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Banquet Shed, Moosup Valley Grange

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1928. 81B Moosup Valley Rd.

Opposite the church, the grange; beside the grange, shelter at its simplest. This is no more than a large, open, gabled pavilion supported on rows of square posts over a concrete floor. Each post is lettered, with a board cross piece at table height. Three planks the full width of the pavilion resting on the cross pieces make the tables. They have their own bit of folkish ingenuity. There is a deep slot the width of the post supports for the roof at one end of the middle plank of the tabletop and a shallower slot at the other. The deep slot is rammed home on one side, allowing the opposite end to fit inside its post. Now the shorter slot is rammed home, leaving a void at the inside of the deep slot. A block set into the void locks the tabletop in place. The blunt simplicity of everything appeals here: the elemental shelter, the almost crude trussing on either end, the integral fit of building and furniture, the line of letters on the posts assigning each diner a place. The culminating summer feast was the famed annual Moosup Valley clambake, which the grange sponsored in early autumn from 1928 into the early 1990s, when rising costs forced at least a temporary halt. Other, less ambitious banquets continued here; but consider this a temple to the official “state animal”—the quahog, the humble, retiring dweller of the bay and ocean sands around Rhode Island and mainstay of its clambakes.

Writing Credits

Author: 
William H. Jordy et al.
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William H. Jordy et al., "Banquet Shed, Moosup Valley Grange", [Foster, Rhode Island], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—, http://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/RI-01-FO23.

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