Day Four

There is something about time travel that has always fascinated me.  Whether it is science fiction, or a trip through a National Historic Park, both allow us to travel through a time and experience something that is far from what we know.  Today was a day for time travel to the past.

2013 April 28 Providence-Quincy-Newprot 010We started out the morning in Providence, Rhode Island at the center of the city opposite the capital building.  The Visitor’s Center dedicated to Roger Williams, the founder of Rhode Island, was very informative.  Roger Williams, a gifted minister and preacher, left England in 1631 because of religious conflicts.  After arriving in Boston, he was forced to leave that area in 1636 for the very same reasons he had left England.  Founding the territory of Rhode Island, he was determined to make it a religiously free territory where anyone could practice the religion of their choice – or no religion at all.  His writings on religious freedom were a major influence on Thomas Jefferson and the founders of our country.  His remains are buried on a hill overlooking the city of Providence and his statue stands a top the hill, giving his blessing to the city.

2013 April 28 Providence-Quincy-Newprot 039From the 1630’s we traveled north and forward in time to the 1790’s and into the history of the Blackstone River Valley in Massachusetts.  We learned about the American industrial revolution and the thousands of small mill towns that manufactured the the fabric that would help to make our country independent from England.  The story of the mill towns and the child labor, as well as company towns, is a sad one.  It was progress – but at what cost?  Many immigrant families, including the children as young as six years old, worked 12 hour days in the mills that were powered by the Blackstone River.  Many mills throughout the Valley stayed in production until the early 1900’s when water power was no longer the only source of energy.  Electricity allowed mills to be built closer to the cotton crops and the major industry of the valley moved into the south, closer to the cotton fields.

2013 April 28 Providence-Quincy-Newprot 065Venturing further north, and back into the 18th century, we found the birth place, home and family farm of John and Abigale Adams and their children, one of whom also became president, John Quincy.  The area is proud of its native sons and every block is replete with history and markers to denote the church they attended, the home they built, their carriage house and the like.  It felt like standing in a reverent place when I was in the garden outside the house.  It was a beautiful spring day and the family spirit seemed to remain despite the space of years.

2013 April 28 Providence-Quincy-Newprot 123And for the final time travel of the day, we drove south and into the last century, to one summer when I was a student home from college and living with my folks in Newport, RI.  We found the old house and walked the park surrounding the housing area that was once Ft. Adams, as the sun was setting over Narraganset Bay.  I remember evenings spent sitting on a rock in that very same place writing letters to the love of my life, who seven months later would become my husband.

It was a beautiful way to end the day of time travel and come back to the present.

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