Thursday, August 20, 2015

Sockanosset Crossroads Revisited

Sockanosset, Sockanosset
Photo by Midge Frazel, 2007

History Adventure Trip
After my parents died in 1998 and 2002, I sold their house in the Oakhill Terrace section of Cranston and grieved not only for them but for the loss of living in Rhode Island, my home state, and for the wonderful, safe and friendly neighborhood built in the late 1940s-1950s. 

Even to this day, I appreciate where I came from in the smallest state of the Union. As an only child, it was very hard to sell my childhood home. A fellow high school classmate and former owner of a house in my neighborhood was a real estate agent and she helped me in ways I could never explain. 

After a vacation trip to Connecticut in August of 2007, we finally went back just to drive through the streets and get a Rhode Island staple called Del's, a lemon based slushy drink. But first, we went to the Garden City shopping center to get coffee and buy a few groceries to take home. I was totally stunned to see that the state buildings off Sockanosett Cross Road were being remodeled. (I took the photo you see above and another to try to find out what was going on.)

The buildings had been in bad condition for a long time.  I knew that the juvenile detention center at the Rhode Island State institutions had been moved elsewhere. There had been a fire. Once very scary buildings were now a sad eyesore.

Parents always threatened misbehaving kids kids by telling them they would be sent to the "bad boys school" Sockanosett Training School for Boys or the "bad girls school". I learned that there was a rhyme that kids chanted which started with "Sockanosett, Sockanosett", which not flattering to social reform. 

In 2009, I started buying books about Cranston (link) (link) and I found this New York Times online article about the $90 MILLION dollar renovation. 

Photo by Midge Frazel, 2015
As the development is called Chapel Hill. I wondered what that area looked like now so we planned it into a genealogy adventure. This is how it looks now. The chapel is an upscale Italian restaurant in an area with stores that have some of the stone buildings preserved.

In addition, I located an article about prison reform from the State of Rhode Island. If you have ever lived in Cranston, you should take a look at this article (in PDF). 

Related post: Shopping in Garden City 


  1. In 1979 I was hired by Jim Lombardi of the Realty House as newly graduated agent. They built a contemporary raised ranch stylized office building and I has a desk in the basement corner. I learned from his wife Marilyn that their family owned the land along the crossroad and they were only looking to lease and not sell at it would be very valuable in the future. Jim and his brother Chis developed Garden City residences.

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