Letter from the President - Read here

Friends and fellow HistWick members,  


We have many good things to celebrate in the coming weeks.


The HistWick Website  


First, we have a renewed, refreshed, and re-invigorated HistWick website courtesy of great work that was accomplished by Cynthia Waxman and Carol Thomas.  




The revised website includes links to walking tours of various areas of Wickford, narratives on local history, and Charlie Weber’s Wickford documentary that was featured on Rhode Island Public Broadcasting System (RIPBS—television). The first completed walking tour focuses on the locations of the historic markers that were installed last year to illustrate different eras of local history. Subsequent tours, currently in production, will guide visitors to walks along Pleasant, Brown, Main, and West Main Streets.  


On the site, you will find a series of podcasts in which HistWick board member, Jennifer Shaker and her husband, Steven, have posted audio interviews with longtime Wickford residents who describe their childhoods in the village and what it was like here in the 40’s and 50’s. It’s simply fascinating.  


A new tab on the website provides links to resources of interest for those considering buying or renovating an historic home. And, the revamped site includes a listing of HistWick news and upcoming events for members and visitors alike.  


At the bottom of the home page, you can click on links to websites of other organizations with shared interests in historic preservation and education, such as Smith’s Castle, the Gilbert


Stuart Museum, the Peacedale Museum of Art and Culture, Preserve Rhode Island, and others.      


Our goal for the website is to keep it current by updating it regularly so it serves as a resource for those looking to learn about Wickford and to share our programs and those of other organizations as well.  


We thank Cynthia, outgoing HistWick vice president, for her continued efforts to upgrade the website and we are appreciative of Carol’s long-standing and outstanding stewardship of the website over the last decade.


Thank you both!


The Second Set of Historic Markers


Sometime in the next few weeks, HistWick will receive and install three more historic markers for Wickford that will complement the existing six. The new markers will cover:  


Ten Rod Road:  Developed in the mid-17th century, Ten Rod Road served to transport horses, sheep and cattle from eastern Connecticut and western Rhode Island to the port of Wickford. The end of the Ten Rod Road in Wickford served as the last watering place before being loaded on ships destined to markets in the other American colonies, England, and the Caribbean. This road played a vital part in Wickford’s economic development. Local artist Dan Urish provided the illustrations for this marker which will be placed adjacent to the Wickford Elementary School building.  


Black Mariners in Wickford:  This marker recognizes the work of black and mixed-race men who worked on sailing vessels out of Wickford Harbor from the 1700’s through the 1860’s. Domini Smith was one of these men and his home on Fowler St. is said to be the oldest home in Rhode Island built specifically for an African American family.  This marker will be placed on Fowler Street near the Smith home. The illustration for this marker has been provided by local artist Walter Scott.


Women in Wickford in the 19th Century:  In the late 18th century and through the 19th century as many Wickford men were either off at sea or involved in the construction of sailing vessels, the women of Wickford served in societal roles that were not the norm in the majority of communities. For example, Avis Ann Spink owned and was landlord for much of the commercial and rental space in Wickford. In 1850 Avis Ann constructed the beautiful building known as the Avis Block at the corner of Brown and West Main Streets. This marker that celebrates the importance of the lives of Mrs. Spink and other women in the village is illustrated by Janelle Feigley, artist and owner of Gossip Boutique on Main Street.


Working with the Wickford Village Association, HistWick will host an unveiling ceremony for the three new markers at the end of June on a date to be determined. We will send out a notification of the date and location in a few days.


We are also appreciative of the town and its staff for their help in erecting the markers.  


Art Exhibit  


Through June 21st Donat Beauchaine and Lorraine Bromley will exhibit their recent work at the Providence Art Club, 11 Thomas Street in Providence. Don and Lorraine are the artists who provided the illustrations for two of the original sets of HistWick markers, Don’s work spotlights shipbuilding in Academy Cove in the 1840’s and Lorraine’s focuses on the Updike House on 19 Pleasant Street and the development of Wickford as a port and harbor in the early 18th century. For more details please contact Don at donatbeau@me.com.  Their art is outstanding.  


And Remember to . . .


Continue to support our local businesses and merchants. Their group, the Wickford Village Association, offers various programs throughout the year, including Wickford Harbor Lights that will take place in the village on Friday, June 21st.  At this time enjoy shopping in the stores that will remain open, various foods offered by food trucks, and the live music. The Wickford Village Association provides the decorations through the village at Christmas time and supports a vibrant local community through activities throughout the year.


Go to the bottom of HistWick website’s home page,  histwick.org, to find links to the programs of many other organizations that also support historic preservation and education.


The Historic District Commission is looking for several volunteers to serve as Commission members. This town commission serves a vitally important role in historic preservation in the village of Wickford.  If you or someone you know is interested, please contact the Town Hall to express your interest. For more details on the HDC contact Jim Shriner at jimtshriner@gmail.com.

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