2012-07-19 / Letters to the Editor

Thanks for all the help during Windmill Day

In 1912, a small group of forwardthinking people saw great value in preserving and protecting the windmill on North Road, which has become an iconic symbol of Conanicut Island. On July 14, the Jamestown Historical Society celebrated its 100th anniversary at a tremendously successful, and very well attended, Windmill Day. We wanted a fun-filled, family-oriented, free event to salute all the people who, in the last 100 years, have carried on the mission of our founders.

There were many contributors that allowed us to accomplish our goals. We were able to keep the activities free to attendees, thanks in part to a legislative grant sponsored by Rep. Deb Ruggiero.

Richard Donnelly, master jonnycake chef, delighted us with his creations, recipes and wonderful stories. Bruce Long of Del’s Lemonade quenched our thirst and cooled us with a donation of his refreshing and delicious beverage. Don and Heather Minto, in conjunction with Historic New England, let us use one of their fields for parking.

We received a wonderful donation and installation of a stile, which had been used in the toll plaza of the Newport Bridge during construction, from the Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority and Mark Depasquale of Site Resources LLC in North Kingstown. It was used by visitors to cross the Watson Farm stonewall on their way to the mill. Sgt. Hopkins of the Jamestown police helped us safely cross North Road where we entered through the stone gateposts that were attractively filled with beautiful plants, thanks to the Jamestown Garden Club. We had baby ducks and Rhode Island Red chicks from Windmist Farm under the watchful and caring eyes of Courtney, goats from the Broden family, and children’s games that were a big hit with the kids and their caregivers. The teen center provided us with three extraordinary young people – Reece Bennett, Jake Gillis, and Bianca Melucci, along with Milo DiGasper – who were very responsible and helpful to us during Windmill Day. We were wonderfully entertained with great music by Matt Bolles’ South County Rounders.

Visitors were able to tour the Quaker meetinghouse, which was also opened for the day. Jessie Dutra of Dutra Design donated beautiful postcards and buttons that commemorated our 100th anniversary that we passed out to the delight of our guests. A special thanks to the JHS members who volunteered – 28 of you! – and made the day run smoothly with a lot of hard work and dedication.

Most of all, thanks to all of you who came to share in the festivities. We were thrilled as the “Old Jamestown Mill” was once again brought to life under the expert and careful direction of our millwright, Andy Shrake. Seeing the mill in operation, with its “cloths on the sails,” is truly a magical and glorious site!

You can share in the vision and pride our founders had 100 years ago. Please consider joining the Jamestown Historical Society so that together we can continue to preserve and protect our island’s history.

Linnea Petersen President Jamestown Historical Society

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