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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.

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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.

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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.

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With the political season upon us, and elections at the national, state and local levels up for grabs, I thought it might be interesting to take a look back in time. You know what they say, “All politics are local,” and frankly things that happen at that “local” level generally have the greatest impact upon regular folks like you and me. So what was going on at the local level back at the beginnings of our fair town? Who was in charge and what were the vital issues of the day?

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As irrational as it sounds, it just seemed to me like Irving Sheldon would always be here. He was just about the first local history expert to reach out to me about a quarter of a century ago when I began my personal journey through the history of our fair town. Then, and always, he was kind and generous with his time. He loved Saunderstown as if it were a person, a member of his family, and he enjoyed chatting about it, reminiscing about it, immensely.

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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.