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Protecting, Promoting, and Preserving History with the Pawtuxet Village Association

By Elisha Neubauer

Pawtuxet has a vibrant history, spanning over three centuries of inclusive architecture, culture, and commerce. The village was settled in 1638 and named for its scenery; its name translating to little falls. Started as a farming settlement, it expanded, and in the 1700s became known as an important seaport. But that wasn't the end of the changes taking place within the industry of Pawtuxet, because in the 1800s, it transformed into a textile manufacturing center, until the 1900s when it became a recreational destination.

Today, the area has settled into its new role as a residential and commercial area. The local residents are enamored with the town's backstory, embracing it while still maintaining the growth and upswing of the vibrant community. To protect, promote, and preserve the historic atmosphere of the location, the Pawtuxet Village Association was formed.

"The Pawtuxet Village Association is comprised of local residents who advocate and sponsor numerous improvements jointly with city government," explains Janet Hartman, Board of Directors Member. "Pawtuxet Village Association was formed in response to the RI Historical Preservation and Heritage Commission, when they recommended that Pawtuxet Village be placed on the National Historic Register of Historic Places."

The organization is responsible for publishing The Bridge Newspaper to document the history, architecture and village life; as well as decorating the village with flags and flowers in the summer and wreaths in the winter seasons. They initiate many local activities, going back to the creation of Pawtuxet Park, historic lighting and brick sidewalks throughout the district and distinctive signage.

"All of this contributes to the pride village residents feel for their community and the enjoyment visitors experience when they come to shop, dine or sail," says Hartman.

"The number of volunteers who work to publicize and maintain Pawtuxet's history is remarkable," Hartman boasts. "The sense of community in the village is unique and notable." These volunteers appear at such events as the Gaspee Days Parade, which is presented by a sister organization, but highlighted by the Pawtuxet Rangers (Artillery - Fife & Drum Corps). "It's the biggest event of the year," she tells us.

One of the main things Hartman wants to stress is that both local residents and visitors to the area stop and pick up a free copy of The Bridge Newspaper. "It's published just prior to Gaspee Days and winter holidays," she tells us. "It brings the news of all local organizations together and teaches local history in an appealing and personal way."

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About The Author

Elisha Neubauer is a freelance editor, ghostwriter, book reviewer, and author. She is...

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