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Walking Tours: Providence - Pawtucket - Chepachet - Upton - Uxbridge - Harrisville - Worcester - Millville Lock - Four walks along the Canal
Starting at the cemetery south of the Chepachet Town Hall is a hill called Acotes Hill after 1800 when a itinerant half-bred pedlar died of a fatal wound and was buried in an unmarked grave there. Prior to it be called after Acote, it was known as Matony. This was also the site of the final stand of the Dorr Rebellion where a monument in memory of Thomas Wilson Dorr was erected in 1912. Dorr fought for the common people and is known as the "Framer of the People's Constitution and an Advocate of popular sovereignty". Across the street is the Jeremiah Sheldon House, an 18th century house at the rear of the existing building. This home was used by State troops for living quarters during the Dorr Rebellion and was later the Milmor Manor Bed & Breakfast in the 1940s.
The Leonard Sayles House was built in 1850 and is the only existing Mediterranean Villa style architecture. Three generations of the Sayles family lived there with Henry becoming Town Clerk in 1912. Right next door was a small tailor shop, the Manning Angell House, from the 1820s until the house became a church parsonage in 1963 when the Victorian parsonage burnt down. Across the street is a Greek Revival, the Charles Potter House which has a lovely carved front door. Charles was partner in the Walter Read & Potter's Store, later becoming the Brown & Hoskins Store.
Turn east onto Dorr Drive to view the Slocum Farnum House, home of several noted citizens, including RI Attorney General Ziba Slocum, then RI's first lady banker, Maude Read Farnum and State Senator Farnum. An expansion from 6-11 rooms changed the architecture from a Greek Revival to a Victorian. Builder Cyrus Eddy, who also built the Grammar School, Congregational Church and other fine homes, built the Hiram Eddy House circa 1840. Then onto the Eddy/Fitch House, a Greek revival with Ionic columns in the front. A news reporter, Mattie Fitch, for the Providence Journal and other RI papers lived here. The Albert Place's Meat Market rounded out this little community in 1870 but is now a residence.
Turn the corner and then walk North to find the Smith/Paine House, built as a Greek revival around 1830. The NW corner was used as a small store and the small house to the North was originally a barn. Across from this house is the lot where the famed Betty the Elephant was displayed in 1822 and 1826. Numerous circuses raised tents there thereafter, but never with another elephant. The Glocester Light Infantry, incorporated in 1774, now uses the ell portion of a former two-story Chepachet Elementary School. Again, turn the corner and there sits the site of the Home of Lt. Gov Daniel Owen, Pres of the Constitutional Conventions at Newport & Kingstown that accepted the US Constitution, the last colony to do so in 1790.
Back on Main Street, Chepachet is the site of the 1813 Chepachet Inn, a 21 room hotel with double verandas which burned down in 1913 along with a 100 horse stable, 2 houses and barns. This hosted town meetings, church socials, court, law and dance schools and fine dining. Down a bit further, is the 1938 Hurricane battered (lost belfry) Chepachet Union Church built in 1846 by Cyrus Eddy and Jesse Potter. For over a century, graduation ceremonies were held there for all schools.
Walking north along Main Street is the 1830s Carpenter House, the last colonnaded early Greek Revival in the Village. It survived the Fire of 1907 when a fortunate south wind stopped the advancing flames. Beyond the post office and drug store are the remnants (seen at back of building) of Cyrus Cooke's Tavern circa 1800. This was known as Jedediah Sprague's Tavern during the Dorr Rebellion in 1842. This was the headquarters where Thomas Dorr issued a proclamation that the RI General Assembly should meet there on July 4, 1842. State troops shot through the keyhole wounding H. Bardeen. Soldiers occupied the premises demanding large amounts of food, drink and accommodations for their horses. Sprague was never paid. This is now known as the Stagecoach Inn.
