolhouse, Mount Moriah Lodge, and the Saylesville Friend’s Meetinghouse and Cemetery.

Great Road Day Flyer

Great Road Day Map

Events in April

All spring events at BVHS have been canceled due to the COVID epidemic.  The Cemetery Conservation Workshop on April 8, and the talk by Charlotte Taylor, RIHPHC, on April 19, have been cancelled.  The annual meeting in May and the Christine Nowak lecture by Morgan Grefe, RIHS, have also been cancelled.  We hope to reschedule all at a later date.  Everyone stay safe!

Concert: Michael DiMucci “The Sensational 70’s”

We are sorry to say that the concert has been postponed.  We are hoping to have more information for you soon. Thank you.

Michael DiMucci
Michael DiMucci

On March 15, Michael DiMucci, tenor and pianist will present a concert of songs and their stories from America’s past. This program features well-known melodies from the sensational 70s!

Come celebrate with the music that defined the decade from country to pop to soul to singer-songwriter pieces and more. Tickets are $20.   This concert is a fundraiser for BVHS. Tickets are available on in advance, and will be sold at the door.  Click on the links (on top or below) to buy tickets online. There is a small service fee for online ticket purchase.

DiMucci studied piano with the late Chester Fruscione of Trenton, NJ, and continued his studies at the Westminster Conservatory of Music in Princeton, NJ, where he also studied pipe organ. He has played at Linden Place, Blithewold Mansion, the Dunes Club, and many other venues in RI. As a singer, he apprenticed at Boehme Opera in Trenton, NJ for two seasons with Maestro Joseph Pucciatti,  and studied voice with RI baritone, artistic director of Opera Providence, Rene de la Garza.  He has performed throughout the New England area in large and small venues for concerts, private recitals, special events, and weddings, and was a regular guest artist, singing lead tenor roles, at the University of Rhode Island’s Opera Workshop.  He has also performed in concerts and recitals for Opera Providence, the RI Philharmonic, and the annual concert series for the Town of Bristol. Because of his diverse musical background, he is at home singing Broadway/musical theatre and opera, as well as jazz and the American Songbook.

He has recorded two studio albums, “O Holy Night,” a classical and secular Christmas album, and “Impossible Dream,” which contains Broadway, classical crossover, and Italian selections, including the work of RI composer, Dr. Enrico Garzilli.   His live recording, “Primavera: Michael DiMucci Live” is available for download and features several original compositions by DiMucci.

Michael DiMucci is co-owner of an Art, Music, and Beauty Studio, One Studio Smooch in Cranston with his wife, Jenny DiMucci.




What’s Happening at BVHS

BVHS Bathrooms
BVHS Bathrooms in Progress

In February we will be making updates to the bathrooms, so there will be no events at North Gate, so we hope you will stop by the following event at the North Smithfield Heritage Association on February 20.



6:30 pm Thursday, February 20,  Christian de Rezendes will be showing selected portions of Slatersville: America’s First Mill Village at Heritage Hall, North Smithfield Heritage Association, 101 Greene Street, North Smithfield, RI 02896. Sequences planned are North Smithfield’s founding in 1871, the Centennial Celebration in 1971, and the creation of Centennial Park.  He will also be showing a segment about a Slater family letter from the BVHS archives.



Michael DiMucci playing the organ at North Gate

3:00 pm, Sunday, March 15:  Michael DiMucci returns to North Gate with a new concert.  Fundraiser for BVHS. Details TBA soon.



6:30 pm-8:15 pm, Wednesday, April 8, Volunteers-In-Parks Skills Workshop: Cemetery Conservation Skills, offered by the Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor and the Blackstone River National Historic Park at the Blackstone Valley Historical Society, 1873 Old Louisquisset Pike, Lincoln, RI  02865.  Presenters: Betty and Carlo Mencucci, Greg Duhamel, and Johnelle Bergeron.

The Skills Workshop series is designed for volunteers to learn a new skill or sharpen skills you already have.  This workshop will provide you with a better understanding of historic graveyards, and you will be able to advise people on how to help care for them.  The State of RI celebrates Historic Cemetery Restoration & Awareness Day on Saturday, April 11. To learn about volunteer activities, visit the events page at

Registration for this workshop is required. Contact Suzanne Buchanan no later than April 2, 2020. RSVP to or call 508-234-4242. Read more.