Wickford is featured in Yankee Magazine this month as one of the 15 prettiest towns and villages in New England

Wickford is featured in Yankee Magazine this month as one of the 15 prettiest towns and villages in New England. And they give a link to the HistWick walking tour!



Town Hall Update (December 18, 2015)

HistWick’s petition calling on the Town Council to preserve the use of town hall received tremendous support from our members. At Monday’s Council meeting we presented the petition, signed by more than 200 North Kingstown residents, and urged a proper study of the building before hastily vacating it. In addition, more than 50 friends and supporters turned out to show their concern about the rush to judgement.

Unfortunately a majority of the Council and the Asset Management Commission seem bound and determined to proceed in the face of a mounting array of evidence their analysis has been incomplete and may suffer a number of serious flaws.

The meeting was well covered in both the The Standard-Times and The Independent newspapers of December 17 – I urge you to find and read a copy.

HistWick members Toby and Amy Sonder have an excellent letter in the papers about what they, and we, value in Wickford. http://www.independentri.com/independents/ind/opinion/letters/article_5e0493c9-0a62-5d3b-8f44-bf8c0b0f7992.html

As a reminder, earlier we shared this information:


In a letter to Kerry McKay, Town Council President, Edward Sanderson, Executive Director of the Rhode Island State Historical Preservation and Heritage Commission explains that there is no requirement by the State Fire Safety Code Board that Town Hall must be vacated.   Click to read the letter.

State says “No Requirement to Vacate Town Hall”

80BostonNeck_townhallIn a letter to Kerry McKay, Town Council President, Edward Sanderson, Executive Director of the Rhode Island State Historical Preservation and Heritage Commission explains that there is no requirement by the State Fire Safety Code Board that Town Hall must be vacated.   Click to read the letter.

2015 Holiday Kitchen Tour!

We hope you had a chance  to view the ten beautiful homes in Wickford!

Here are copies of the Tour Guide and the House Histories.

Petition to Preserve Town Hall

For the past several months we have been hearing discussion about a need to temporarily vacate the offices at Town Hall to deal with some building code violations. It recently came to light that, unfortunately, a majority of the Town Council was prepared to permanently vacate the building in favor of a new location, yet to be determined.

An intense discussion of the proposed move took place at the November 23 Council meeting and was well described in the Independent newspaper http://www.independentri.com/independents/ind/north_kingstown/article_1f7b62ac-67e6-50e7-bf7f-5c698ba6f6bc.html?mode=print.

A copy of the letter from the State Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission is referenced.  This letter points out that not only does the state hold an historical preservation easement on the property but the Fire Marshall and Building Official used the wrong regulations in their evaluation of the building.

The Board of HistWick is very concerned about the threat of losing this historic asset in our community and has authorized the circulation of the following petition. We will be collecting signatures at the Annual Potluck Dinner on Sunday evening for presentation to the Council at their next meeting on December 7th. If you are unable to attend the dinner please seek out any one of your Board members or email your agreement to Larry Ehrhardt at RepLarry@gmail.com



WHEREAS: The North Kingstown Town Hall has served as the center of town government for over 120 years and is a critical element in the vitality and historic character of Wickford Village; and

the State Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission holds a preservation easement on the building and has written:The c.1888 North Kingstown Town Hall is a well-constructed and well-preserved, handsome local landmark which has the capacity to serve the Town for many years. We urge you to consider exploring all means to continue the use of the building for town services with the help of a preservation architect;  and

the State Fire Safety Code Board of Appeal has been told: “the Town has made a decision to abandon this building and relocate to new premises within six (6) to eight (8) months and that the building will remain vacant at that time pending sale of the property.”;  and

the North Kingstown Town Council has also decided to vacate the Town Hall Annex on Brown Street to temporary quarters while exploring appropriate locations and building requirements for a combined Town and School Administration Facility,

THEREFORE the undersigned concerned citizens ask the Town Council to reconsider its position and do everything in its power to preserve the Town Hall and Town Hall Annex in their historic roles as centers of government activity. We specifically urge the council to follow the advice of the State Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission to engage the services of a professional architect who specializes in historic structures to do a thorough code and use analysis (using the appropriate regulations for historic buildings) before proceeding any further with plans to vacate the buildings.

