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Local History

Discover the beautiful towns of Westerly, RI and Stonington, CT.

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Westerly Sun Column

Learn About Little Rhody at the Library

Forgive me if I repeat myself here, but since I moved to Rhode Island many years ago, I have definitely fallen in love with the beauty and history of this lovely little state. I came upon a fun book called “You Know You’re in Rhode Island When…” by Ryder Windham. Some of the tidbits he describes include houses that look like tin cans (Quonset Huts) or you find America’s oldest indoor shopping mall (Arcade Providence).

It is not all about quirkiness, I remember going to the RISD Museum several years ago and being very impressed with a silver writing desk. Let me tell you, it was magnificent! The desk was one of the pieces created by Gorham Manufacturing Company (established in 1831) out of Providence for the 1904 Saint Louis World’s Fair.  “Gorham Silver: Designing Brilliance, 1850-1970”, a 2019 book edited by Elizabeth A. Williams, includes essays that are accompanied by beautiful photographs of splendid silver pieces, as well as a wealth of archival images, design drawings, casting patterns, and company records. It is a gorgeous book!

“The Revival of the Colonel Pendleton House”, a 2019 publication by Richard C. Youngken, is a book funded by the Westerly Preservation Society. This volume chronicles the five-year journey to carefully deconstruct a historic house and resurrect it as a new house with reused parts of the old. There are many fascinating things about the project, but one of the more interesting choices is that they were able to keep to the original look of the home but also installed a modern geothermal heating system and radiant floor heating system.

Not only are there books, there are also DVDs available. Some are local to Westerly like, “Watch Hill: Portrait of a New England Seaside Village”. Do you love visiting Federal Hill in Providence? There’s a DVD called “Italian Americans and Federal Hill: Rhode Island’s Little Italy”.  “Attacking stereotypes, this moving and lively depiction of the Italian American experience was filmed on location in historic Federal Hill.”—from the cover.

Stop by the library to learn about all things Rhode Island! In fact, with summer just around the corner, Robert Curley’s “100 Things to Do in Rhode Island Before You Die” seems like the perfect book to help me plan some road trips!


By Caroline Badowski, Head of Reference