Outhouses in Rhode Island

2:00 p.m.
January 26, 2020
North Gate Toll House
Upstairs Hall
1873 Louisquisset Pike
Lincoln, RI 02865



Raymond Wolf, Outhouses in Rhode Island

Author Ray Wolf is always looking for unique topics in Rhode Island; one day, he wondered if there happened to be enough outhouses left in the state to fill a book. Instead, so far, he’s located enough to fill three books. Come on Sunday, January 26, 2020,  for a fascinating tour of these now almost forgotten buildings of yesterday.

Local Outhouse

Since 2008, Ray Wolf has been writing historical books encompassing the history of Rhode Island, from the creation of the Scituate Reservoir and its significance on his family, to diners across the state; from villages within Rhode Island towns, to, of course, outhouses, volumes I, II and III. Mr. Wolf will also have books with him to purchase. Enjoy his travels throughout the state in search of what at one time was a necessary part of every household.  All welcome.

William Draper, WWII Combat Artist

New Date and Time!
2:00 pm, Sunday, December 8, 2019
Blackstone Valley Historical Society
1873 Old Louisquisset Pike
Lincoln, RI  02865
William Draper
William Draper

William Franklin Draper  (1912 – 2003)  was born in Hopedale, MA.  His family developed and patented numerous improvements in textile machinery throughout the 19th and early 20th century.  The family business, which became the Draper Corporation in 1917, was once one of the largest manufacturers of power looms and textile machinery in the country.

Draper was named after his grandfather, a Civil War Veteran and U.S. Ambassador to Italy. William Draper, the younger, was slight and had a quiet bookishness about him.  His passions were music and the arts. When the United States entered World War II he volunteered his services as an artist and was eventually given a commission as a Naval Reserve Officer and served as a combat artist. His assignments took him to the Aleutian Islands, Hawaii, and the South Pacific.
 Join former Park Ranger Joshua Bell from Blackstone River Valley National Historical Park as he traces this William Draper‘s remarkable journey around the Pacific using works of art Draper created along the the way.
This talk is free and all are welcome.
Image: Wikipedia

Rivals Unto Death: Rick Beyer Talks about Hamilton and Burr

2:00 pm, Sunday, October 20
Blackstone Valley Historical Society
1873 Old Louisquisset Pike, Lincoln, RI  02865

Rivals Unto Death: Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr

It is the most famous duel in American history. But what prompted the sitting Vice President of the United and the former Treasury Secretary to settle their differences with guns blazing? Rick Beyer, author of Rivals Unto Death, exploores their intricate thirty-year rivalry that led to their deadly encounter, following them through battlefields, courtrooms, bedrooms (!) and arguably the wildest presidential election in history — all the way to their day of destiny in Weekhawken New Jersey.

Rick Beyer

Rick Beyer is a New York Times best-selling author and an award-winning documentary filmmaker. His most recent book, Rivals Unto Death, is a compelling new account of the Hamilton-Burr rivalry. Beyer co-authored (with Elizabeth Sayles) The Ghost Army of World War II, a New York Times bestseller, and produced the companion PBS documentary. He has also made films for The History Channel, A&E, and National Geographic and penned the popular Greatest Stories Never Told series of history books. A graduate of Dartmouth College, he lives in Chicago, Il.



Great Road Day 2019

11:00 am -4:00 pm
September 21, 2019
1873 Old Louisquisset Pike, Lincoln, RI  02865

North Gate and the Bakery will be open 11:00 am to 4:00 pm on September 21 as part of Great Road Day. This event is free and all are welcome. Stop by to have a toll house cookie!   On Great Road Day, many of the historical properties along Great Road are open free to the public, including the Eleazer Arnold House, the Saylesville Friends Meeting House, Hearthside, Hannaway Blacksmith Shop, Moffett Mill, and Mt. Moriah Lodge.   This event is part of the Blackstone Heritage Corridor’s GO Series.    Flyer for Great Road Day

North Gate (1807) the home of the Blackstone Valley Historical Society is a two story building 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.

Aerial Photograph

Exhibits in North Gate on Great Road Day:  Six large aerial photographs of Saylesville Highlands   donated by Alan Laird of Lincoln, will be on display.  The photographs are by Avery Lord (1896–1967) Providence photographer.

The Bicentennial Quilt given to the Society by the City of Pawtucket will be hung downstairs. The quilt blocks were hand sewn by different quilters and feature landmarks around the Blackstone Valley, such as Lincoln Woods, the Monastery, the Moffet Mill, and Slater Mill.  A chart of the scenes and the known quilters will be displayed next to the quilt. BVHS welcomes any additional information about the quilt and its makers.

