Interview with with Christopher
Martin of Quahog.org
Approved for Your BHPH loan before You Walk into the Car Dealership
Who was the brainchild for
It was my idea to take a road trip around the state, visiting
sites of interest in a single weekend. I did all the research
and because I never know when to stop, the trip ended up taking
weekends. My friend Dan Hillman should be credited with suggesting
all the information I'd gathered, and all the photos we took on
trip, should form the basis for a website. Dan is responsible
architecture and all technical aspects of the site. I'm the content
What did you envision for the
site when you first started it?
The website originally was going to be a Rhode Island version
Roadside America http://www.roadsideamerica.com
crossed with Jane and
Michael Stern's RoadFood books. Very early on, however, I developed
interest in local history and that became a further focus of the
Have you gotten many positive
testimonials for Quahog.org? What's the
general perception of the site, do Rhode Islanders enjoy the uniqueness
of the site?
I'm still surprised by the overwhelmingly positive response
site has received. Common wisdom would say that people are more
to bother to write when they have something to complain about,
truly, in the ten years we've been online, I think we may have
only three or four emails that could be considered negative. Most
what we get is people 1) praising Quahog as a great resource,
offering clarification or correction on something we've posted
appreciate), 3) suggesting topics we should cover or offering
of specific Rhode Island institutions (eg: Rocky Point), 4) asking
to mail order hot wieners/stuffies/pizza strips, etc., or 5) asking
help with local historical or genealogical questions. On the last
always try to help when I can, and I think that contributes to
positive impression people have of the site.
And of course, we were named Best Rhode Island Website two
years in a
row (2007 and 2008), first by the editors of Rhode Island Monthly,
in the magazine's Readers' Poll.
What would you rather have, a Awful
Awful® or Cabinet?
(you can't say both)
Okay, then, I'll say an Awful Awful®. The reason is because
a Cabinet is
different from any other drink made with ice cream, syrup, and
in name. An Awful Awful® is made with a proprietary preparation
milk. The drawback is you can only get an Awful Awful® in
number of flavors, while your choice of Cabinet flavor is limited
by your imagination. But you said I could only pick one, so there
Quahog.org is of course Rhode Island
focused but do you get a lot of non
RI visitors that find the site as interesting as a Rhode Islander?
Most people I hear from are ex-pats who miss their home state.
I get emails from kids in other states who are doing school projects
Rhode Island, but for the most part I don't hear much from non-Rhode
Islanders. Or else they don't find it necessary to identify themselves
as such. (An ex-pat will almost always tell you where they grew
how long it's been since they've been back).
But I do know at least one couple who claim that their decision
to Rhode Island was heavily influenced by what they learned about
state from Quahog.org.
I personally enjoy the bio section of
If you had to decide
which bio is the most interesting on Quahog.org, which one would
If you could, would you could go back in time and be that person
Tristam Burges seems like a pretty interesting guy, but I'm
fascinated by a guy named Robert Voorhees who lived the last several
years of his life in a makeshift hut on Burges's property. People
knew him as Robert the Hermit, and it wasn't until shortly before
died that anyone learned his whole life story. He'd been a slave
south, escaped, was captured, escaped again, and spent many years
sailor before arriving in Providence. Along the way he married
lost two families.
Do I want to be Tristam Burges or Robert the Hermit for one
day? No way.
I've always thought it would be interesting to travel back in
meet some of these people, though.
Quahog.org has been online for over
ten years. Where do you see
Quahog.org in the next ten years?
Geez, I hope we're still online. So far the site has led me
interesting opportunities and collaborations, and I've met a whole
of nice people. I look forward to more of that. My buddy Dan has
working on a technical revamp of the site, and I hope that will
to add a lot of new functionality. Wildest dreams? I'd like Quahog
the go-to place for anyone interested in Rhode Island's history,
culture, or quirks.
Quahog.org: The definitive Rhode Island road trip
Rhode Island Monthly's Best Rhode Island Website 2007-2008