About Us

125th Celebration

The society participated in the town’s 125th anniversary celebrations.

Founded in 1978, the Narragansett Historical Society is the town’s only organization committed to preserving the rich history of Narragansett, Rhode Island. Led by a small army of volunteers, the organization documents the history of important structures, organizes tours of historic structures and serves as an expert resource for researchers. The Narragansett Historical Society is a 501(c)(3) organization.

Mission

Our mission is to promote the preservation of and education about Narragansett’s rich cultural and historical heritage.

History

The Narragansett Historical Society (NHS) was originally established in 1978 and conducted many wonderful programs and produced books to share the rich history of Narragansett with the public. In 1992 NHS experienced a hiatus as an organization, and although individuals conducted their own efforts toward preserving and sharing Narragansett history, the NHS ceased to exist as a recognized organization.

In 2011, in response to numerous inquiries, Town Manager Grady Miller sent a letter to people he knew had an interest in the town’s history. About 40 people attended an initial meeting, a Steering Committee was formed and began undertaking organizational tasks, including establishing a Board of Directors. Over time NHS has added key members to the Board and began identifying and working with a core group of Consulting Historians. We incorporated as a new historical society in May, 2012. We received our charitable organization status from the Internal Revenue Service (501c3) in March of 2014, retroactive to our incorporation date. Memberships and donations to the NHS are therefore fully tax-deductible.

Some of the more recent events the NHS has conducted include a House Tour and road race (through Gray Matter Marketing) in October 2013, hosted several historical talks, and attended numerous events to generate enthusiasm. In the spring of 2014 NHS undertook a strategic planning process.

NHS relies completely on the hard work of volunteers, the generous support of members and event attendees, and grants to operate. We hope you will consider becoming a member or sponsor of NHS and consider attending and/or volunteering at some of our upcoming events.

Board Members

SUE BUSH:  Secretary, Board of Directors. Sue Bush fell in love with Narragansett while in graduate school at URI, and was fortunate to eventually settle in Narragansett, where she has resided for 20 years. Sue has an interest in preserving the history and charm of Narragansett. She is a partner in an environmental consulting practice and enjoys running, cycling, and walking her dog, Roxy along the sea wall.  

KAREN DASILVA: Member, Board of Directors.  A native Rhode Islander, Karen finally made it “south of the Tower” and moved to Wakefield in 2011.  Karen commutes daily to a Cambridge-based biotech company and works as a global Human Resources business partner supporting their Medical team.  She balances her professional work with continuing to preserve her 1898 home.  Karen has had a lifelong appreciation and passion in preserving assets and key features that have long contributed to the beauty and rich history particularly in South Kingstown and Narragansett. Karen has volunteered for several organizations in Rhode Island.

BECKY DURKIN: Member, Board of Directors.  A native Rhode Islander, Becky met her husband, also a lifelong Rhode Islander, while attending the University of Rhode Island. They own and operate a  4th generation  business in Point Judith and raised their three children in town. Becky held various volunteer positions within  the school community including the Narragansett School Committee. Becky’s passion for the beauty of Narragansett started when she was in college and tried to help create bike paths on the side of the road that would have preserved the stone walls. Sadly, the state proceeded with other plans. When she and her husband bought an abandoned home on Ocean Road and began renovating it Becky fell in love with the past and developed a curiosity about the people who created the amazing architecture and historical buildings in the area. While serving on the NHS Board Becky hopes to learn more about the history of Narragansett and expand the scope of people engaged with NHS.

TERENCE FLEMING:  Member, Board of Directors. Terry first came to appreciate Narragansett as a URI student in the early 70’s, and has been a resident since that time, raising his family with his spouse Arline. He has served on the Narragansett Planning Board and the Narragansett Land Conservancy Trust for the past thirty years, as well as other committees, such as the one establishing the Canonchet Farm open space property. Terry has great interest in the mission of the Narragansett
Historical Society to preserve the history of the Town and make it available to all.

RUDI HEMPE:  Grants, Board of Directors. Rudi has been a resident of Narragansett for 53 years. Rudi has had an extensive writing career, having been a newspaper reporter and editor, and a science writer for URI’s College of the Environment and Life Sciences and URI’s Graduate School of Oceanography. Rudi has also volunteered extensively for many organizations. He is the former president of the RI Press Associations, former Vice Chair of the Southern RI Conservation District, former President of the Kingston Chamber Music Festival, and former President of the URI Master Gardeners. He spends much time as an Operations Planning Coordinator for the URI Master Gardener Program.

DR. ROBERT O’NEILL: Vice President, Board of Directors. After retiring from his obstetrics/gynecological practice at South County Hospital, Dr. O’Neill devotes his energies to many facets of our history.  He served as the chair of the Narragansett Land Conservancy Trust for five years. He and his wife Linda lived at and restored the historic Ocean Road home, Dunmere Gatehouse, and placed it on the National Register of Historic Places. After many years in Narragansett, they recently moved to Saunderstown, where he serves on the North Kingstown Zoning Board. He is a frequent speaker on the history of the Hazard family in the local area.

KAITLYN PIMENATAL: Member, Board of Directors. Kaitlyn, a Cape Cod native, fell in love with Narragansett after several visits with friends here with. She and her husband decided to move to Narragansett, and they have not looked back! Kaitlyn’s love for Narragansett prompted a career change from PGA Certified Golf Fitness Coach to REALTOR, and Kaitlyn is honored to help others find their own piece of Narragansett paradise. Kaitlyn’s love for Narragansett also led to hosting neighborhood and beach cleanups and showcasing local businesses on her ‘What’s Good in ‘Gansett’ podcast/blog. She also loves researching the history of Narragansett, appreciating its architecture and working to preserve its cherished history. Kaitlyn enjoys spending quality time with her husband and their boxers, Turtle & Bear, surfing and open water swimming, golfing, and  paddling in Narrow River.

DONNA B. RODGERS:  Treasurer, Board of Directors. Donna is a native Rhode Islander, married a native Rhode Islander  and her three adult children also live in work here in Rhode Island. She has a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Rhode Island College and retired after nearly thirty years. Her nursing career was mainly in management and research. A lifelong armchair historian, she looks forward to contributing to the NHS and helping to preserve our history for generations to come.

RICHARD VANGERMEERSCH:  Member, Board of Directors. Emeritus Professor of Accounting from URI, he has lived in Narragansett since 1971. His expertise was in the history of accounting. In addition, he has been very involved with numerous organization’s histories as they celebrated milestones and anniversaries. Since his 2004 retirement, he has reoriented his research to Narragansett.

Contact/Follow Us

We would love to hear from you! 

By email: nhs1888@aol.com;

By phone: 401.782.8907

By mail: P.O. Box 418 Narragansett, RI 02882

On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/narragansettrihistoricalsociety

On Instagram: narragansetthisttoricalsociety