Pawtucket Bicentennial Quilt. Photo by Bob Evans


Upstairs some of BVHS’s historic signs relating to North Gate, the Grange and the Society will be on view, together with a folk art dollhouse hand made by Claire Boutiette from Manville. It was recently given to the BVHS by the Woonsocket Historical Society.




Arnold Bakery (1874)  This one-story, one-room bakery was relocated and rebuilt in its current spot adjacent to North Gate. In this building, Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Jenks Arnold began a Lincoln business that lasted nearly 100 years. The bakery contains a collection of antique baking equipment and memorabilia relating to Arnold’s Lonsdale Bakery.

On September 22 at 1:00 pm,  the Rehoboth Cemetery Commission is holding a service for Alexander Williams, a black naval Civil War Veteran from Rehoboth, who was buried in a unmarked grave. Beverly Baker found the grave and requested a veteran’s stone, which will be placed in Hix Cemetery, Brook Street, Rehoboth. Reception to follow at the Carpenter Museum, 4 Locust Street, Rehoboth.  Ken Postle will be officiating. Flyer here.



Tour of Cogswell Tower

Going into the Grotto

Tour of Cogswell Tower
6:30 p.m., Wednesday, July 31

he City of Central Falls in partnership with the Blackstone Valley Historical Society will entertain a tour of Historic Jenks Park. The
tour will include a stroll through the park anda view of the surrounding Blackstone Valley via the Cogswell tower. In addition, visitors will have access to the “hidden Grotto” located beneath the tower.

The tour will be held on Wednesday July 31st, and will begin at 6:30 PM from the
Broad Street entrance to the park.

City Councilman Bob Ferri will be doubling as the City’s Jenks Park “tour guide”
and as a Blackstone Valley Historical Society Board Member.

 A few pictures from the tour:

Climbing to the Tower
Bob Ferri

Valentine Whitman House

There will be an meeting at the Lincoln Town Hall on June 10 at 7:00 pm and the Valentine Whitman House will be discussed.   The town of Lincoln currently owns this rare and historic stone ender, the site of the first town meeting in Smithfield.  Preserve RI has developed two proposals to preserve the house, in both cases the Town may give up ownership.

Please stop by to find out more.

Annual Meeting and Nowak Lecture by Kevin Klyberg

May 19, 2019
1:30 p.m.  BVHS Annual Meeting and Election
2:00 p.m.  Talk: Blackstone Canal: Highway to the Headwaters, by Kevin Klyberg.
Location: Barn of the Captain Wilbur Kelly House Museum, 1071 Lower River Road, Lincoln, RI 02865

Blackstone Canal near Kelly House

Ranger Kevin Klyberg, from the Blackstone River Valley National Historic Park, will give the BVHS’s annual Christine Nowak Lecture in the Park, at the barn of the Captain Wilbur Kelly House Museum, 1075 Lower River Road, Lincoln, RI. The talk, “Blackstone Canal: Highway to the Headwaters, will take place at 2:00 p.m, immediately after the BVHS annual meeting. There will be a shuttle to take people from the small parking lot to the barn.

Kevin Klyberg, photo by Jim Hendrickson

The Blackstone Canal connected Worcester to Providence and was in use from 1828 to 1848. Construction started in 1825, and was completed in 1828. It increased prosperity for the Blackstone Valley. Farmers’ goods were easier to ship by water instead of along the dirt roads, and mills sprang up along the river. It was a two day trip for canal boats from Worcester to Providence. An overnight stop was made in Uxbridge. The canal was approximately 35 feet wide and ascended 451 feet, passing through 49 locks. It was designed by Benjamin Wright, chief engineer of the Erie Canal, and Holmes Hutchinson, later chief engineer of New York’s canals. However, in 1847, the Providence and Worcester Railroad opened, and the canal quickly became obsolete.

Blackstone Canal National Register Plaque

This lecture is free. Please join us at the Kelly Barn on Sunday, May 19.


April Events – Concert by Michael DiMucci

Live at North Gate: Concert by Michael DiMucci on April 28

Michael DiMucci
Michael DiMucci

On April 28 at 3:00 pm, tenor Michael DiMucci will be at North Gate with a program on music from the 1950s and 1960’s. This concert will be the 3rd part of his Americana series.

The concert celebrates historical music from Doo-wop to Folk to the early beginnings of Motown and early rock & roll.