The 1803 Masonic Hall is the oldest "fresh water" lodge in the country. Friendship Lodge #7 F & AM Masons meet in the high-vaulted upper chamber. The first floor housed the Farmers Exchange Bank, 1804-1809 that was the first bank to fail in the nation. The night safe was a drywell under a trap door in the floor. The 1814 Stone Mill was used as a store and was built by Lawton Owen. It grew to three times its length and fine textiles, satinet, cashmere, tweeds and worsted were produced there until 1969. A foot bridge used to connect the mills on both sides of the River. Chepachet Bridge was the location of Betty the Elephant's sad killing while escaped on May 25, 1826. Until 1867, it was called Elephant Bridge until a 2/10/1867 Freshet washed away the wooden bridge and destroyed many buildings along the river.
The 18th century Lydia Slocum House, was the birthplace of Ziba Slocum, RI attorney General. This was previously a boarding house, then home to a Spanish- American War veteran, Charles Carlton. The southwest corner was a store, owned by Jedediah Sprague, who was at his store the night Betty the Elephant was shot and killed.
The Greek Revival Hawkins Store, built in 1868 originally had the porch facing the street. In the 1900s, it became a post office but prior, Mr. Hawkins operated a gristmill and sawmill until the Freshet washed it away. Brown and Hoskins, the oldest running general store in the nation, was built in 1799 by Timothy Wilmarth. Operation started in 1809 with Benjamin Cozzens for a decade, then Ann Evans, H. Kimball, R Wade, W. Read, Read & Potter, Potter & Brown. Early in the 1900s, Hopkins purchased it, thereby, the present name. The Job Armstrong House, built in the late 18th o early 19th century is the older house at the rear of the building. This home was opened to many preachers and religious pilgrims. His first store was in the basement which he soon outgrew and built a much larger store across the street before 1820. The basement store has been a law office, a meat store and a rum shop. Job Armstrong's Store was the largest of the 13 dry goods and grocery stores in the Village by 1831. Four or five clerks worked in this store full time. Although Armstrong was highly respected as Justice of the Peace and a RI Representative, his business weakened when he opposed villagers views on the Dorr Rebellion.
Now at the corner of Tanyard Lane, turn east to the 1850 Young House, a Greek Revival with the gable end to the street. Then onto the Arnold Sayles House, which became a Boarding house for awhile around 1900. The 1870s Block is a mill tenement for White's Mill which burned in 1897 but was located at the end of Tanyard Lane. The Oliver Owen House is an 18th century home of Owen, who ran a nail factory. Although a restored home today, the Mill Office served White's Mill and the mill across the street via a footbridge. The 18th century Solomon Owen II House was across from a tannery east of the house. Eddy & Owen's Tannery continued into the 1830s and is now a restored residence.
Coming to Elbow Street is Lawton Owen's House built in 1840, a Greek Revival with an older ell. In 1842 when Horace Bardeen was shot at Sprague's Tavern, he was brought to this house for medical attention during the Dorr Rebellion. The 1870s Adfer Eddy House, also known as the Fiske House, on Oil Mill Lane is an Early Victorian. During summers, Boston producers stayed here and directed productions by and for the villagers. An early mill house from around 1800 is next door before turning north on Main Street.
The circa 1800 Benefit Company Store has undergone an addition to the facade, but this was a store for the Benefit Mill workers. The Parkhurst House, with its buildings all connected, was built in the 1830s and is the only one of its kind in Glocester. Across the street is the 1787 Thomas Owen House which was moved back from the Putnam Pike when the road was widened in the 1920s. This was built by Solomon Owen for his nephew, Thomas.
A ways up to the north, you can see the steeple of the Baptist Meetinghouse built by Clark Sayles in 1821. The bell was made by G. Holbrook of Medway and Old Home Days began there in 1903. The Newport Army was billeted at the Meetinghouse during the 1842 Dorr Rebellion.
Then going south past Oil Mill Lane is the Solomon Owen/ Franklin Bank from the 18th century. Owen owned the ship "Susannah" which was destroyed by the British in 1789. He also ran the oil mill along the river at the end of Oil Mill Lane. From 1818 to 1868, the Franklin Bank occupied the south end of the upper floor with Jesse Tourtellot as the President.
The Amasa Eddy/ Central Hotel building was originally a harness shop in the basement and later became a rum shop. An old barn in the back housed Chepachet's first fire-fighting equipment.
(This walk was compiled by the Town of Glocester, Town Historian Edna Kent with funding from the National Heritage Corridor.)