BURRILLVILLE – Have you always wanted to meet Bathsheba Sherman, the woman who inspired The Conjuring horror movie series, or chat with Mary Smith about her decision to bequeath money and land for a new library honoring her late husband, Jesse Smith?
You’ll have your chance this Sunday, June 27, when Burrillville’s history comes to life in a special, interactive theatrical experience on the streets of Harrisville.
A walking tour starting at the Assembly Theatre at 1 p.m. will visit eight locations throughout the village for short 15 minute tours that will rotate every 20 minutes, with a chance to meet the characters of Burrillville’s past. Costumed interpreters, from mill workers and farmers to philanthropists, will tell their stories of life in Harrisville, recreating photographs recently published in a new book.
The book, “Burrillville Revisited” was written by Betty Mencucci on behalf of the Burrillville Historical & Preservation Society, and is the second on town history put out by Arcadia Publishing in the Images of America series. The publication uses more than 200 high-quality vintage photographs with captions to tell the story of Burrillville, divided into nine categories: mills; transportation; parades; houses and businesses; Spring Lake; alms; the influence of Austin T. Levy; and blizzards, floods and storms.
On Sunday, actors will aim to make those stories jump off the page, with characters like the late William Tinkham on hand to discuss manufacturing at his Stillwater Mill.
The walking tours are free and open to the public, and will visit nearby town landmarks.
Mencucci, who serves as president of BH & PS, has organized the special event to help promote the new book. After the tours, the public is invited to join Mencucci for a book signing and reception at the Assembly, starting at 3:30 p.m. The theater itself is a piece of town history, built in 1934 by mill owner and philanthropist Austin T. Levy.
Copies of Burrillville Revisited will be available for purchase for $21.99 at the East Avenue theater.