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Oak Lawn is a historical village in south west Cranston, Rhode Island. Prior to being named "Oak Lawn" in 1872 the area was known as "Searle's Corner". The Edward Searle House, built in 1677, and one of the oldest standing structures in Rhode Island, is located in Oak Lawn. The village is also well known for its annual May Breakfast. This New England tradition began in Oak Lawn in 1865 as a way for the members of the Oak Lawn Baptist Church to raise money for local American Civil War veterans. The 1855 Herman Melville novel "Israel Potter" is based on the life and adventures of an American Revolutionary soldier who was raised on a farm near present day Oak Lawn. Oak Lawn was also the site of an important archeological excavation in the 1950s when archeologists discovered bowls and other Native American artifacts dating over 10,000 years old which had been carved from soapstone. In the pre-colonial era the area was populated with bands of the Narragansett Indians known as the "Meshanticut" and "Natick" Indians. Today, much of the Village of Oak Lawn has been designated as a historic district by the National Historical Society.
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