Past Programs and  Events

Special thanks to Bob Petrone, our videographer for these events

2012     2013     2014     2015     2016     2017     2018     2019     2020    

2021     2022   2023


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.

Edmund Sayer

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

Cemetery Searches

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.

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.

Dick Hutchins


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

Bob Patrone

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

Alan Hazard  

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

Ceremonial Stonework

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.

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.

Steve Young and Leah BradshawQHS Board of Directors

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.

Ken AndrewQHS Board of Directors

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.

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?

Steve Young and Bill Steinmann - QHS Board of Directors

Wednesday, October 18, 2023

Quonochontaug Historical Society