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.

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.