Hearthside and several historic sites along Lincoln’s Great Road Historic District will host free tours on Saturday, September 23rd as part of the annual Great Road Day, a collaboration of historic properties within the nationally-designated Great Road Historic District. The opening is part of Smithsonian’s Museum Day which promotes free admission to participating museums around the country.
A new site on the tour is welcomed this year with the addition of the Pullen Corner School House c.1850, a one-room school that was relocated to Chase Farm Park from its original location on Angell Road. Although not totally completed, the historic building is in its final stages of restoration, giving visitors the rare opportunity to see the interior of the school which closed in 1922.
Another rare opportunity offered is the viewing of the Moffett Mill c.1812. As one of the state’s earliest wooden mills, it is only open on selected occasions because of its inaccessibility along the busy curve of the roadway below Chase Farm. The only access will be by shuttle bus which will transport visitors from Chase Farm Park to the Mill throughout the day. The Mt. Moriah Lodge c.1804 is also only open to the public one day a year.
Other sites included in Great Road Day are: Hearthside House (c.1810), Historic New England’s Arnold House (c.1693), Hannaway Blacksmith Shop (c.1870), Chase Farm Park c.1867), Saylesville Friends Meetinghouse (c.1703), Valentine Whitman House (c.1694), Mt. Moriah Masonic Lodge (1804), Northgate, home of the Blackstone Valley Historical Society (c.1807) and the Arnold Bakery (c.1874).
Visitors are invited to tour at their own pace and select sites they would like to see, or visit all of them. Signs will be posted at each site along the route. While most sites will be opened between 11:00-4:00 p.m., the hours vary slightly, opening later and closing earlier at some.
Some features include a demonstration of Colonial cooking over the open fire at Hearthside, hand forging demonstrations at the Hannaway Blacksmith Shop, and a special exhibit at the Blackstone Valley Historical Society that resulted from the donation of a mysterious album about the roots of a famous local family: “An Elaborate History: The Cumberland Ballous.”
All sites are open with free admission. There is parking at each site with the exception of the Moffett Mill, which is accessible only by shuttle bus which will run between Chase Farm Park and the Mill.
The historic Great Road got its name because it was so much more substantial than other routes through the valley. Great Road was built in 1683 as the major thoroughfare on the west side of the Blackstone River. With historic houses, farms and mills, the nationally-designated Great Road Historic District in Lincoln retains much of the Blackstone Valley’s early 19th century rural character.
The goal of Great Road Day is to encourage visitors to discover “Three Centuries in Three Miles.” It is sponsored in part by the Town of Lincoln, which owns Chase Farm Park and several of the sites. The Great Road Historic District is located off Route 146, 10 minutes north of Providence on Rt. 123. For more information, contact Hearthside at 726-0597 or visit www.hearthsidehouse.org. The locations and addresses are as follows:
Arnold House – Open 11-5 p.m. 487 Great Road
Saylesville Friends Meetinghouse – Open 11-4 p.m. 374 Great Road
Hannaway Blacksmith Shop, Chase Farm Park, and the Pullen Corner Schoolhouse – Open 11-4 p.m. 671 Great Road
Hearthside – Open 11-5 p.m. 677 Great Road
Moffett Mill – 11-4 p.m. accessible only by shuttle bus from Chase Farm Park
Mount Moriah Lodge – Open 11-4 p.m.1093 Great Road
Valentine Whitman House – Open 12 – 4 p.m. 1147 Great Road
Blackstone Valley Historical Society & Arnold Bakery—Open 11-4 p.m. 1873 Old Louisquisset Pike