Explore Rhode Island History at PPL this June -- Two Upcoming Book & Author Programs

Book Talk & Signing: Historic Taverns of Rhode Island with author Robert Geake at Providence Public Library Thursday, June 21 

Providence Public Library welcomes Rhode Island author Robert Geake for this talk and book signing for his new book:  Historic Taverns of Rhode Island on Thursday, June 21 from 7:00 – 8:15 pm, 150 Empire Street, Providence (Third Floor Meeting Room)The program is free and open to the public.  Book sales and book signing to follow.

Rhode Island, like many other New England colonies, decided that a central meetinghouse was necessary to conduct public business in the self-governing New World. These public houses had many functions, including the setting of council meetings and trials, a place for strangers to congregate and a venue for entertainment in the form of beer and strong spirits.

Join author Robert Geake for a virtual tour of the taverns of Rhode Island, from one of the oldest sites in RI, the Mowry Tavern, most remembered for a sinister crime committed just feet from its door to the White Horse Tavern of Newport and the Sabin Tavern, associated with the burning of the Gaspee.  Historian Robert A. Geake chronicles the lore confined within the walls of the Ocean State's most historic taverns.

Robert A. Geake is a local historian and author whose previous books include A History of the Narragansett Tribe of Rhode Island: Keepers of the Bay, from The History Press, and A Toll, a Tavern and a Farm, printed for the Pawtucket Preservation Society.

Mr. Geake is an associate of the John Carter Brown Library at Brown University and a member of the Rhode Island Historical Society.  He has lived for nearly 30 years in the farmhouse that James Pidge built in 1860, just above his tavern on the Post Road.  Mr. Geake is the home-brewer of “Old Pidge Ales.”

Book Talk & Signing: Journey the Railroads of Rhode Island with author Frank Heppner at Providence Public Library Monday, June 25

Providence Public Library welcomes Rhode Island author Frank Heppner for this talk and book signing for his new book: Railroads of Rhode Island on Monday, June 25 from 7:00 – 8:15 pm, 150 Empire Street, Providence (Third Floor Meeting Room)The program is free and open to the public.  Book sales and signing to follow. 

Journey over the state’s historic railways with long-time railroad historian and fan, Frank Heppner.  From the Stonington Line to the Boston and Providence Railroad, speed along the pioneer tracks in Rhode Island.  Dominated by Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island’s scenic coast is paralleled by the tracks of some of the oldest and now fastest railroads in the United States.  With determination and ingenuity, early civil engineers overcame barriers such as the Great Swamp, which stretches from Kingston to Westerly. The state’s key position at the intersection of trade routes and between the major population centers of New England also shaped the placement of its railroads, as well as their dynamic character.

Local author Frank Heppner was born to a railroad family. His father was a doctor for the Southern Pacific Railroad in San Francisco. He had his first train ride when he was three and he made his first scratch-built HO railroad car when he was 13 (he still has it). He’s ridden over 500,000 miles by rail in 23 different countries. As a graduate student, he talked his way into cab rides on the Shasta Daylight in California and the Super Chief through Raton Pass. Between train rides, he picked up a PhD in zoology from the University of California at Davis and taught first-year biology to over 25,000 students at the University of Rhode Island.  He retired from this “day job” in 2010 after writing more than 60 scientific papers. He was a founding member of the Friends of the Kingston Station and is today its chairman. He is also active in the Rhode Island Association of Railroad Passengers and is a member of the Little Rhody Division of the National Model Railroad Association.

Discount parking is available at the Providence Hilton Garage, $3 for 3 hours. Bring your ticket with you for validation at the Circulation Desk.