Tag Archives: nostalgia

Tag sale treasures to be found amid clutter of collectibles offered at Old Warwick Grange

A sign outside the front door of the Old Warwick Grange # 41, located at 1175 West Shore Road not far from Conimicut, advertises the weekly tag sale. Located on the building’s lower level, treasure hunters can dig through piles and isles of all kinds of stuff, ranging from collectibles to house hold items.

The weekly tag sale, held each Saturday year round, is run by Richard Fuller.

Fuller, age 82 and a longtime member of the Grange, has been selling yard sale items since the 1960s. And he loves to talk about both subjects with visitors to the tag sale.

“I’m just a lonely guy who loves to do this stuff,” he quipped on Saturday, Jan. 13. “I got a lot of stories,” he said, adding that he loves answering questions about the Grange, which still holds monthly meetings, and about agriculture. In fact, most questions receive an answer that often starts with “Let me tell you a story…”.

Fuller recalled how he got started in the resale business, almost 60 years ago. He had met a woman who had wanted her house cleared out, but all the companies she had contacted had wanted too much money. Fuller offered to do it for much less, and she took him up on his offer.

Fuller rounded up some assistance and began removing the items to his own property, setting up a very large yard sale – on 120 linear feet of land in front of his house. “People said, ‘hey, nice yard sale!,’” – and he was hooked.

“I didn’t know anything about antiques or anything,” he admitted. “It was the 1960s, everything was different back then,” he continued. He became known for offering good deals.

He did keep one thing for himself from that original sale. “When I cleaned up that house, I kept the Shirley Temple glass – one of the few things I collect,” he said.

Over the years Fuller branched out, selling items on tables he set up at the Rocky Point Flea Market, which had been located in the former Shore Dinner Hall. He would often buy out tables from other dealers when they decided to discontinue selling there.

He’s quick to point out that he didn’t start the Warwick Grange tag sale – a flea market was held in building for years decades earlier. “I’ve been here for about 15 years,” he said.

The tag sale fills the entire lower floor of the Grange, where almost anything can be found on any given weekend, from fuzzy dice, to music albums to collectible toy cars. Fuller also features “Mystery Treasure Boxes” of items for $1.

Looking for something specific?  Fuller can usually point you in the right direction.

“It’s hard, at my age I forget where things are – I’ve got a little bit of everything,” he said. And it’s best to come early – at his age, he often heads home early if business is slow.

For model train aficionados, visit upstairs to see train layouts by members of the Providence Northern Model Railroad Club, open 12 noon to 4 p.m., on “most Saturdays.” (There is an admission fee for special events – check their website.)

For FaceBook fans, a page is available: http://www.facebook.com/WarwickGrangeTagSale

The Railroad Club also has a FaceBook page:  http://www.facebook.com/providencenorthern


Clam cake aficionados author book, share their knowledge of ‘Rhode Island Clam Shacks’

Just the thought of clam cakes and chowder can conjure memories, images and smells and set taste buds watering for most New Englanders. The nostalgia of clam bakes of the past has been preserved with the publication of a new “Images of America” series called “Rhode Island Clam Shacks.” The book was created by clam cake experts David Norton Stone, a Warwick native and resident, and Christopher Scott Martin, co- creator and curator of the popular online site Quahog.org

Stone, a Hendricken High School graduate and a self-proclaimed food historian, has also penned “Clamcake Summer: One Man Eats Every Clamcake in Rhode Island (Or Dies Frying),” “Stuffie Summer,” and “Chowder Summer.” The two have been researching the clam shacks project for about a year, gathering and scanning antique postcards, ephemera, family photos and information shared by clam shack owners and their descendants. The book, published by Arcadia Publishing Company, was the subject of a launch party at the Providence Public Library on May 15 – images from the library’s digital collection appear in the book – and the duo have been traveling to local libraries, museums and historical societies to share their work.

Stone and Martin recently participated in a “clam cake crawl” around the state, sampling (re-sampling) some of the best that Rhode Island has to offer.  The book includes more than 200 images, anecdotes and history of many well-known (some no longer in existence) clam shacks, all pre-dating 1970.

The authors visited the Johnston Historical Society on Wednesday, June 28, where Martin is a longtime member and where Stone has spoken in the past, to talk about their new book and sign copies. (Johnston Historical Society president Louis McGowan, a post card collector, also contributed images for the book.)

Stone and Martin are planning future talks, and have been invited to visit the Crow’s Nest of Apponaug to speak on July 16.  They were recently invited to attend an invitation-only 30th anniversary party for Evelyn’s, also featured in the book.

The book includes several clam shacks from the Warwick area, including Gus’s and Mrs. Gus’s, both formerly located in Oakland Beach (now the site of Iggy’s). Of particular interest are reproductions of old menus (and their prices), as well as photos of proper Rhode Island clam bakes.

Also included, Rocky Point’s “World’s Largest Shore Dinner Hall” – Stone points out that there were four different buildings over the course of its history – “built not near the bay, but right over the water.” (Stone worked at Rocky Point for a summer during college).

The book also includes information on the devastating effects of hurricanes in 1938 and 1954 to the Rhode Island shoreline, where many of these clam shacks were situated. According to information from a caption in the book, Rocky Point’s Conrad Ferla “watched the roof of his shore dinner hall fly off and into the parking lot.”

Other Warwick connections include interviews of Warwick historian Henry A. L. Brown, who attended many Rhode Island clam bakes in his day, who also contributed images for the book.

Other notable names include George’s of Galilee (which started as a small lunch room), Champlin’s, Flo’s, Ballard’s, The Hitching Post, Dead Eye Dick’s, Aunt Carrie’s.

Aunt Carrie’s, which is often credited with creating the clam cake, will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2020.  Stone noted that clam cakes pre-date Aunt Carrie’s, but the restaurant should be credited with refining the clam cake as we know it – although they were called clam fritters. Both Stone and Martin counted the clam cakes at Aunt Carrie’s among their favorites at the recent “clam cake crawl.”

The authors lamented that several clam shacks which could have been included in the book had not responded to queries for information – leading those in attendance at the recent talk asking about the possibility of a Volume II. The book includes ephemera from the personal collections of Stone and Martin, both of whom collect “Rhode Islandiana.”  Stone is currently working on three future book projects, researching information about restaurants of Rhode Island no longer in existence.

Copies of the book are available from arcadiapublishing.com and Amazon.com online, or locally at Barnes & Noble Bookstore, or from the authors as they travel around the state. Future talks are listed at Martin’s website, http://www.quahog.org/calendar