Past Programs and Events
Special thanks to Bob Petrone, our videographer for these events
Quonochontaug Historical Society
It or Not?
Rum-running Along Our Coast
For the last 30 years Stephen Jones has been on the Univ. of Conn. maritime faculty
where he has taught courses on literature, the environment, and aspects of the sea.
He served in the Coast Guard as a lighthouse keeper, has worked on lobster boats, and sailed
the West Indies. He is the author of ten books including “The Actual McCoy”, an in-depth
study of the life and times of rum-runner Bill McCoy
Early 1900 Sayer Family Quonnie History on East Beach
Ed Sayer presented his family photos of their life on East Beach from the early 1900's to the 1960's.
Ed's great-grandparents, grandparents, and father summered on East Beach prior to WWI.
His father purchased Governor's Island in Ninigret Pond in 1934
and created an access to the island from the barrier beach.
Open House at the Mite Box
The former officer's club at the naval airbase has recently been restored. For a peek inside
the one+ room cottage and to hear the lore of the building and share recollections,
Alex Risley and Holly Schroeder
Rocking Chair Quonnie Remembrances
Listen to the stories told by those who have been part of Quonnie for
most of their lives. Learn more about Quonnie’s past from
Phylis Burdick Reynolds, Kate Waterman, Hope Andrews, Ed Sayer, Dick Hutchins,
Charlotte Hohl, and David Brown.
In two videos
Laurie and Gayle are researchers of area cemeteries as a part of the
Rhode Island Historical Cemetery Transcription Project. After nine years of
research, they have published a beautiful hardcover book entitled “Charlestown,
Rhode Island Historical Cemeteries”. The book contains maps, photos, and information
about the family members buried in each cemetery.
Lorraine Tarket-Arruda and Gayle E. Waite, Authors/Lecturers
In two videos
Your Quonnie History Evening
The Quonochontaug Historical Society presented historic photographic displays
as well as an informational presentation about our preservation, cataloguing
and computer data base projects. In addition, residents shared Quonochontaug artifacts and photos.
Quonnie Stories by David Brown
Listen to the stories told by long-time resident of Quonnie, David Brown.
David first came to Quonnie with his parents in 1926. He relates stories about his family,
the Coast Gurard Station, life on the old breachway, the Pendleton family, Tom Clarke,
“Bill’s Island” and so much more.
Postcards of Old Quonnie
Enjoy a slide presentation of old Quonnie postcards from our
QHS collection presented by our president, Anne Doyle.
Ninigret, Sachem of the Niantics and Narragansetts
“Ninigret was at the center of almost every major development involving southern
New England indigenous tribes between the Pequot War of 1636-37 and King Philip’s
War of 1675-76. He was the most influential Native American leader of his era in this area”
- David J. Silverman and Julie A. Fisher.
Ashaway Colony History/Beachwalk
Have you ever wondered what “ Ashaway Colony” means?
Have you ever wondered about the Qunochontaug Inn which now is
The Nun’s Retreat Center?
Do you know where to find Profile Rock, Turtle Rock, and Picnic Rock?
Growing Up on Quonnie’s East and West Farm
What was it like growing up on a farm in Quonnie?
We pass the East and West Farm off Route 1 and West Beach Road
every time we come and leave Quonnie.
Tour of Barnacle Cottage and History of
Morris Point and Patches
Morris Point has its unique place in Quonnie history. The once famous actor Chester
Morris's family built their summer retreat at the east end of West Beach in 1917.
After the 1938 Hurricane, Richie Thomsen's great aunt bought the property.
What remains is Barnacle" (former carriage house/servants quarters) and "Patches"
a little cottage built by the Mogielnicki family from pieces of the original
Morris Point structure.
Richie Thomsen and Peter Mogielnicki
2018 A Year in Pictures
80th Anniversary, Hurricane of 38
What happened at Quonnie then?What could happen now?
Donna Jordan, Anne Doyle,Charlotte Hohl, and Sandra Champion
How to Do an Old Fashion Clam Bake and
Dedication of the Hutchins Community Room”
Dig a hole? Use a Pot? Cover with tarps? Maybe, Maybe not!
And isn't it MORE THAN JUST CLAMS???
Dick Hutchins, and other local experts
World War II in Rhode Island
HELLCATS and blackout shades!! Historian and Author Christian McBurney's discusses
his book, "World War II in Rhode Island". He reviews Little Rhody's high involvement
in support of the War effort and highlight Charlestown area wartime activities.
Christian McBurney, Author
Life as a Submariner in WWI
This presentation focuses on Dick Moran, a long time resident of
Quonnie who was a submariner service during WWI.
Steve Young, QHS Member
Tuesday, October 8, 2019
The Quonnie Breachway Pre - ’38
This presentation explores historical records, oral histories, pictures and and film
to discover how nature and people have changed the course of the breachway and
how this has influenced the past development of the breachway
leading to a unique sense of community before the 1938 Hurricane.
Richard Wells, QHS Board Member
Wednesday, August 21st, 7:00 PM
Quonnie Breachway Marsh Restoration and Dredging Project
an overview of the recent Quonnie Breachway marsh restoration efforts
and the associated dredging operation.
Wenley Ferguson, Director of Habitat Restoration for Save the Bay
Recipient of the 2018 US Environmental Protection Agency Environmental Merit Award, and a
Resident of Quonochontaug's Shady Harbor.
Wednesday, August 14th, 7:00 PM
All About Those Old Stone Walls
Why are hey there?
Who put them there?
What are the history and different characteristics of these artistic stone works?
