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Babcock-Smith House Museum
124 Granite Street
Westerly, RI   02891
401-596-5704
bsh1734@verizon.net

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RICH Grant
awarded to BSHM for study
of South County Samplers


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The Linton’s View from the Vault, 2016

One of the many enduring things that Docent and Trustee Ike Smith painstakingly completed was to enter the information from twenty-two Smith Granite order books into a computer which created a working database: His entries included the name on the stone, its location, the type of monument (usually accompanied with accurate drawing), who worked on it, what they did and how much they were paid. It took him years to finish, but with that information readily available, most monuments, memorials, buildings and commemorative statues can be tracked and verified. For several years, Linda and Ken Chaffee and Brenda and John Linton have been chasing these stones.

In 2015 John and Brenda spent three afternoons in Stonington, CT photographing monuments in Evergreen and Saint Mary’s Cemeteries, as well as at the town hall, the former high school and the former Baptist Church steps. An additional three afternoons in Mystic and Old Mystic CT found us at The Elmgrove and St. Patrick’s Cemeteries , Mystic Seaport (Mystic Marine Museum as it was known then ), the Mystic River Bank, Mystic Water Department, and The Civil War Soldier. While in Miami, FL we went downtown in search of two buildings . . . one was gone, but the Arcade, built at the height of the Florida Land Grab for $11,000, was still there. Urban blight had taken its toll, but we found the imprint of the sign as well as some of the granite used.

Recently, Linda and Ellen Madison received permission to take pictures of Westerly granite in Swan Point , a private Providence RI cemetery where the Smith Granite Company placed approximately 250 stones. One afternoon last fall, we used the information from Books One(1881-1882) and Two (1883-1884) to locate some of the most exquisite works we have seen.

Another vault task is nearing completion. Susan Sullivan Brocato, whose family owned and ran The Sullivan Granite Company, and Brenda have been reviewing and organizing pictures, newspaper articles, advertisements, and other documents. This collection will be at least three volumes and will be stored in the vault.

A huge word of thanks to the current Babcock-Smith Board of Trustees who approved better lighting and an automatic dehumidifying system in the vault. It is a much better environment for our artifacts as the air is drier and cleaner while the extra lighting makes much better working conditions.

In the News...

* Stay tuned for an upcoming exhibit of Victorian undergarments, with an accompanying tea and programs. Jackie Brennan and Wanda Butler have completed the inventorying and preservation of all the textiles which were stored in the Carriage House and will be choosing some appropriate undergarments to display.

* Ed Fazio and Bruce Brawley have begun work on a bi-level simulation of a quarry which will better display the tools used in the quarry in our granite exhibit.

* Tony Smith has been elected President of the Docents.

* Our granite book, Built From Stone, The Westerly Granite Story, has been spotted on the coffee table at Weekapaug Inn.

* The Ocean Community Chamber of Commerce held its monthly business after hours at the museum recently.

* Betty Jo Cugini Greene is researching Joshua Babcock in preparation for another PBS documentary.

 

To Submit Granite Information, Anecdotes, or Artifacts:

Email:   Ellen Madison,     woodyhillbandb@verizon.net
Snail mail:   John Coduri c/o Babcock-Smith House Museum, 124 Granite Street, Westerly, RI. 02891
Phone:   Linda Chaffee,    401-377-8490
Phone:   Betty-Jo Cugini  401-315-2446

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