Coles Campground 4 - Fred Cole and the camp
One of the stories that has often been told of the proprietors of Cole’s campground is that of Fred Cole’s adventures in Boston. Fred was one of the descendants of Edward Cole who had turned the lovely waterfront estate into a popular campground and clambake site. When Fred’s horse and buggy had been stolen, he was advised to go to Boston to retrieve it. According to accounts published in the early 20th century, Fred was reluctant to go as for many years the furthest he ever went was to Apponaug for the Fourth of July and for his yearly haircut. Once, when the barbershop was closed, he returned home and waited another full year for his haircut.
According to the article, Fred was persuaded to go to the big city by train to retrieve his property. He caught his first glimpse of the famous Boston Elevated trains and recounted, “that car railroad up in the air is enough to scare a feller out of the place at once. I heard a noise like thunder overhead jest as I was gittin’ out into the road from thet confounded station, and I looked up and there was a railroad train runnin’ ovaer my head. Say, heow do ye git aboart when ye want to ride and how in thunder can a feller know where he is when he is up in the air 40 feet lookin’ in at the winders of the buildings?”
Cole continued to say, “I started to walk to the police station, whar they said my team was. I didn’t dare take one of them electric cars. There was too many of them… Fred Cole eventually retrieved his horse and wagon, but not before more confusion. Some of his other comments on Boston emphasized the difference between that city and Warwick. He said, “It’s too big, that thar city is…there’s more tarnation racket in them streets in five minutes than they is at Cole’s Corner in ten years….I don’t see how they git up and down the stairs in them buildin’s. I seen one place that had so many stories I hurt my neck tryin’ to count them. I ain’t surprised thet they is so many cases of heart disease in the papers about people in Boston. To home when I go up into the attic, and that ain’t but three flights, I have a spell now and then.. No, siree, I wouldn’t go to Boston agin’ fer all the horses and teams on Cole’s farm.”
The times have changed dramatically since Fred Cole’s days and the time of the large clambakes and the summer bathing, but to the residents of the area, the charm of Cole’s Farm on the shore continues unabated. As late as 1930, Cole’s Station was still a very busy place. The rural atmosphere was preserved, as there were cows and chickens to be seen. The Cole family remained in occupancy until 1925. After that, the house was neglected for decades and was severely damaged by the Hurricane of 1938. It was demolished by the City of Warwick in 1946.
In 1935-37, the tracks were torn up and the ties were removed. It was the end of an era and while the trains and the trolley cars no longer come along the way, the Cole Farm area is today one of Warwick’s most attractive shore communities.