2009-06-04 / Island History

Jamestown Historical Society News

By Rosemary Enright

Summer is fast upon us and JHS is celebrating the solstice with the opening of the windmill, the Friends meetinghouse, and the Jamestown Historical Society museum.

Windmill and

Meetinghouse Open June 20

The Jamestown windmill will open officially on Saturday, June 20, and will be open every Saturday and Sunday through the Columbus Day weekend from 1 to 4 p.m.

The Conanicut Friends will host an open house at the Quaker meetinghouse on Weeden Lane, just south of the windmill, to coincide with the windmill opening. The Friends hold meeting every Sunday at 10:30 a.m. and all are invited to attend. Like the windmill, the meetinghouse is always open by appointment.

Museum Open June 21 "Educating Jamestown: Then and Now," an update of last summer's "School Day!" exhibit, will be unveiled at the museum on Sunday, June 21, with a reception from 1 to 4 p.m. During the reception, visitors will also be invited to visit the JHS vault in the basement of the Town Hall across the street, where most of the archives, photographs, and clothing in the JHS collection are now housed. Sue Maden and other members of the JHS Collections Committee will be on hand to show the vault and demonstrate to visitors how to access information about the collection in the database.

The museum will be open every Wednesday through Sunday afternoon from 1 to 4 p.m. until Labor Day (and weekends until Columbus Day). The new exhibit "Educating Jamestown" retains much of the information about, and pictures of, the early days of public education in Jamestown. Material has been added about more recent events, and Lawn Avenue students have provided "kid's text" for the benefit of younger visitors. At the suggestion of some of last year's visitors, we have also added many more pictures of past students both in the displays and in notebooks.

Visit us to learn the history of our public school system, browse the collection of 100 years of class photographs, and see pictures of our historic town as it grew from agricultural backwater to its current prosperity.

Jamestown Historical Society president Rosemary Enright presents a "1657 Society" historical plaque to Kim McDonough for the Jamestown Press building in honor of ongoing support of the society. Photo by Jeff McDonough Jamestown Historical Society president Rosemary Enright presents a "1657 Society" historical plaque to Kim McDonough for the Jamestown Press building in honor of ongoing support of the society. Photo by Jeff McDonough Class photographs

Stimulated by this summer's exhibit, the JHS is trying to collect class pictures of all the Jamestown school's graduating classes for the past 100 years. Some we had in the collection and some have been relatively easy to find.

Judy Garlick, a 1953 Jamestown graduate, has been collecting class pictures from Carr and Clarke school graduates for the joint Carr/Clarke reunion that is being held this July 25. The Carr School opened in 1897 and the upper grades moved to the Clarke School in 1923. Both schools closed when the Lawn Avenue School opened in 1955. Judy has collected pictures of most of the classes from 1936 through 1955 and some from earlier years. JHS is digitizing the pictures for the reunion.

The town schools have issued yearbooks since 1982, so pictures of recent classes are also available.

But what about the classes from 1956 to 1981? So far we have only two classes represented— 1959 and 1964. If you have a class picture from the early years of the Lawn Avenue School and are willing to let us borrow it so that we can make a digital copy, please call me at 423-2674 or e-mail me at jhs@ jamestownri.com. We'd really like to have a picture of every graduating class.

New member of

the 1657 Society On Memorial Day, JHS presented an honorary 1657 Society plaque for the Jamestown Press building to Jeff and Kim McDonough in appreciation for their ongoing support of the society. The Jamestown Press building was built soon after the First World War and the roofline of the building is typical of the era. Several buildings on Narragansett— including Chopmist Charlie's and the Bomes Theater mall—used to have the same stepped façade; the Press building is the only one left. Supporters like Kim and Jeff keep our organization vibrant, which in turn helps us better carry out our mission to preserve, protect and share our island's history.

To find out more about how to join the 1657 Society, contact Shawn Mayers at 423-9678.

May events

Although the official openings of JHS sites happen in June, May this year was an eventful month.

Battery Day 2009 on May 9 went off smoothly—thanks to the Jamestown Community Band, military re-enactor from Rhode Island and Connecticut, Jamestown's Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion, and Cub Scouts, and all the individuals who carried out the multiple tasks necessary for such an event.

Our Members Only wine and cheese tour of the Tennis Hall of Fame on May 21 was enjoyed by everyone who attended—thanks in large part to Jane Lippincott's enthusiastic description of Court Tennis, a 13th century form of the sport that she plays on Hall of Fame courts.

The windmill and the Friends meetinghouse were opened this spring for several special tours. On May 2, 45 people from across the state visited them as part of Tour Rhode Island 2009. On May 9, the Thresholds: Step Inside History celebration included both the windmill and the meetinghouse among the 26 historic sites across the state open to visitors free of charge and 33 visitors came by. On the following Monday, visiting Rotarians from Russia toured the museum, the windmill, and the meetinghouse.

The JHS is always willing to open its sites for interested groups. Just give us advance warning so that we can make the necessary arrangements. Call 423-0784 or email jhs@jamestownri. com.

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