Town plans signage at historic Keefe Wall marker

Town plans signage at historic Keefe Wall marker

The Keefe Wall Monument, dated 1903, sits before the intersection of Mendon Road and Store Hill Road in the historic village of Ashton.

CUMBERLAND – Driving down Mendon Road toward Ashton Historic Village sits a small monument that reads “Keefe Wall 1903,” named after a former Cumberland town councilman. It’s easy to miss if you’re not looking for it.

As part of improvements to the Ashton Historic Village, one of the designated sites of the Blackstone Valley National Historical Park, town officials are hoping to add an interpretive sign that provides information about the little-known Keefe Wall Monument, says Jonathan Stevens, the town’s director of planning and community development.

He said there’s no date yet for when that sign will go up.

The history behind the monument, located before the Store Hill Road sign, is “a little bit of a mystery,” Stevens told The Breeze.

A single slab of either granite or limestone, the four-foot monument is named for Timothy Keefe, who was born in 1861 and died in 1927. In addition to serving on the Cumberland Town Council, Keefe, who was born in England, owned a grocery store in Ashton, which he took over from one or both of his parents, Stevens said, citing information from the book “Rhode Island: Three Centuries of Democracy” by Charles Carroll.

As a councilman at the start of the 20th century, Keefe “tenaciously endeavored for needed improvements in Ashton,” which included getting the town to build a retaining wall to protect against erosion, Stevens said. He said that further research is required to determine whether Keefe’s retaining wall still exists.

As part of plans to improve and refresh the Ashton Village Gateway (the intersection of Mendon Road and Store Hill Road near Angell Road), officials want to clear overgrown vegetation, add plantings, and consolidate signage, according to a draft visual assessment of the village provided by Stevens.

Adding a sign with information about Keefe Wall Monument is entirely consistent with the National Park Service, he said, by creating historical value by celebrating the features of Ashton Village that the public would find interesting.

Timothy Keefe