Sunday, February 11, 2007

The Black Swamp of Chepachet : Part 6

Now that we are far down this path, it might be of interest to see what CM Eddy and HP Lovecraft saw on their walk down Putnam Pike (Route 44).

Chepachet was basically a suburb (or bedroom community of Providence, and a town withing the greater Glocester.

Historic Chepachet was founded in the early 1700s when descendants of Providence Plantations' English Dissenters came to this distant wilderness. Often known as Seekers or Friends, and sometimes as Separatists or the New Lights, sought to worship simply and freely. This strong sense of independence and justice was recognized nationally during the Dorr Rebellion in 1842 when gunfire ripped through the historic Inn (presently the Stagecoach Inn) as the battle for expanded voter rights was waged against the entrenched Providence landowners.

Here are a few online notes of still existing structures they might or would have seen.

{We already saw this in Part 5, but here is a bit more} Sayles House - Rte 44, west side. Built in 1860, this house was owned by Leonard Sayles a decade later and then his brother, Henry Sayles by 1895. These brothers were capital owners of the Smith and Sayles Mill which manufactured woolen twill. The structure is of Italian Villa style, quickly becoming popular at the time with its symmetry and heavily bracketed cornice. There are few Victorian houses in Chepachet as the economy was declining when this architectural era gained prominence in New England.

Acote Hill, Rte 44, seen before entering the village. Site of Chepachet Cemetery containing graves of many Civil War veterans. In 1842, this hill was the site of the final Dorr Rebellion battle. On June 28, 1842, Governor Samuel Ward King sent a force of militia men to uphold the elected government legitimacy to confront the rebellious Dorrites. Only a cow was killed.

Chepachet Union Church - Rte 44 west side - built in 1846, this Greek Revival style has a portico resting on four fluted Doric columns. In 1938, the top story of the steeple was forever lost in the Hurricane.

Jeremiah Sheldon House - Rte 44 west side. In 1790, this gable roof house was built for Captain Israel Inman who ran it as an Inn. Ten years later, the owner was Simeon Sweet and by 1833, this Inn was known as the Jeremiah Sheldon House. In 1842, many of the Dorr rebels were housed here and a window still has the name of a Dorr follwer etched in it. A handsome doorway was added to enhance this stylish structure.

The Masonic Hall - Rte 44, east side. This attractive Federal style structure, erected in 1802, was used as a lodge upstairs while the main floor housed the Farmer's Exchange Bank. This was the first bank to open in the village, though its life was short running only from 1804-9. A dentilled cornice, large proportions, quoins add elegance to this building along with its tall doorway and fanlight.

Central Hotel, Franklin Bank- Rte 44, east side. These buildings were erected around 1800 and demonstrate the modest architecture found throughout much of the village. Porches were added towards the end of the 19th century.

Kimball House, Rte 44 east side. The oldest house in Chepachet Village demonstrates a slanted chimney with a pyramid cone marking in this 2 ½ story house. Built in 1750, it was owned by Asa Kimball in 1790 who was a colonel in the American Revolution.

Chepachet Free Will Baptist Church, Rte 44 east side. Constructed in 1821 by Clark Sayles, this church represents two architectural styles with its double pediments, three arched doorways, steeple. The mix of Greek Revival and classic reminder of Providence's Baptist Meeting House is interesting.

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