A few local historical talks


March 22, 2015  2:00 p.m.: Don’t miss Ray Wolf’s talk on the building of the Scituate Reservoir and the lost villages of Scituate. at North Gate, 1873 Louisquisset Pike., an event of the Blackstone Valley Historical Society.  (see last post).   Event free and open to the public.

Valley Breeze article

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friendmeeting3April 15, 2015, 6:30 p.m. Saylesville Meeting House, 374 Great Road.  Through letters, diaries, and journals, historian Robert Geake uncovered some oddities and wonders that amazed New England’s pioneers. Join the author for an illustrated talk on his most recent book. Following the lecture, copies of the book will be available for purchase and signing at Arnold House. Historic New England members, free; non-members, $5; registration recommended. (401) 728-9696;www.historicnewengland.org.  Image from providencefriends.org

sticksandstonesApril 25, 2015.  The Rhode Island Historical Preservation and Heritage Commission Annual Conference will be held this year in Chepachet Village. All day event.



FullSizeRenderApril 26, 2015, 2:00 p.m.
at North Gate.  Judy Hadley, R. I. State Mineral Hunters,  Cumberlandite.  


Ray Wolf Brings the Scituate Reservoir to Life at North Gate

ReservoirSunday, March 22nd, 2015

 2:00 P.M. North Gate Toll House, Upstairs Hall

1873 Old Louisquisset Pike (Route 246), Lincoln, RI 02865

  Early last century, Providence’s quest for water became a nightmare for the town of Scituate.  Among those who had to leave their homesteads to make way for this massive project was Ray Wolf’s family.  Through the beauty and heartbreak of his grandmother’s poetry, Ray has kept alive the total change in the lives of the hundreds of families whose homes were demolished for the construction of the Scituate Reservoir.

The construction of the Reservoir, once the land was cleared, was an engineering marvel.  Follow Ray through the amazing work involved in bringing water miles from its origin to its intended goal.  The State of Rhode Island incredibly documented every part of the project, and photographed every building intended for demolition, every major shovelful which brought the finished product a little bit closer.  And, Ray has compiled these photographs to bring that part of Rhode Island history to life.  Come witness the birth of the Scituate Reservoir.

Ray will also have copies of several of his major books, including The Lost Villages of Scituate, and The Scituate Reservoir, for purchase and autographing.

All talks free, the public is welcome.  Donations gratefully accepted.



The New Year and Upcoming Events

Upcoming Talks:

Talks are free and open to the public.

ReservoirMarch 22, 2015, 2:00 p.m. North Gate Toll House.  Raymond Wolf, local historian, will be giving a talk on the building of the Scituate Reservoir.

The Scituate Reservoir was a massive undertaking in the early part of the 20th century.  How was it built, why was it placed where it is, and what sacrifices were made for it?  Ray Wolf, whose family was directly affected by its construction, will explain its construction, and relate memories of that time in northern Rhode Island.

Image: Raymond A. Wolf’s book, The Scituate Reservoir



FullSizeRenderApril 26, 2015, 2:00 p.m. North Gate Toll House.  Judy Hadley, R. I. State Mineral Hunters,  Cumberlandite.   DATE CORRECTED.

Our State rock, Cumberlandite, is only found here.  How can that be?  Judy Hadley, of the Rhode Island Mineral Hunters, will introduce you to this unique rock, and the reason it is found nowhere else.

Image: This is a segment of railroad track from the historic Iron Mine Railroad.  This piece was cut from a longer piece that was dug out of the ground behind the Elder Ballou Meeting House Cemetery.  The Iron Mine Railroad operated for less than ten years and was used to transport quarried cumberlandite, which was used as trap rock.  Presented to the BVHS courtesy of Judy Hadley and the Blackstone River Watershed Council.


News-The Blackstone River Valley National Park

The Blackstone River Valley is now the home of America’s newest national park. President Obama signed the act to create the park on December 20.  See the Valley Breeze article


Holiday Concert featuring the Cumberland-Lincoln Community Chorus


Holiday Concert

Live at North Gate


Saturday, December 6, 2014 at 7:00 p.m.
North Gate Toll House Upstairs Hall
1873 Old Louisquisset Pike (Rt 246) Lincoln, RI  02865

Tickets: Adults $10; Children $5, under 10 FREE  Call Jason at 401-862-4202, or email bvhsri@gmail.com and we will  hold your tickets for pickup at the door.   If you would like to pay in advance, please send a check made out to the Blackstone Valley Historical Society,  indicate the number of tickets, and mail to BVHS, PO Box 125, Lincoln, RI  02865.  We will be selling tickets at the door, so just show up!


This concert is a joint fundraiser for both CLCC and the Blackstone Valley Historical Society. We had a great time last year, Don’t miss it!11413236354_9ff23b04d8_z

For over 40 years, CLCC has been entertaining Rhode Island and Southern Massachusetts.  Their distinguished director, Dr. Judith Lynn Stillman, was described by nine-time Grammy winner Wynton Marsalis as “a rare find, a remarkable virtuoso, and a consummate artist.” Stillman holds Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctoral degrees from The Juilliard School, where she received the Dethier Prize for Outstanding Pianist and won the Juilliard Concerto Competition.



