Foster Preservation Society
The Foster Preservation Society owns two properties:
1. The Winsor Blacksmith Shop (left picture)
2. The Nehemiah Angell Barn - circa 1790 (right picture)
The Winsor Blacksmith shop was built in 1870 by Ira Winsor on Winsor Road in Foster, Rhode Island. It remained in the Winsor-Hayfield family until October 1992, when Dorothy and George Brayton Sr., fearing that it would be sold outside of Foster, purchased it. The Braytons donated the shop to the Foster Preservation Society in October 1993, with the stipulation that it be removed from the property and relocated in Foster.
The shop was taken apart and reconstructed in the spring of 1994 by the Society with the help of many volunteers. It now stands on land leased from the Town of Foster just adjacent to the 1796 Town House. This shop is unique in that it has an oxen sling. Oxen, unlike horses, cannot stand on three legs, so the smithy had to use a sling to support the animal while affixing shoes to their hooves. In addition, since oxen have cloven hooves, it takes two separate pieces of metal for each hoof.
In times past, the blacksmith did more than shoe oxen and horses; in his shop he made or repaired, one at a time, nearly every metal tool and object in common use: wagon springs, door latches, tools, hinges, andirons, harness and farm hardware, household utensils and pots and pans, to name a few.
The Foster Preservation Society has made a sincere effort to restore the shop and to preserve the many artifacts therein and in fact won an award in 1995 from the Rhode Island Historical Preservation Commission for our efforts (click on picture of award at below left for a larger version). We appreciate and thank all who volunteered so many hours of labor.
RIHPC Award Blacksmith shop interior Anvil
In July 2012, in preparation for the annual Old Home Days celebration, the Preservation Society re-stained the Winsor Blacksmith shop in an ongoing efforts to preserve this important part of our past.
The Nehemiah Angell Barn - circa 1790 is an historic barn that has served a number of owners over the past 200 years. The Town of Foster donated the barn to the Foster Preservation Society in 2016. The interior of this historic structure still houses the original animal stalls, used by the families who lived in the adjacent house. It most likely housed the familyís wagon and possibly a small sleigh for use in the winter months. It would also have contained the various and sundry tools used by local farmers for clearing fields, planting and harvesting crops that kept the family fed though Fosterís long winters.
The change in the contour of the surrounding land has allowed water to infiltrate the foundation and rot the sills. This in turn caused the building to settle. In the process, the tenons on the interior beams pulled out of their mortises. The barn requires being jacked up and new sills installed. A couple of the interior structural beams must be repaired or replaced to stabilize the building.
Barn interior pictures below
Stalls Support beams
Peak at gable end Support beam where it connects to wall
The Foster Preservation Society will be raising money to restore this historic structure, donations to assist in this project would be most gladly accepted and can be mailed to the Foster Preservation Society P.O. Box 51 Foster, RI 02825, or stop by our offices any Wednesday morning between 9:00 am and noon. Be sure to write "Save the Barn" on your check.
Foster Preservation Society
P.O. Box 51
Foster, RI 02825
Phone (401) 397-5687