Take a peek into Woonsocket’s historic homes this holiday season

Take a peek into Woonsocket’s historic homes this holiday season

Scott MacLennan, owner of the Oscar Rathbun Mansion, opened his home to the 2016 Woonsocket Holiday Historic House Tour, hosted by the Museum of Work and Culture. (Breeze file photos by Charles Lawrence)

WOONSOCKET – This holiday season, visitors and residents can get a taste of how Woonsocket’s movers and shakers lived during the city’s golden industrial age.

The Museum of Work and Culture is hosting its second Holiday Historic House Tour of Woonsocket’s North End on Sunday, Dec. 9, at 1:30 p.m. According to Sarah Carr, assistant director of the museum, the event offers a glimpse into a different history than the story of the mill workers at the heart of most of the museum’s programs.

“Most of the historic homes on the North End were owned by either the owners of the mills, or the management, or the families or even the owners of businesses on Main Street,” she said. “The upper crust of Woonsocket at that time. And so it sort of gives a peek into what that life was, which isn’t necessarily the story that we tell within the museum’s walls.”

The city’s North End, bordered roughly by Verry Street to the south, Highland Street to the west, Winter Street to the north and Summer Street to the east, is classified as a historic district and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Many of the homes, said Carr, still display the features of early 20th century construction, when gas lamps were the newest technology to light the way through the winter months.

As part of the event, participants will receive a guided tour of the North End and visit several homes that continue to be used as private residences. Homeowners will offer tours inside the homes and share stories with visitors about their experiences caring for and rehabbing the historic properties.

“All these homes are private residences, and the families who’ve decided to open their doors very generously for that afternoon to help the museum, we’re very grateful to them,” said Carr.

As an added bonus, many of the homes will be decorated for Christmas, bringing a festive air to the event. Afterward, homeowners and participants will gather at River Falls restaurant for a traditional French Canadian holiday meal consisting of pea soup, meat pie, roasted turkey with gravy, honey tarragon carrots, cranberry sauce, brown bread and a maple dessert.

The North End historic house tour was first held in 2016, when Carr said the event sold out. Last year, the museum decided not to hold the event as they had already hosted a 20th anniversary gala shortly before the holiday season. The museum received so many calls asking about the event, she said, they knew they had to host it again this year.

To add to the Christmas celebration, participants will receive a guidebook that includes favorite holiday songs and are invited to carol as they make their way around the neighborhood.

“It’s not mandatory, but it adds a festive air to the day,” said Carr.

Tickets for the historic house tour are available at the Museum of Work and Culture or online at SquareUp.com/store/mowc. Tickets for the house tour only are $40. Tickets for the house tour and holiday dinner are $65. Proceeds will support the museum’s programs. For more information, contact the Museum of Work and Culture at 401-769-9675.

Trudy Lamoureaux, in front, and her daughter, Lenore Rheaume, walk down the the beautiful wooden staircase leading from the second floor of their home at 368 Prospect Street during the first Holiday Historic House Tour in 2016.