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I expect that during the fall and early winter of 1938, Leonard Joslin’s temper would flare each and every time someone mentioned the construction of the new railroad underpass at Wickford Junction. Not that Joslin had anything against the railroad, mind you. He had worked for years as a railroad bridge supervisor and left the employ of the railroad in good graces.

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We have taken a look, piecemeal, in a number of past columns over the years at the events that brought about the construction of the massive fabric mill along the banks of the Shewatuck River in Lafayette. Now that I see that the 92-foot-tall chimney there, is coming dawn after nearly a century and a half of braving the elements, I thought we ought to examine this place more closely.

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Over the years, we have examined a number of old church buildings that have been repurposed, giving them a new life after they no longer can be of service to their congregations. We’ve seen churches that have become homes, senior housing complexes and even a warehouse. But today we will be taking a gander at a building that was a Church, not once, but twice, not to mention a laundry and a popular dentist’s office.

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Every once in a while, a “what’s it” turns out to be the last physical reminder of a page of an episode in the history of our fair town. The ruins on Cornelius Island, the concrete and brick chimney on Old Baptist Road and the mill foundations on Featherbed Lane are artifacts such as this; they are all the last tangible reminders of something that was an important aspect of North Kingstown’s history many years ago.

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Reliable emergency medical transportation is something we take for granted these days.  Especially in these COVID19 days, we all rest comfortably knowing that an EMT and an ambulance are just a 911 phone call away. But things weren’t always that way.  This week we are going to take a look at how this vital public service began in our fair town.