Edison Tree: 

Losing a Bit of Quonnie History

Special Thanks to:

Joan Gordon - Article

Ken Andrew - Photos

Quonochontaug Historical Society

         The Quonochontaug Historical Society's mission is to educate people about the unique history of the Quonochontaug, RI area. As many of our members know the famous inventor, Thomas Edison, had an Ore-Milling Company along the Hudson River. The business used a magnetic iron ore separator to extract the black iron sand that covered the beaches of Quonochontaug, Rhode Island.

        The business had never flourished not least because the sea that had washed up the deposits in the first place kept reclaiming its own. While Edison was residing here in Quonnie he befriended Mr. Buckner Speed, an inventor, living on Powaget Avenue in East Beach and gave him a gift of a Copper Beach tree.

    We had recently been informed by the owner of Mr. Speed's property today that the beautiful Copper Beach tree that has been a staple on Powaget Avenue for over 100 years had been greatly compromised and became a safety issue. The owners and their neighbors had been trying to save it through the arborist at Wilcox Park in Westerly using various tree treatments. The root base was compromised and the trunk was splitting in the middle.

        An arborist crew recently completed their work removing the tree that Thomas Edison gave to Mr. Speed. We want to thank Lori Joyal, the present owner of Mr. Speed's property, the Mazzarellis, and former owners of the property before Lori, who took much time and effort to preserve the Copper Beech Tree.  

       Much to our regret, we have to give up a piece of our amazing Quonnie history although we are thankful to have pictures and some specimens on display at our archive center in the Quonochontaug Grange.