BY MARTHA SMITH
Special to the Standard
NORTH KINGTSTOWN – People attending the town’s fireworks display on July 4 at the town beach will be facing a number of challenges.
The band pavilion is under construction, the old meal site is being demolished and both the Beechwood House and the 17th Century Lodewick Updike House, sitting on the lot next door, are ready to roll to their new locations.
Public Works Department Director Phil Bergeron says, “We’re trying to secure everything for the upcoming weekend. The Beechwood is at the end of the parking lot; there’s a chain-link fence to the south. There’s a lot of activity down there. It’s relatively secure but we’re at a standstill now.”
Bergeron says the town intends to put up construction fencing, noting, “It’s precarious at this point. We would love to have had it [all] done in March.”
According to Lori Holland who, with her husband, is the new owner of the Updike House, the target date to move the house to their property in Smithfield is July 12. Obtaining permits to haul the house – loaded and secured on the back of a flatbed trailer – through multiple municipalities caused the delay, she explains.
“The owner [Andrew McClatchy, who is restoring the Beechwood] is so anxious to move his house and get our house out.”
When the little cottage arrives in Smithfield, it will be set on the ground, a basement will be excavated and then the house will be picked up and placed over the hole. Eventually it will be extended to provide room for an open stairway to the basement, exterior doors on either end, a kitchen and a screened porch.
Holland, who owns two large historic colonials, says she looks forward to downsizing to the small cottage – built in the 1600s by one of Wickford’s founding families – where “every room will have a purpose.”
The town’s fireworks display will begin at dusk (around 9 p.m.) on July 4 at the town beach; the rain site for viewing is the community center, across the parking lot.
The Lafayette Band, with guests the Hummingbird Trio, will present a concert at 7 p.m.
Both events are free.
Martha Smith is an award-winning journalist and author. Retired, she is an independent contractor for Southern Rhode Island Newspapers and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org .