The Block Island Times

The Block Island Times: History’s first draft

Jan 29, 2014
Gladys Steadman Grande Dame of the Block Island Historical Society, recalls the past as second grade cousins, Geoffrey and Kevin Ernst, show their illustrations in the new publication, Block Island History.

“News is only the first rough draft of history.”
— Journalist Alan Barth

Newspapers are not meant to be saved, but we’re often glad that they are. They become, over time, cultural artifacts. What is often more interesting than the big stories are the smaller details, the ads for businesses that are long gone, the prices of things, the first impressions of important events that time either sanctions or disproves.

I have the luxury of sitting a few feet away from the back issues of The Block Island Times from the 1970s and ’80s that were given to us as a gift, and am often tempted away from mundane tasks to thumb through the back issues to reminisce.

We’ve decided to share some of our finds over the next few months by excerpting stories and advertisements that take us all a few decades back in time. We invite you to drop by the office any time to delve deeper.

What I think you will discover is how much has changed as well as how much has stayed the same. — Fraser Lang

From August 17, 1984

Children's B.I. History

Block Island’s first and second graders have been learning about their heritage in cooperation with their teacher, Alice Huggins, for the past six years. Mrs. Huggins researched and wrote the text for the one hundred thirty-eight page soon-to be published, Block Island History, but the credit for the book’s charm belongs to the twenty-nine primary school artists who illustrated the important events of the Island’s past. The history begins with the glacial deposit of Block Island and brings the reader up to January 1984 ... the last entry being the purchase of the water system by the Town of New Shoreham.

Solicitations are presently being made by the Block Island School’s Parent Teacher Association to cover publication costs of the limited edition book (250 copies). If you would like to help with a tax deductible donation of $25. or more, a numbered book will be reserved in your name and may be picked up at the school after August 20th between 9 and 11 a.m. on weekdays. Donations should be made payable to the “Block Island P.T.A.” and forwarded to Block Island History, Block Island School, P.O. Box 249, Block Island, R.I. 02807.

It is expected that the History will be available on the counters of local shops by August 20th. However, the cost will be slightly higher($29.95). This distribution is made possible through the kindness of our local merchants who support the P.T.A programs. The proceeds will still benefit our Island children and the book will be used as a permanent part of the school’s primary unit curriculum.

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