From A Farm To A Garden...
Dr. John Ricci purchased the practice from Dr Achille J. Ciaramello in 1987. The oldest record found in our basement from Dr. Ciaramello was from 1962. Dr. Ciaramello's graduated from the Rhode Island State College (present day University of Rhode Island), in 1938. Dr. Ciaramello's family owned the Statesman Hardware Company, a very successful business.
Despite this more recent history, we've been able to discover a lot about the land here on Smith Street. Over 150 years of history has been unearthed about the property. Early on in the 1860's, the land where the current day office sits, was in fact an award winning flower farm.
The land was farmed by Mr. John A Macrae, a Scottish immigrant from the late 1800's to the mid 1930's. Mr. Macrae won many national awards for best tulips, carnations, and chrysanthemums. All of these awards are documented in primary source editions of the American Florist magazines from the early 1900’s.
The Macrae Family lived in the current day brown house that is still on the corner of Longwood and Smith St. This is diagonal from our office. John Macrae and his wife Lula Macrae had four children, one of which died at only 10 years old.
Here is an excerpt from a memoir where the person described both John’s flower business, and John’s wife Lula: “John A. Macrae, whose place is but a short distance from that of his nephews, Farquhar Macrae's sons, is another old friend of mine. I have spent many a pleasant hour at his home, in company with him and his wife, who died about a year ago. Mrs. Macrae was a woman of unusual type. She had a splendid mind, and much force of character. They say that it is impossible for women to be impersonal in their outlook, but Mrs. Macrae was a triumphant refutation of any such idea. She had something of the tendencies of the philosopher, and her conversation held all the charm of a profound understanding of human affairs. Her untimely death was a great loss, not only to her husband, but to her many friends and acquaintances. Like his brother, Mr. John Macrae is a very successful grower, and his output at all times finds a ready market with discriminating buyers.”
Recently, Dr. Eric and his wife found John and Lula’s grave in Swan Point Cemetery. It took about 45 minutes to find as it was in the “old section” of the cemetery. In a fitting tribute to the Mr. Macrae's lifelong work, Dr. Ricci brought him some tulips, and left them at his grave.
We can only wonder what Mr. Macrae would think, that over 150 years later, his land is still being farmed. We hope we're making him proud!