The love of our natural resources and wildlife habitats is a deep and closely interwoven appreciation of the history of our surroundings, and a curiosity about what and who was here long before us. Walking on lands in South County, a careful observer can interpret not only the land forms that reemerged to sunlight from under glacial ice, but see in a slight depression or mound remnants of pre-contact American life, or forgotten settlements, roads, and isolated grave yards among miles of stone walls, now shaded in the forest, where once field crops and cattle stood.
Examples of historic and cultural elements in stewardship projects undertaken by South Kingstown Land Trust include the following:
- Restoring and reconstructing over two miles of fallen-down stone walls at the historic Weeden Farm in Matunuck. This has become one of our most popular projects due to its use of original dry-wall techniques, volunteer participation, and the broad views of active farm fields it gives to travelers on Matunuck Beach Road. We have also developed a self-guided tour explaining the local geology through specimen rocks that form the walls.
- At the twelve-acre Biscuit City Pond historic site we are maintaining and developing access trails, uncovering the impressive fieldstone ruins of the late seventeenth-century Biscuit City Mill, and restoring the Spring House which houses a perennial spring that once supplied Kingston Village’s first modern water system. With generous volunteer help we are preparing an application for recognition in the Natural Register of Historic Places for the site’s pre- industrial-age mill, and for its role as a working village for post-emancipation African Americans.
- Experience a unique sense of place at the Hale House in the Matunuck hills, a late 19th century home in Coastal South Kingstown, Rhode Island. Former summer home of American author and clergyman Rev. Dr. Edward Everett Hale (1822-1909) and his family of artists and writers. Period rooms restored to 1890s appearance. Art exhibits and cultural programs. Open for the season every Friday & Saturday from 1:00 – 4:00 pm late June thru Labor Day. Learn more here.
- In 2012, South Kingstown Land Trust took ownership of the historic Samuel Perry Grist Mill and adjoining three acres on its Mill Pond. It is a very rare–perhaps unique–example of a mill in continuous use from the early eighteenth century. Serving as a focal point of the agrarian community for three hundred years, it ekes out enough power from as little as eight feet of hydraulic head to turn half-ton hand-chiseled five-foot-diameter granite millstones. The corn that is used is as traditional as the mill itself—a closely guarded strain of white flint corn traded down ever since the first decades of Indian contact. Although we are not experts in the art of milling, SKLT highly values this tradition and will act as custodian for the mill and assist the current millers to teach their skills to younger generations.