Jamestown Historical Society News
Welcome to summer! Even though the season doesn't start officially for another seven days, JHS summer activities begin this weekend.
Windmill Hill, June 16
June 16 is a busy day on Windmill Hill.
The windmill opens for the summer this Saturday. It will be open every Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m., as well as a couple of afternoons during the Jamestown 350 week, which will be Aug. 11 to 19. Come and visit. With all the interest now in wind farms, it's fascinating to see how wind was used before we turned to fossil fuels.
The Quaker meetinghouse open house is also June 16. The Quakers, officially the Society of Friends, are the oldest religious group in Jamestown. They began holding meetings in 1684 - only six years after the town was incorporated - and built their first meetinghouse in 1709. During the American Revolution much of Jamestown was destroyed, including the Quaker meetinghouse, and in 1786-1787 the Quakers built the current meetinghouse near the windmill.
The open house will introduce visitors to both the building and to Quaker teachings. The Friends still meet every summer Sunday at 10:30 a.m. at the meetinghouse. The meeting is open to all.
Historic Districts, June 21
Pamela Kennedy, deputy director of the R.I. Historical Preservation and Heritage Commission, is coming to Jamestown at the invitation of the Shoreby Hill historic district study committee in cooperation with the Jamestown Planning Commission and the Jamestown Historical Society. She is the commission's expert on historic districting and will be at the Jamestown Philomenian Library, on June 21, from 7 to 9 p.m. to discuss the pros and cons of establishing historic districts - in particular of establishing one in Jamestown.
The possibility of historic districting is included in the town's long range plan and this is your chance to learn more about what it means and why so many areas with beautiful old homes like ours are opting to include historic districts in their zoning codes.
Museum Opening, June 30
Saturday, June 30, is our big day. The museum - with its newly renovated interior - opens. Our summer exhibit, "The Jamestown Bridge, 1940-2007: Concept to Demolition" begins. You are all invited to an opening day party at the museum starting at 1 p.m.
When you come to the museum on the 30th, the outside will look the same - or almost the same - as last year. A rear exit door that has been installed in place of the rear window on the east side is hardly noticeable as you approach the building. The windows have been restored to make them look exactly the same as they always have. On the inside we've moved the clock back to 1886 to recapture the spirit of the one-room schoolhouse in the front room. In the smaller back room, which was added when the building was the town library, we've kept the library shelves and, we hope, the spirit of the library.
When the exterior is done in the fall, the building still won't look much different, but the landscaping and entry will. Betty Hubbard has proposed a preliminary design for the landscaping that makes great use of our rhododendrons, which look so beautiful in the spring, and simplifies the perennial beds.
This year's summer exhibit on the demolition of the Jamestown Bridge is a joint project of the JHS, the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT), and the Public Archeology Laboratory, Inc. (PAL). It premieres the RIDOT/PAL traveling exhibit documenting the 2006 demolition of the old Jamestown Bridge. In Jamestown, the show also includes pictures and artifacts of the bridge's history from our collection that won't be part of the exhibit when it travels to other locations across the state.
The Jamestown Bridge,
A new edition of "The Jamestown Bridge, 1940-2007: Concept to Demolition," by Sue Maden will be released in early July, though we hope to have a few copies available at the opening. It's an update of Sue's 1990 Jamestown Bridge book with new chapters on the demolition of the old bridge and on the impact of the bridges on Jamestown since 1940, plus lots of new photographs. It is being published by the Jamestown Press and as soon as it's released it will be on sale at the museum and other places around town.
Horsehead Fundraiser, July 28
Don't forget the date: You'll be hearing more about this gala event soon.