Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze Cumberland Lincoln 04-04-2019

The Valley Breeze Newspapers serving the Northern Rhode Island towns of Cumberland, Lincoln, Woonsocket, Smithfield, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, North Providence, Scituate, Foster, and Glocester

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CUMBERLAND LINCOLN EDITION | VALLEY BREEZE | APRIL 4-10, 2019 CUMBERLAND 9 CUMBERLAND – A Victorian- era barn on Diamond Hill Road that's set to be demolished has ties to the Carpenters, one of the oldest families in Cumberland, says local historian Craig Johnson. "It's the last landmark along this stretch of road with any connec- tion to its agrarian past," he told The Valley Breeze. The two-story yellow building at 2311 Diamond Hill Road will be knocked down and merged with the lot next door at 2295 Diamond Hill Road as part of a project from J.A.K. Realty, owned by Pauline Khabbaz and her husband, Dr. Bassam Khabbaz. Medical offices, including Healy Physical Therapy and Dr. Khabbaz's family internal medicine practice, are currently located in a 3,100-square- foot, one-story structure at 2295 Diamond Hill Road. The project, which received pre- liminary plan approval from the Cumberland Planning Board on Jan. 30, proposes creating a new two-story, 8,400-square-foot medical building at 2295 and 2311 Diamond Hill Road that will offer eight office units to be used by physicians, imag- ing and lab services. Johnson said he's not crusading to save the 2,400-square-foot barn, which he's dubbed the "Carpenter Carriage Barn." Built in the 1880s, the barn was once part of a farm that extended back to where the indus- trial park is, he said. He said he does hope someone at least salvages the "wonderful old Victorian-era door." Pauline Khabbaz told The Breeze last week that there are no firm plans yet for demolition or construction. Jonathan Stevens, director of the Office of Planning and Community Development, said that the final approval application has yet to be submitted. He previously told The Breeze that "everybody loves the proj- ect" to create a more cohesive and beautified project at this intersection near I-295. The last tenant, Center Attraction Salon, moved to 491 Mendon Road and re-opened on March 5, accord- ing to a sign in the window. The Carpenters were one of the earliest families in Cumberland, "connected with Abbott Run over several generations," and known for apple orchards and cider pressing, according to Robert Simpson's book, "North Cumberland: A History." A farmer in Rehoboth, Mass., William Carpenter was a participant in the North Rehoboth Purchase of 1660. An 1838 map of Cumberland shows James M. Carpenter located at the site. By 1854, the property belonged to James' "heirs," according to a tax book from that year. George M. Carpenter, James' son, and his wife later owned the prop- erty, according to an 1886 tax book, which lists it as a farm. Also listed with their taxes is a "house and lot" on Abbott Street in Valley Falls. Johnson said that might suggest a source of income other than farming. A 1900 map included in Simpson's book shows "G.M. Carpenter" at the site with two large and four small structures. "Given the typical layout of these farms as house and barn setups, the presence of four other structures sug- gests some type of larger operation," Johnson said. The historian said that he believes the barn was for horses and car- riages, "judging by the beautifully constructed door that still fronts the building, and small windows on the side where stalls would have been." A large, two-story Victorian house that sat next door was demolished in the 1960s or 1970s, he said. The Carpenters occupied the site well into the 20th century. In the 1950s, the barn was owned by the Hiller brothers who ran a plumb- ing business out of the lower level, Johnson said. Later, he added, most of the farm acres were developed for the indus- trial park and commercial space along Diamond Hill Road. "I think it is always sad to see these places go," Johnson said, "not just as waste of a perfectly usable struc- ture with all its materials, but, in this case, one that adds some character to an otherwise uninspiring stretch of road." One of Diamond Hill's last 1800s buildings set to come down By MELANIE THIBEAULT Valley Breeze Staff Writer melanie@valleybreeze.com BREEZE PHOTO BY MELANIE THIBEAULT THE VICTORIAN-ERA BARN AT 2311 DIAMOND HILL ROAD in Cumberland that is set to be demolished as part of a project by J.A.K. Realty to expand the medical facility located next door at 2295 Diamond Hill Road. The barn has ties to the Carpenters, one of the oldest families in Cumberland. 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