Photos are from last year’s concert.





Hand-Made Furniture–Hank Gilpin

The Beauty of Handmade Furniture Comes to North Gate!


November 9th, 2:00 p.m.
North Gate Toll House
1873 Old Louisquisset Pike (Rt 246)
Lincoln, RI  02865

Free and open to the public.

Hank44For over 40 years, Hank Gilpin has designed and made beautiful furniture using domestic hardwoods.  Come enjoy images of some of his finest hand-crafted pieces.  He also is a landscape artist, and will show examples of this work, also.

Hank Gilpin graduated from Boston University with a degree in photojournalism, but, a chance elective at Rhode Island School of Design led to his chosen profession of woodworking. He works exclusively in solid wood to hand-tool his masterpieces.

45Gilpin’s work was featured in New American Furniture at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, in 1989, the show that established studio furniture nationally.

Come for an afternoon of beautiful, and useful artwork by one of the Blackstone Valley’s master artists.

 Hank Gilpin’s website



Live at North Gate: Ken Lyon Returns

Live at North Gate Concert Series

Ken Lyon and Pacific Coast Highway

DSC_0014COctober 25, 2014  7:00 p.m.  Ken Lyon returns for a night of Blues and Jazz to benefit BVHS!

Tickets: Members $15, Nonmembers: $20, Children 12 and under: $10.

Contact Jason (401-862-4202 or email jjhdio70@gmail.com to reserve tickets.

North Gate, 1873 Old Louisquissett Pike, Lincoln, RI 02865. Read more


Battle in the Graveyard: 1934 Textile Strike

Presentation by Glenn Laxton, Sunday, October 5, 2014 at 2:00 p.m.

North Gate Toll House.  

tombstoneIt was September, 1934.  Low wages and terrible working conditions brought worker unrest to the forefront.  In Saylesville, the streets were jampacked as thousands of textile employees left their jobs and clustered at Moshassuck cemetery.  To quell the unrest, the National Guard was called, resulting in a free-for-all of rioting and gunshots. Read more…


Great Road Open House Day

Great Road logoThe Lincoln Legacy Loop: Explore Ten Historic Sites for FREE on Saturday, September 27, 11:00 a.m. -5:00 p.m.

Lincoln, R.I – September 2014 – On Saturday, September 27, ten sites along Lincoln’s historic Great Road will host special tours and displays with a focus on travel and transportation; ALL SITES ARE OPEN FREE to the public between 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.  Take tours, explore the area, and discover how local residents and visitors traveled about from the seventeenth century to today.  Organizations participating in the event include: Blackstone Valley Historical Society; Historic New England’s 1693 Arnold House; 1835 Captain Wilbur Kelly House, the Town of Lincoln’s 1694 Valentine Whitman Jr. House, 1810 Hearthside House, 1812 Moffett Mill, Chase Farm Park and the new site of the Pullen’s Corner Schoolhouse (1867 and 1850), 1870 Hannaway Blacksmith Shop; 1703 Saylesville Meeting House; and the 1740 Israel Arnold House which is privately owned and currently for sale by the owners, but will be open to the public on this special day.

Visitors are invited to board any one of three shuttle buses which will depart on three different loops of the sites and start at the Town of Lincoln’s Gateway Park parking lot, the Chase Farm Park parking lot, and the Blackstone Valley Historical Society.  Step-on guides will be featured on the buses to provide an overall history of Great Road along the way.    On-site or street parking available at each site with the exception of Moffett Mill and the Israel Arnold House.  There is no parking at the Moffett Mill and very limited access at the Israel Arnold House, so the best way to access these sites is to step on the shuttle which departs from Gateway Park parking lot.  * Some of the sites offer limited parking.  Some of the sites are also participants in the Smithsonian’s Museum Day.  Visit www.smithsonianmag.com/museumday  for more information.for more information.  Read more

Thank you to sponsors Twin River Casino, Conway Tours, the Blackstone Valley Tourism Council, Don and Pat Hysko, the Great Road Historic Sites Collaborative, and the Town of Lincoln.

Special Exhibit at North Gate for Great Road Open House Day

Slice of Life (Past): Photographs of the Blackstone Valley, on loan from the R.I. State Archives.


Two children photographed at “14 Miles to Providence”, Peleg Arnold ‘s 1774 milestone on Old Great Road, Union Village, North Smithfield in the 1920s.





S. S. Kresge Co. Department Store, March 9, 1941, 116/130 Main Street, Woonsocket, RI.



Sharing a few links to other historical societies’ calendars

A few nearby historical societies have been sharing their event lists with us, so we’re going to post them here. Some interesting things are going on!

Historic New England’s calendar is here

Click here for the Johnston Historical Society’s Fall Calendar of Events.  On September 28,, they’ll be having a lecture and a tour of the Verde Vineyards in Johnston.

The North Attleborough Historical Society’s Calendar is here.

The Woonsocket Historical Society has a new website!