Explore Centredale with history walk June 13

Explore Centredale with history walk June 13

Fourth-graders from Stephen Olney Elementary School gather around a plaque in front of Town Hall declaring North Providence a town. The students learned that North Providence was part of Providence until 1765.

NORTH PROVIDENCE – The public is invited to learn about the history of Centredale – and the people and legends associated with the village – during a walking tour on Thursday, June 13.

The Centredale History Walk, which is free and open to the public, begins at 10 a.m. at the North Providence Frank C. Angell Memorial Town Hall, 2000 Smith St. and will be led by Ruth Bucci, a North Providence resident and chairwoman of the town’s Historic District Commission.

The retired North Providence High School history teacher who’s “somewhat athletic” said she wants to “use my skills to do something that I think is important for the community.”

The 90-minute walk will start at and loop back to the new town hall with stops on Woonasquatucket Avenue, George Street, and Waterman Avenue and at the Centredale Bridge.

Folks on the tour will learn about the founding of North Providence as well as stories, facts, and legends of people from Centredale’s history.

“There are different people I’ll mention from the history of Centredale and how they contributed to Centredale,” she said.

The new town hall bears the name of one of those people: Frank C. Angell. A harness maker who died in 1928, Angell made different contributions to the city, including leaving his land for a new town hall to be built.

“He was dedicated to the town,” Bucci said. “He was an outstanding contributor to the town.”

Bucci said she’ll also talk about schools, libraries, post offices, churches, business, industry entertainment, hospitality and the military.

The walk is mostly on sidewalks along main roads and includes crossing busy driveways and streets, so walkers need to exercise caution, she said.

Growing up in North Providence, Bucci said she enjoyed Centredale, especially walking down Mineral Spring Avenue and going to the shops and to the movies.

“I think it has such great potential if people get to know it again a little bit,” she said. “I think the history is part of who we are.”

In 2017, Bucci gave two official guided tours of the village and recently heard requests from residents to do the tour again.

While on past walks, people would tell her stories about their lives, she said. “It’s a very strong connection between everybody … I love the stories.”

For the first time this year, Bucci took students from two different elementary schools on history tours around Centredale, and shared information particular to their individual schools, she said.

Two 3rd-grade and two 4th-grade classes from Centredale School took a tour of Old Town Hall with town historian Thomas E. Greene while two 4th-grade classes from Stephen Olney School took a tour of the new town hall with Mayor Charles Lombardi and former Mayor G. Richard Fossa.

“The kids were very enthusiastic and interested,” she said.

Melissa Damico, a 4th-grade teacher at Stephen Olney, said the historical tour fit perfectly with the 4th-grade curriculum on R.I. history. In addition, because students walked from their temporary school on Woonasquatucket Avenue, the field trip met the state’s new requirement that schools not charge students for field trips.

“Teachers are going to have to start getting creative,” she said.

Walkers must register for the June 13 tour and sign a waiver prior to participating. For more information, contact Bucci at 401-353-5540 or ruthbucci@gmail.com .

Mayor Charles Lombardi and Ruth Bucci, a retired teacher at North Providence High School, talk to students inside the Town Council Chambers at Town Hall.
During their field trip tour, a group of fourth-grade students from Stephen Olney School stops in a stairwell at Town Hall to snap a photo of a historic poster of Centredale.