Ferris Wheel Highlights Summer Exhibit

A revolving model of the first-ever Ferris wheel made by a local man adds some panache to the exhibit, '200 Years of Barrington Summers', in the Town Museum.

An automated replica of the first-ever Ferris wheel -- built for the Chicago Worlds Fair -- highlights the current exhibit at the Town Museum operated by the Barrington Preservation Society.

The Ferris wheel, built by Burr Sebring of Barrington, is hardly alone as a museum piece in the exhibit, titled “200 Years of Barrington Summers.”

The exhibit includes historic photographs, an accordian, summer wear, sailing and fishing gear, a wooden croquet set, outdoor furniture, quilts for cool nights, and diaries from the wife of a prominent Barrington official who hosted seven nieces each summer for years.

“During the 19th and early 20th centuries, said Villucci, “Barrington was a vibrant summer community where people could mingle with the year-round residents, relax on the beach, sail the waters, participate in sporting events, go fishing or dig for quahogs, listen to band concerts, or simply sit on wicker chairs on lawns or porches and have a family picnic.

“Barrington’s coves, ponds, creeks, streams, and rivers were treasured resources that made summer living special,” she said.

A panoramic 1914 photograph, for instance, of the annual clam bake and ladies day of the Commodores Association of Narragansett Bay hangs on the wall behind a table bearing a clam rake and baskets, a drop line for fishing, picnic and gardening baskets, and an ice cream maker.

Turn around and you will see a white wicker chair from 1890 covered with a quilt made in the same time period.

Stroll around the museum and you will see lace and beaded cotton dresses made to wear for day and night, a parasol to shield you from the sun, a hand-crank Victrola made of mahogany and brass with several vinyl records, and photographs and diaries of Jeanette Mowry Tiffany of Barrington.

“She didn’t have children of her own,” said Villucci, “so she hosted every summer seven nieces she liked to call the 'seven cousins'.”

Tiffany was married to Ebenezer Tiffany, Barrington town treasurer for three decades and a state Representative and Senator.

Enough said, though. Come to the exhibit in the museum and see for yourself. First listen to Villucci talk about the model of 14-story Ferris wheel in the video above.


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