Greetings, readers. This week we are going to begin a deep dive into the story behind the grand old building at the western end of Annaquatucket Road, known as Mount Maple.
Well, here we are again, with our twentieth attempt to tally up the most endangered historic sites in our fair town for the 12 months ahead. In previous years, we have seen our share of successes promoting and preserving these special places – and sadly our share of failures too.
The home located at 60 Elam St. in Wickford was constructed in 1806 for successful Boston Post Road farmer Westgate Watson and his wife Dorcas on land he purchased in 1805 from John and Hannah (Boone) Franklin. Watson left his farm to his son Benjamin to run, and moved to Wickford to tend to numerous investments he had here in the village including an ownership share in the ship building and wharfing operation at the Point Wharf at the end of what is now Pleasant Street.
Many of us probably felt that 2020 lasted a very long time. But now that 2021 is upon us, we can make a fresh start – and one way to do that is to make some New Year’s resolutions. Of course, you can make these resolutions for all parts of your life – physical, emotional, intellectual – but have you ever considered some financial resolutions?
Here are a few such resolutions to consider.
Christmas 2020: The culmination of a year like no other. For some reason, this year has gotten me to reminiscing even more than normal, and normal for a guy whose nonprofit’s motto is “Living in the Past” is some pretty serious reminiscing. So anyway, I have thought about Christmases for awhile, and I settled comfortably upon Christmas 1964, back when we still lived in the funeral home before my dad died. That is when we really lived in Wickford, and besides, that was the best Christmas we ever had. So in the vernacular of the boy I once was, here’s a South County Christmas to remember.
The Reverend William P. Chipman, by all accounts, was eager to begin his service as pastor at the Quidnessett Baptist Church here in our fair town. So eager, indeed, that on that very snowy night of New Year’s Eve 1876, after he was told that the train from New London, Connecticut to Boston would not be stopping at the Davisville Station where he was to get off, for fear that it might get permanently stalled in the heavy snow that was falling, he convinced the conductor to slow the train down a bit as it rolled through the station and then jumped from the moving train into an appropriately-placed snow drift.
Last week we took a look at the history of Scrabbletown and the grist mill which anchored the community. Now let’s take a gander at some of the other Scrabbletown-era structures that will exist in the historic district.
If Swamptown were to have a twin sister, it would have to be Scrabbletown: another almost forgotten village located through the tangled swamps and forests, just three miles or so as the crow flies to the north-northwest. The residents of both hamlets were truly kindred spirits who struggled to scratch a living out of the hard-rocky soil of the area.
As the year draws to a close, it’s fair to say that we’ve all learned something about the social, political, physical and environmental forces that have affected everyone. And, perhaps in some ways, our lives were changed permanently. But as an investor, what lessons can you learn from 2020?
Those who know me best know full well that the one thing that weighs heavier on me than anything else is the injustices that have rained down upon the Native Peoples of America in general, and those in Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts in particular, for the more than four centuries since the first Anglo/European explorers and settlers set foot upon New England soils.
Driving by the little end-gabled one-story house at 772 Fletcher Road, you’d never imagine what an important part the little cottage played in the history of the area.
I guess Wickford is one of the few places where someone would describe a home that is more than one century old as a “new” house. But that certainly is the case here in “Ye Olde Quaint & Historic” as the vast majority of the buildings in the village proper were already around for quite some time in 1911, when Sea View Trolley motorman Walter L. Rose had a new home built for his family on the corner of Phillips and Champlain (later renamed Elam St.) Streets.
Back in the late 1800s, getting a reliable weather forecast was not much more than a dream to the average resident of “our fair town.” Beyond the “Old Farmer’s Almanac,” there just wasn’t any way for a farmer or a sailor to have much of a clue about what Mother Nature had to offer.
It’s almost Thanksgiving. And although 2020 may have been a difficult year for you, as it has been for many people, you can probably still find things for which you are thankful – such as your family. How can you show your appreciation for your loved ones?
The recent sale of a parcel of land on the shore of Silver Spring Pond out of the hands of a Cranston family member has gotten me a bit melancholy these days. I guess melancholy is a common feeling for all of us in the lost year that is 2020, but this is different. It’s personal, and it’s all about a long-gone Cranston family couple Pardon and Abby Cranston.
The death last week of 96-year-old Dr. Bodhan Kuzma has got me reminiscing. You see, Dr. Kuzma, who had his office at 181 West Main Street, diagonally across the street from the Cranston Funeral Home, my childhood home, was the first doctor I can remember.