Timothy Ives, Rhode Island State Archeologist
Wednesday, August 7th, 7:00 PM
The Purple Shell - Traditional Wampum & Native Crafts
The original meaning of wampum and how it is made. His studio,
Wednesday, July 17th, 7:00 PM
Quonochontaug Life Saving Station
Starting with a forbidden romance and ending the Hurricane of '38, this talk provides incite
into the trilling rescues and day to day life of the surfmen and keeper that lived in the Quonnie station.This presentation discusses the history of the heroic life-saving efforts
on the Quonnie shore in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Presenter: Amanda Keenan - a historian who has worked at the Nantucket Life Saving Museum (now Nantucket Shipwreck Museum), Nantucket Historical Association, and is currently an Advancement Officer at the Mystic Seaport Museum.
Wednesday, July 8, 2020 - 7:00 PM
Explore the ceremonial stonework left behind as an enduring presence on the land
by the indigenous population that occupied New England for over 12,000 years.
Presenter: Mark Starr - Document
Wednesday, July 22, 2020 - 7:00 PM
Point Judith Fishing Port Portraits
Point Judith is one of the few active fishing ports left in New England and
continues the traditions going back to the earliest European arrivals.
Presenter: Mark Starr - Documentarian
Wednesday, August 5, 2020 - 7:00 PM
Annual Meeting &
Discovery of a Quonnie WWII Artifact
A brief annual meeting, beginning at 7 PM will be followed by an evening program Discovery of a Quonnie WWII Artifact. How a fall Nor’easter uncovered a bit of Quonnie history and led to the discovery of a local expert on Hellcat crashes near Airbase
Presenters: Peter Mogielnicki - QHS Board of Directors
Wednesday, August 19, 2020 - 7:00 PM
Horseshoe Crabs of Quonochontaug
Horseshoe crabs have been on this earth for 450 million years! They are by far the oldest residents of Quonochontaug, RI. They thrive along our coast and in our saltwater ponds. This program provides some interesting information about amazing animals, including their resilience, toughness, and adaptability.
Presenter: Steve Young - QHS Board of Directors
Howard Thorp 1889-1969
In the 1920’s, Howard Thorp acquired the land which would become much of the present day Quonnie. Learn about his vision of the perfect seaside community.
Presenter: Steve Young (QHS - BOD)
July 14, 2021 - 7 PM
Nuclear Energy and Ninigret Park
Learn how the Charlestown Naval Airbase almost became a nuclear power plant and the environmental impacts of nuclear energy.
Presenter - Art Ganz (Marine Biologist)
July 28, 2021- 7 PM
Rhode Island and Aquaculture
Discover ways in which the oceans can contribute to society without causing environmental degradation and how aquaculture can thread the needle.
Presenter: Jerry Schubel (President Emeritus of the Aquarium of the Pacific)
August 11, 2021 - 7 PM
Annual Meeting & The Quonnie Breachway Pre-1938
Discover how nature and people have changed the course of the breachway, and the unique sense of community that developed prior to the 1938 Hurricane. A live Q&A session will follow over Zoom. This program was originally presented in 2019.
Presenter: Richard Wells (QHS Board Member)
August 25, 2021 - 7:00 PM
The Exquisite Night Sky
Learn about easy ways to protect Quonnie’s dark skies from the problem of ever-increasing light pollution and our local gem, Frosty Drew.
Presenters: Bill Steinman - Quonnie Night Sky Enthusiast;
Scott MacNeill - Director Frosty Drew Observatory
July 13 , 2022 - 7:00 PM
Rare Quonnie Postcards
Joe Coduri presents his acclaimed postcard collection.
Anne Doyle uses this collection to give insight into Quonnie’s rich history.
Presenter: Joe Coduri - Local Historian and Avid Postcard Collector
Anne Doyle - QHS Archivist
July 27, 2022 - 7:00 PM
Historic Quonnie Home Tours
Learn about three Quonnie homes that were once prominent farms. This year, Buddington
Farm, Jarred Babcock Farm (Whistling Chimneys), and Sheffield Farm will be our focus.
Presenters: Steve Young, Ken Andrews, and Leah Bradshaw - QHS Board Members
August 10, 2022 - 7:00 PM
Day in the Lifer of a Quahogger
Also known as the “King of the Bay” Jody King is not just any Quahogger - having over 30 years of experience on Narragansett Bay. Learn all there is about “quahogging”!
Presenter: Jody King
August 24, 2022 - 7:00 PM
The Submarine Battle of Block Island Sound, May 1945
The dramatic tale of the last German sub to prowl U.S. waters in World War II, and the battle that ended with her sinking just off Quonnie’s shores.
Presenter: Bill Steinman – QHS Archivist
Wednesday, July 12, 2023
Historic Quonnie Virtual Home Tours
Explore the rich 150-year history of the West Beach oceanfront property commonly known as the Nun’s House. We’ll also peek inside Quonnie’s few remaining tiny summer cottages.
Presenters: Steve Young and Leah Bradshaw – QHS Board Members
Wednesday, July 26, 2023
Development of the Quonnie Neck
The evolution of the Quonnie Neck, from the early rural farms of the 1800s to the present-day beach associations, water systems, and paved roads.
Presenter: Ken Andrew – QHS Board Member
Wednesday, August 9, 2023
Quonnie Marsh Restoration
A brief annual meeting will begin at 6:30 pm, immediately followed by the Quonnie Marsh Restoration program. Hear about the recent major efforts to restore and maintain the vital salt marshes in Quonnie and Ninigret Ponds.
Guest Speaker: Wenley Ferguson – Save the Bay
Wednesday, August 23, 2023
Quonnie Believe It or Not
Where does the coal come from that is found on Quonnie’s beaches?
Did Thomas Edison operate an iron extraction company in Quonnie?
Did Quonnie own its own fire engine?
What is the Hindenburg’s connection to Quonnie?