Historical - July 2008
Blackstone's Window on the PAST
Helen Murray 2008

Many interesting and unusual items were recently donated to the Blackstone Historical Museum. A large mounted Northern Pike, caught above the Gorge in 2005 by Harry O, donated by "Chin" Caouette was presented by Selectman Sawyer. Michael Catalano donated original Red Cross pins, as well as 2 Liberty Bond Posters and Stars & Stripes from 1918 and 1919 during WWI. A yoke for carrying water, made for a child or very small woman was donated in memory of George and Theresa Falardeau. This yoke was found in the old barn on what was originally the Thayer farm on Lincoln Street. A part of the wood frame from the old fire house was donated by Tom Bik. Tom Dunayeski added a fuel funnel used to refuel fighter jets to the collection in the Veteran's Room. Warren "Hoppie" and Phyllis Bolduc donated photos from Blackstone's 100th anniversary parade, held in 1945. Lucien and Judith Collin donated several pieces of ephemera, for addition to our school, mill and military scrapbooks. Margaret Devlin donated a photo of the seniors from the Class of 1949 at Blackstone High School. The Blackstone Historical Museum is constantly changing and expanding. It is the perfect place to bring your visiting family members and other visitors, air conditioned and with plenty of comfortable chairs, the museum is stress-free and just a few minutes away from your home. Museum hours are Thursdays from noon until 4 PM. Saturday July 5 and 19 the museum will be open from 10-4 PM.

Blackstone's Window on the Past

Helen Murray 2008

The town of Blackstone was incorporated in 1845. By 1847, citizens were feeling the need for a local newspaper. At the town meeting which was held on January 10, 1948, voters authorized the selectmen to loan $700 of "surplus revenue money" to Oliver Johnson. Johnson was a well-known journalist of the time from New York. The loan was to be for one year, without interest charges. The town also agreed to hold the mortgage on the printing press which Johnson bought. The newspaper office was set up in the Arcade building on Main Street. The four-page, first edition was published on February 26, 1848. The Blackstone Chronicle was the name of the newspaper. At the time, it was described by area residents as good-sized, well-printed and very readable.

For reasons not made clear in town history, the last edition of the Blackstone Chronicle was printed in September of the same year. The town took possession of the printing press. Unfortunately, there are no known surviving copies of the newspaper. Several copies were in the old town library on School Street and were lost in the fire which destroyed it's contents.

In early 1882, the editor of the Franklin Sentinel tried to revive the newspaper by printing a Blackstone edition of his Franklin paper. Edward Savage Esq. was hired as the local editor. The Blackstone Valley Chronicle, was published until March 1886. Some historic accounts refer to this newspaper as the Blackstone Compendium.

Lack of a local paper does not mean that the early residents of Blackstone were unaware of currant events. The Woonsocket Patriot contained news of local interest. Trains coming through town daily from New York, New Haven, Providence, Worcester and Boston all brought newspapers from those cities to local readers.

Through the years, periodicals and newsletters, from various organizations have circulated in town for brief periods of time. The Council of Aging newsletter "A River Runs Through It" is an example of a small publication which is mailed to a specific group sharing specific interests.

With the June 2008 edition, the Blackstone Enlightener began it's 15th year as our hometown, monthly newspaper. Since its inception in 1993, the Enlightener has brought "items and events of local interest, delivered free to the citizens of the town." Published by Paulette Boyko and edited by Michael Boyko, it is frequently the only source of reference for local information and events.



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