Great Road Day provides a journey through history

Great Road Day provides a journey through history

Saylesville Friends Meetinghouse is one of the historic buildings that will be open for visitors during Great Road Day, Saturday, Sept. 26.

LINCOLN – Take a journey through history on Saturday, Sept. 26, when several historic sites in Lincoln open their doors for the annual Great Road Day.

This event showcases the valuable resources and history right here in our own community and gives a snapshot of life here over the past 300 years. For many of the sites, this marks the first time being able to open this year because of the shutdown due to COVID-19. All of the sites are run by volunteers, who are anxious to welcome visitors back.

The rich and varied history of Lincoln is told through the stories of farm, industry, home, and school in several authentic sites open during Great Road Day, which include: Hearthside House (c.1810), Hannaway Blacksmith Shop (c.1880), Pullen’s Corner Schoolhouse (c.1850), Chase Farm Park (c.1867), Saylesville Friends Meetinghouse (c.1703), Mt. Moriah Masonic Lodge (1804), Northgate, home of the Blackstone Valley Historical Society (c.1807), and the Arnold Bakery (c.1874).

The Great Road Heritage Campus at Chase Farm Park, 671 Great Road, is the location for a number of the town-owned historic buildings. At the entrance to the park is the Hannaway Blacksmith Shop, where visitors can watch metal be heated over the open forge and then skillfully molded into useful implements. At the one-room Pullen’s Corner Schoolhouse, visitors can see where children learned their lessons in Lincoln during the 19th century.

The Moffett Mill nestled alongside the Moshassuck River just below Chase Farm Park is not able to host visitors at this time because of COVID-19 restrictions. However, it will be one of the featured sites whose history will be covered by docents set up next to the schoolhouse at Chase Farm Park, with a display of photos and artifacts from the Mill to explain how this water-powered mill operated and the various types of work done there.

The Saylesville Friends Meetinghouse is one of the oldest Quaker meetinghouses in New England and has been in use continuously since it was first built. Step inside to appreciate the 18th century architecture and learn more about the Quaker’s history. In the cemetery next to the meetinghouse is the final resting place of several of Lincoln’s earliest family members, the Arnolds and Stephen Hopkins Smith, the builder of Hearthside. It is located at 374 Great Road. Limited parking is available at the meetinghouse, or park at Gateway Park and walk a short distance to the site. Also at Gateway Park is Historic New England’s Arnold House which is closed at this time, but visitors are encouraged to stop by and get an up close look from the outside at this National Historic Landmark with its massive chimney covering one whole end of the house.

Docents in historic attire greet visitors at Hearthside, 677 Great Road, the stone mansion known as “The House That Love Built” because of the legend of it being built by Stephen Hopkins Smith with lottery winnings to win the heart of a young lady. This house turned museum is filled with interesting antiques and artifacts that help bring to life the history of several families who lived here over its 200-year history. A special exhibit of Women Trailblazers Throughout History is on display. An array of unique merchandise is available for purchase at the Hearthside Gift Shop. On the grounds, pose for pictures with the 19th-century buggy or the turn-of-the-century high wheel bicycle.

Open for public viewing only once a year on Great Road Day is one of the earliest Masonic lodges in the state, the Mt. Moriah Lodge where the most notable early town residents were members. It is located at 1093 Great Road.

Featured at the Northgate Tollhouse, home of the Blackstone Valley Historical Society, is an exhibit about the recent graveyard restoration projects throughout the Blackstone Valley by Ken Postle and Greg Duhamel. Also featured is a folk art dollhouse among other local historical artifacts. The one-room Arnold Bakery originally located in Lonsdale but moved to its current spot at Northgate, operated for nearly 100 years. It contains a collection of antique baking equipment and memorabilia. Both Northgate and the Arnold Bakery are located at 1873 Louisquisset Pike.

Visitors are invited to tour at their own pace and visit all sites, or just a select few. Signs will be posted at each site along the route. The hours are 1-4 p.m. For the safety of all visitors and volunteers, social distancing and face masks are mandatory.

While the tours, demonstrations and presentations are free, donations are greatly appreciated, especially during this time of lost income for these small organizations. For more information, contact Hearthside at 401-726-0597 or visit www.hearthsidehouse.org .