2012-06-07 / News

Jamestown Historical Society News


June is always a busy month for the Jamestown Historical Society. The windmill opens for the season on Saturday, June 16. The Quaker meetinghouse will have an open house on that day, also. The new exhibit at the museum opens on Sunday, June 17. Jim Buttrick will give the third lecture in the “All About Jamestown” series at the library on Friday, June 22.

Jamestown architecture

Jim Buttrick has lived in Jamestown part time all of his life and grew up knowing and admiring the architectural styles on the island. In 2002, the JHS published his monograph on Charles Lovatt Bevins, the shingle-style architect responsible for the first St. Mark Church, the 1889 Thorndike Hotel, “Green Chimneys,” and over 40 other houses built on the island between 1883 and 1900. Newport History, the flagship publication of the Newport Historical Society, published the paper as a picture essay in 2009.

In 2003, Arcadia Press released Buttrick’s “Images of America: Jamestown.” The book combines his knowledge of architecture with his fascination of photography and includes many pictures from the JHS collection.

Buttrick’s talk, sponsored by the JHS and the Jamestown Philomenian Library, will focus on Jamestown’s lost architecture: the grand – and some not-so-grand – buildings that can no longer be seen on the island but that have survived in the image collection of the Jamestown Historical Society. He also plans to show some architectural and conceptual drawings of buildings that were never built.

Don’t miss this third talk in the spring series on June 22 at 7 p.m. in the library meeting room. The audience at last month’s talk about Narragansett Bay lighthouses by Jeremy d’Entremont filled the room, so come early to get a good seat.

The centennial

The summer exhibit at the museum – “1912 and the JHS Centennial” – presents a picture of life in Jamestown in 1912 when the JHS was founded, and tells the story of how the society began and what it has achieved over the last 100 years. Early 20th century items from the JHS collection are on display so that visitors can better understand the pre-WWI era. The exhibit includes contemporary apparel, from bathing costumes to formalwear. A summer visitor’s trunk shows some of the things that cottagers who lived on the island from June to September brought with them.

The exhibit in the ferry room is also enhanced. The pennant flown on the Governor Carr on its maiden voyage in 1927 has been mounted for hanging. JHS recently received two oarlocks and a boat hook from a Governor Carr lifeboat and mouthpieces from Governor Carr speaking tubes. Both the flag and the other Governor Carr memorabilia are on display in the ferry room.

Opening day at the museum is June 17 from 1 to 4 p.m. It will be open every Wednesday through Sunday, from 1 to 4 p.m., through Labor Day; and from Labor Day to Columbus Day it will be open the same hours on weekends. Opening day on Windmill Hill

The windmill opens for the summer on Saturday, June 16. It will be open from 1 to 4 p.m. every Saturday, Sunday and holiday from then until the end of the Columbus Day weekend.

Linnea Petersen will be docent for opening day, and will show off both the mill and the new signs in the field south of the mill that explain its history and operation. The society has commissioned work inside the mill to make visits both safer and more informative. A wooden vat with a cutout to show the grindstones is being constructed around the stones so that visitors can see how the meal coming from between the stones was contained and fed into the waiting sack. Not all the work has been completed, but it soon will be.

Members of the Conanicut Island Friends Meeting and the JHS will be at the Quaker meetinghouse on June 16 from 1 to 4 to talk about the building itself and explain Quaker beliefs. The meetinghouse is also open every Sunday from May to October at 10:30 a.m. for Quaker meeting. All are invited to attend.

Both the windmill and the meetinghouse are open at other times by appointment. Call Linnea Petersen at 423-1820 or send an email to info@jamestownhistoricalsociety.org to make arrangements.


The museum and windmill can only be open if someone is there to let people in and show them around. We’re still signing up docents for both places. Join Linnea at the windmill on June 16 to volunteer to windmill-sit and learn what to do. If you’d like to be a museum docent, come to the museum that Saturday between noon and 3 p.m. Sue Maden and I will take you through the exhibit and explain the opening and closing procedures.

If you’re not available on the 16th, call me at 423-2674, or Linnea at 423-1820 for information.

Windmill Day

July 14 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. is Windmill Day, a salute to the JHS centennial and to the people who have understood the vision and the goals of the society’s founders.

Planning is well underway. Weather permitting, millwright Andy Shrake will, with the help of society volunteers, put up the sails and set the mill in motion. Richard Donnelly, master johnnycake chef, will serve up johnnycakes. Matt Bolles’s quartet will provide music for the festivities. There will be children’s games and a “petting zoo.”

More details next month.

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