Holiday Kitchen Tour – December 6th



12:30 TO 4:00 PM


TICKETS $25 IN ADVANCE at various stores in the village

DAY OF TOUR > $30 at St. Paul’s Parish House,

76 Main Street, Wickford, the starting point of the tour




*** HistWick’s Historic Signage Project ***

*** Tim Cranston’s video “Sea Captain Homes of Wickford” ***

*** The North Kingstown Food Pantry ***

Potluck Dinner – December 6th

Come Celebrate With the Wickford Community

Coffee, Tea, Water, and Dessert Provided

HistWick is bringing ArtVenture to Wickford

Enjoy ArtVenture, “Hiking with the Arts in Mind” from July 18-August 2, 2015. The program’s goal is to celebrate the arts and North Kingstown’s beautiful open and historical spaces, promote local artists, combat “Nature Deficit Disorder” and sharpen that artistic eye!

The art work (or facsimiles of it) will be hidden throughout this two week period in several NK hiking areas, Smith’s Castle and Wickford Village.  When you find a work of art, you get to keep it after logging your find onto the Art Venture blog.  Last year a blogger from Scotland even participated!  The trails include Blue Beach, Bush Hill, Calf Pasture Point, Davisville Middle School trails, Ryan Park (Oak Hill and Lafayette entrances) and the Wilson Park bike path

The North Kingstown Arts Council is sponsoring ArtVenture, with grants from RISCA and RI State Council on the Arts, and Historic Wickford, Inc.

HistWick’s contribution brings the program to the Village for the first time. 

  • The art will be hidden in a public place somewhere along the route of HistWick’s Walking Tour  http://historicwickford.org/walking-tour/
  • A new piece of art work will be added someplace in the Village each day during the event. This feature gives participants opportunity for a new search every time they choose to hunt and enjoy the activities.
  • To follow the tour use your smart phone as you walk and search for the hidden art.
  • Or, print the tour before you leave home (simply click on the words Walking Tour that are in blue italics)
  • Remember, the art will not be hidden on private property, but will be hidden in public places along the route.

Last year’s participants were delighted with how their experience changed their perception. As they walked through the designated areas looking for beautiful artwork hidden among trees and buildings, they saw art in nature and town structures. While seeking to find a stained glass piece or a mini sculpture, they spotted the morning dew glistening on a perfectly formed spider web, an unusual filigree on a building or the birdlike replica shaped by the branches of a tree. When approaching the water, many were awed by the kinetic symmetry formed by gulls diving for prey.

Often it was children who pointed out these phenomena, but parents soon caught their enthusiasm. Whether participants found art work created by a contributing artist or not, their walk became a memorable experience.  Learn more about it by visiting their website. http://www.nkartscouncil.org/#!artventure/c1c9d

“Since I’ve been involved in the Art Venture, I see beauty in everything,” says Nancy Sherman, Chair of the North Kingstown Art Council’s summer project, Art Venture. You too, can share in this fascinating experience while roaming through various locations in this area you call home…or are visiting.

Don’t miss out this year.

Mark your calendar and grab your sneakers to participate in the Council’s second annual Art Venture at least once or twice between July 18 and August 2. Come alone or come with friends and family–either way, it’s fascinating… and you could win a prize!

Annual HistWick General Meeting : Special Tour of The Beechwood House

HistWick is pleased to announce that as part of our Annual General Meeting to be held on Wednesday, April 29th, members and guests will have the opportunity to tour The Beechwood House.


The Beechwood House, formerly the home of the North Kingstown Senior Center, was built in 1873 as the summer home of Elisha Dyer, Jr. who in 1897 became Governor of Rhode Island.  When the new Senior Center was built, the town sold the building to a local resident who moved the home to a property adjacent to the Town Beach and rehabilitated it with particular attention to maintaining the historic exterior appearance.Beechwood House new


The General Meeting will be held at the Wickford Art Association building at 36 Beach St.  starting at 5:30.  We will walk to the Beechwood House for the tour.  At 6:00 pm there will be a reception at the Art Association Building with wine and cheese and the Annual General Meeting will start at 7:00 pm.


As part of the General Meeting, David Caldwell, the contractor who managed the move and renovation will make a presentation on the challenges of the project.  It should be interesting to all members of HistWick and those interested in preservation projects.


We hope that you will be able to attend.

Note:   Pictures are of Beechwood House before and after the move.

Wickford is featured on The Online Review of Rhode Island History

Tim Cranston’s story, “Newport Philips: A North Kingstown Slave Negotiates his Way to Freedom”*

is this week’s feature on The Online Review of Rhode Island History. 

This is just one of many fascinating stories in his new book We Were Here Too: Selected Stories of Black History in North Kingstown . Books are available at the Wickford Package Store, the Grateful Heart, and the Yes Gallery, as well as all online bookstores.





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