Aquidneck Stone Wall initiative to be celebrated with public ceremony at Simmons Farm
The Aquidneck Stone Walls Initiative will hold a public ceremony on Thursday, December 13 to celebrate the repairs to the dry stone walls at the entrance to the West Main Road of Simmons Farm. Historically known as Coggeshall Farm, Simmons Farm is one of the oldest farms on the island still in operation. Over the years, its historic stone walls have fallen into disrepair and become overgrown. The Aquidneck Stone Wall Initiative restored 211 linear feet of wall, enhancing the historic farm landscape and the scenic quality of West Main Road.
The Aquidneck Stone Wall Initiative (www.aquidneckstonewalls.org) is a collaboration between Preserve Rhode Island (PRI) and the Preservation Society of Newport County (PSNC) to protect and enhance the scenic character of Aquidneck Island through historic repair stone walls. The stone walls are visible reminders of the island’s rural agricultural history and contribute to its sense of place, especially as they line busy roads and frame views of historic farms and open spaces. open. Supported by funding from the van Beuren Charitable Foundation, the pilot phase of this effort will consist of repairing the stone walls of Simmons Farm and Norman Bird Sanctuary in Middletown, sites selected for their historical significance, visibility and significance. impact on the landscape.
PRI and PSNC have hired Faraone Stonework & Masonry, a Rhode Island contractor certified under the Dry Stone Walling Association of Great Britain (DSWA-GB). Faraone trained with the Dry Stone Conservancy of Kentucky and the Stone Trust, a Vermont nonprofit that preserves and advances the art and crafts of dry stone walls. Building on these efforts, the Aquidneck Stone Wall Initiative represents an exciting way for PRI and PSNC to promote this important craft in Rhode Island.
Repair of the stone walls of the Norman Bird Sanctuary will begin in the spring of 2019 at the intersection of Hanging Rock and Third Beach Road. Years of exposure to the elements and vegetation growth, compounded by the theft of massive cover stones, have shrunk the historic stone walls along this busy intersection. The Initiative seeks to restore the historic and scenic quality of this corner as it is a gateway to the precious local beaches of Middletown and Sachuest Point.
The Aquidneck Stone Wall Initiative grew out of a 2017 survey of the historic resources of Aquidneck Island by PRI and PSNC. The survey identified historic buildings, including houses and barns , and historical elements, such as stone walls, which contribute to the disappearance of the island. historical and agricultural landscape.