Tickets are available at BrownPaperTickets.com (click on the graphic below), and we will also be selling them at the door.  Tickets will be cash and check only at the door.  For questions, please email bvhsri@gmail.com or call Jason at 401-862-4202.

To buy tickets online, click on this link or on the graphic!  BrownPaperTickets.com: https://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/4105521

Michael DiMucci studied piano with the late Chester Fruscione of Trenton, New Jersey and further at the Westminster Conservatory of Music in Princeton, NJ where he also studied pipe organ. Mr. DiMucci has played at several RI venues for special events as well as his own concerts and recitals such as Linden Place, Blithewold Mansion, Mount Hope Farm, The Dunes Club and others. As a singer, Mr. DiMucci apprenticed at Boheme Opera in Trenton, NJ for two seasons with
Maestro Joseph Pucciatti and studied voice with RI baritone and 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 at the University of Rhode Island’s Opera Workshop. There Mr. DiMucci performed many lead tenor
roles including Tamino in The Magic Flute; Nanki-Poo in the Mikado; Ralph Rackstraw in H.M.S. Pinafore; Rinuccio in Gianni Schicchi and Matt/Larry in Face On The Barroom Floor. Mr. DiMucci has also performed in concerts and recitals for Opera Providence as a guest singer. He has performed with the RI Philharmonic as a guest soloist and been a part of a large concert series for the
Town of Bristol, RI annually. Because of his diverse musical background, Michael is at home singing Broadway/Musical Theatre, Opera, classical literature, as well as jazz and the American Songbook.

He has recorded two studio albums, “O Holy Night” — a classical and secular Christmas album and his second CD, “Impossible Dream” contains Broadway and classical crossover and Italian selections including the work of RI composer Dr. Enrico Garzilli.  In addition to his studio albums, Michael has several live recordings and demos to his credit. Michael 2013 recording: “PRIMAVERA: Michael DiMucci Live” is currently available for download and features several original compositions by Mr. DiMucci. Michael’s new album is currently in
development and scheduled for release in Early Fall 2019.

Michael DiMucci is co-owner of an Art, Music and Beauty Studio, One Studio SMOOCH in Cranston, RI with Jenny DiMucci where he teaches art class, as well as piano and voice lessons throughout the week. Michael currently resides in Western Cranston, RI with his wife, Jenny, and sons, Nevan and Remy.

Michael DiMucci holding up the “March” of the Victorious 26th Yankee Division, at his first Americana concert.
Michael DiMucci playing the organ at North Gate






Lime Rock: An Exhibit by Dan Bethel

2:00 pm, March 31, 2019
North Gate
Blackstone Valley Historical Society
1873 Old Louisquisset Pike
Lincoln, RI 02865

Mt. Moriah Lodge
Mount Moriah Lodge, collection of Danny Bethel

Danny Bethel is returning to North Gate with a fascinating exhibit of his Lime Rock collection.  Bethel has been collecting photos, documents, post cards, and other ephemera relating to Lime Rock for 15 years.  Featured in this exhibit: the Lime Quarry, the Lime Rock Fire Department, the Lime Rock Baptist Church, the Smithfield Lime Rock Bank, the Lime Rock School House, Mount Moriah Lodge, and the Louisquisett Pike.  Among the items on display will be a document about a 19th century business arrangement regarding purchasing wood from a wood lot for the lime kilns. There will be photographs of Eddie Dowling and his wife Rachel (Ray) Dooley, and a program from The Glass Menagerie when Eddie Dowling was in the cast. (Rt. 146 was named after Eddie Dowling, an actor and producer born in Woonsocket.).  Another interesting piece of ephemera in the exhibit is a church bulletin from  the Lime Rock Baptist church that mentions fixing the roof after the hurricane of 1938.

Don’t miss this show on Sunday, March 31, 2:00 p.m.




Michael DiMucci

On April 28 at 3:00 pm, tenor Michael DiMucci will be at North Gate with a program on music from the 1950s and 1960’s. This concert will be the 3rd part of his Americana series.  Tickets are available at BrownPaperTickets.com (click on the graphic below), and we will also be selling them at the door.  Click on this link or on the graphic! BrownPaperTickets.com: https://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/4105521


“The World in One Square Mile: Central Falls”

2:00 p.m., Sunday, March 10
Blackstone Valley Historical Society
1873 Old Louisquisset Pike
Lincoln, RI  02865

Morgan Grefe from the R. I. Historical Society will talk about her children’s book, “The World in One Square Mile: Central Falls,” an illustrated history told from the viewpoints of immigrant children in periods ranging from 1700 to 2006. Free, all welcome. Children welcome.