“Joseph P. Hazard: Man of Mystery”, Tuesday, Sept. 26, 6 PM

Join us at Peace Dale Library on Tuesday, September 26, 6 PM, with local historian Prof. Richard Vangeermeersch and Rhode Island College Special Collections Librarian Marlene Lopes for a presentation about Joseph P. Hazard (1807-1892).

Joseph P Hazard seated view

Hazard was part of the prominent mill-owning Peace Dale family but was not involved in running the family’s business ventures. Prof. Vangermeersch will speak about Hazard’s diary and letters and their historical context. Artifacts and documents relating to Joseph P. Hazard from both Rhode Island College and Peace Dale Library will be on display.

Registration preferred but not required at 789-1555 xt 108 or jwilson@skpl.org.


Photos of the Peace Dale Fountain in its original location, c. 1903

Dexter Hoxie, who spent much of his life in Peace Dale and served as personal secretary to Rowland Gibson Hazard II, also took many fine photographs of the village in the first years of the 20th century. Here are 4 from the Library’s Photograph Collection that show the Fountain in its original location. These date from approximately 1900-1905.

Mill workers at noon; note the Fountain filled with water at lower right


The Library and Fountain as seen from the Peace Dale Office Building

Looking east on Kingstown Road with the Fountain on the right



Relocated Peace Dale Fountain dedicated



A public outdoor ceremony was held at Peace Dale Library on Saturday, June 10, 2017, to celebrate the relocation of the village’s historic 3-tier stone Fountain to its new location on the Library’s front lawn.

Library Director Laurel Clark welcomed attendees and thanked all those who had a hand in the moving of the 1890 Fountain, mentioning as well the Narragansett Indian stonemasons who built not only the Fountain but many other stone buildings in Peace Dale. Library Board of Trustees President Betty Cotter outlined the history of the Fountain and compared its symbolic significance as a source of water and sustenance, to the Library as a source of knowledge and community life. Town Council President Abel Collins conveyed the greetings of the Council and shared his own admiration for libraries.

Music was provided by the Broad Rock Middle School Orchestra, who, directed by Andrea Theroux, performed Hornpipe from Water Music by Handel, and Shimmering Water by Joyce Grill. Trustee President Cotter stated that, with the stone for the Fountain having been quarried at the former Broad Rock Farm, it was especially fitting to have musicians from that school perform at the event.

Also among the 60 or so people in attendance were State Representatives Kathy Fogarty, State Senator Mark Gee, Town Council members Bryant Da Cruz and Liz Gledhill, Town Manager Steve Alfred, Library Trustees Catherine Taylor, Susan Cohen, Nicholas Gvosdev, Donna Gilton, Dianne McHugh, and Colin McCullough, and members of the public.

Following the ceremony, the public was invited inside the Library for refreshments and to see a display of Library artifacts in the Old Main Reading Room. Originally built in 1891 as Hazard Memorial Hall to contain both a Library and auditorium, the building was home for many years to theatrical productions, graduations, and concerts. Items on exhibit included a painted banner from 1898 that was used as a theatrical backdrop for a play called “South County Magazine”; the April 1898 Narragansett Times notice promoting that event; 3 steamer trunks belonging to Joseph P. Hazard; Library signs from bygone eras including one reading “No Boys in Balcony”; and more.

The Fountain originally hooked into the village’s water system and was located near what is now the traffic island between the Library and the Peace Dale Office Building. The 3 graduated stones were designed for horses, oxen, and dogs. Eventually, a large elm tree next to the Fountain had to be taken down. The Fountain by itself in that location would have created a traffic hazard, and in January, 1950, it was moved to the west side of the Library. It remained there, dry, for 66 years. In 2016, the planned installation of a guard rail along that part of Kingstown Road necessitated another move, and it was brought to its present location. Lines for a recycled, non-potable water feature were put in at that time and ensured that Peace Dale’s Fountain was once again filled with water for the event.

Jessica Wilson, Local History Librarian


DAR donates shelves to Rhode Island History Room at Peace Dale Library

The Peace Dale Library announces the installation and dedication of new shelving in its Rhode Island History Room that was made possible by a donation from the Narragansett Cooke-Gaspee Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.
The shelves embody the generosity of longtime Chapter member Mary Daniel Whaley Bray, whose gifts over many years have also made possible the acquisition of numerous genealogy and local history materials. The Library’s collection includes genealogies of families with roots in southern Rhode Island, a full set of Mayflower books, Arnold’s Vital Records, and a wide variety of publications of local and statewide interest. The Rhode Island History Room is open to the public during library hours and the Library is located at 1057 Kingstown Road in South Kingstown.
DAR Bookshelf dedication
A photo of those in attendance at the May 31, 2017, dedication is attached.
Seated, l-r: Camilla Wiener, DAR Chapter Regent; Priscilla Chappell, DAR Chapter Librarian.
Standing, l-r: Jessica Wilson, Local History Librarian; Elizabeth McNab, DAR Chapter Historian; Elizabeth Candas, Past DAR Chapter Regent and Honorary State Regent; and Laurel Clark, Library Director.


Book on Rhode Island Clam Shacks added

The Peace Dale Library has added two copies (one circulating, one in-library use only) of Rhode Island Clam Shacks by Christopher Scott Martin and David Norton Stone. This new title in Arcadia Publishing’s Images of America series contains numerous photos of venues around the state, including Aunt Carrie’s and George’s of Galilee,  that either used to, or still do, dish up this Rhode Island summer favorite!

And, the authors will be at Peace Dale Library on Monday, July 17, at 6 PM! They will present a slideshow based on the book, and there will be an opportunity to purchase autographed copies.  Join us!


Joseph P. Hazard’s Newfoundland Dog

Transcribing the 380+ handwritten pages of the diary of Joseph P. Hazard (1807-1892), most of which are expense ledgers, is not complete, but among the 20 or so pages of plain narrative we now have done, we found  on page 379 this poignant memory. The event he describes appears to have taken place near the rocks at Hazard Avenue in Narragansett.

“My short-haired Black [?] (and a little mottled) Newfoundland Dog, was the best water dog I ever saw, or heard of. He leaped into the Sea, however cold the weather, and on one occasion, he followed a swimming wounded bird so far out at Sea, that I could not see him, and was gone so long thereafter, I took for granted he had been drowned–there being quite a Sea on the rocky shore. After a while, I caught sight of him. He was about a quarter of a mile from the shore but coming toward the “Indian Rock” that was nearly  half a mile to North of me. I took for granted he was too weak to effect a landing without my aid. I therefore ran toward him but before I got up to his point of Landing, he landed and ran toward me as rapidly as if he had not left the shore. He was the most gentle and good natured dog I ever knew. I lamented his loss, and today in my 83rd year, I never think of him without feeling a warm interest in him and…company in the Future World.”