Special Presentations


REFLECTIONSPresented by The Westerly Historical Society

Wednesday July 10th – 6 PM

The Chaplin B. Barnes Reading Room | Lanphear Livery
One Bay Street Watch Hill, R.I.

Attendance is FREE & Refreshments will be served.

Join The Westerly Historical Society in the historic Lanphear Livery for Fort Mansfield, 1898-1926, A History, a presentation by Jack Spratt, local historian, and historical boat Captain. This event will also introduce REFLECTIONS, an oral history program presented by the Westerly Historical Society. In one-hour video episodes, REFLECTIONS documents the lives of 24 Westerly residents aged 80 to 101 who were born, raised and lived a lifetime in our historic community.

“Fixed fortifications are monuments to man’s stupidity. If mountain ranges and oceans can be overcome, anything made by man can be overcome.” –George S. Patton.

The presentation will feature the history of Fort Mansfield, its purpose, construction, service, and decommissioning. The sinking of the USS MAINE, on 15 February 1898 profoundly impacted Watch Hill. If not for the Spanish-American War (April 21 – December 10, 1898) the United States Government would not have purchased, in secret 60 Napatree acres to construct three Battery gun emplacements with four 5-inch and two 8-inch guns, a complement of 120 soldiers with support buildings, a pier, and railroad.

This program is presented by The Westerly Historical Society, with the support of The Watch Hill Conservancy.


Watch Hill, Through the Lens of Edward N. Burdick, Edwin A. Scholfield, and George B. Bishop

Exhibition: Thursday, July 4 – Wednesday July 22
10:00 am- 5:00 pm
Lanphear Livery Atrium, One Bay St., Watch Hill

This exhibit is a unique journey spanning approximately forty-five years of Watch Hill life, from 1875 into the 1920s. This is not just a collection of photographs but a glimpse into the past through the eyes of professional local photographers. The fifty-two (52) prints from Jack Spratt’s collection are a rare window into the transformation of Watch Hill from a hotel resort to a cottage colony, from horse and steamboat to electric trolleys and automobiles.

Since the earliest use of the camera, photography has proved to be an ideal medium for conveying the unique characteristics of a particular place. These images say as much about what Watch Hill felt like as they do about what it looked like during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

“A good photograph is knowing where to stand.” Ansel Adams. We are indebted to these photographers for standing, framing, and preserving historic Watch Hill through their eyes.


Past Presentations

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