Traveling through History

Since I do a lot of historic and multicultural illustration, I like to get a little taste of history now and then. So, I jumped at the chance to spend the day with a friend and tour Great Road in northern Rhode Island,  touted as America's first "Super Highway."

The tour, organized by

Tour Rhode Island

,  ran like clockwork, and the guides were top-notch.  We saw the Eleazer

Arnold House

, a "stone ender" built in 1693, the oldest home in Lincoln, RI.

The stone of the "stone-ender" has been covered with a lime slurry, true to the time period.

The caretakers have taken this house back to it's original form, leaded windows and all.

Hearthside House was a special  treat, with costumed docents in every room to tell us the sad and romantic story behind this 1810 fieldstone home.

Our docent, Estelle, jumped at the chance to portray the African-American woman who worked for the Talbot's, and lived with her husband on the third floor. We heard that cooks gauged the temperature by how long they could stand to hold their arm above a fire.

Later residents of Hearthside had an African-American couple who worked for them and lived in the house.

Looms original to the house have just been brought back from a museum in Lowell.

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Thirteen children are currently training to be docents at Hearthside.

The fellow in the foreground did a great job.

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 The clothes were amazing. This little boys outfit was from the time period when the middle class began to emerge. Children went from being dressed as little adults, to little sailors. Everything, of course, is hand stitched.

A boy's jacket.

This one made me drool.

A close-up showing hand-embroidery, including straw and horsehair.

 We also saw a working blacksmith shop (

Hannaway Blacksmith Shop

, built in 1880), with a woman working the bellows, the

Saylesville Friends Meeting House

, in continuous use since 1704, and a museum about the Blackstone Canal housed in the Captain Wilbur Kelly House.

Captain Kelly was a sea captain on a ship with a name familiar to Rhode Islanders, the Ann & Hope. Mill owners invested in a canal that was built from Providence to Wooster. It ran from 1828 until 1848, when the new transportation craze, the train, put it out of business.

The Valentine Whitman house, and more incredible clothes.

The attic of the V-W house, built in 1694, and also a "stone-ender."

Thanks to my friend, Helen, for a great Cinco de Mayo!!!