Rhode Island’s “Paradise” Oakland Beach

Close your eyes and think of the word, “paradise.” What do you see? For many Rhode Islanders in the late 19th and early 20th century, they would picture Oakland Beach. Oakland Beach is found in Warwick, Rhode Island, where one can still enjoy its…

A Day in Newport: Easton’s Beach

Easton’s Beach is a beach of many names. You may also have heard it called First Beach or Newport Beach. But whatever its name is, the beach can be found on the strip of land on Easton’s Bay that connects the peninsula named Easton’s Point in…

Crescent Park: Carousels and Clambakes on the Coast

“Flying Horses, Swings, Elevated Railroads, ‘Chutes,’ and other forms of attractions abound; there is a large hotel on the grounds, and the dining halls for shore dinners are the most extensive on the bay.” --Official Souvenir of the Exposition of…

Rocky Point Park is Not Forgotten

Rocky Point Park is still on many Rhode Islanders’ minds. The park, shut down in 1995, was a beloved part of Rhode Island since the 1850s. Over the 19th and 20th centuries, the park grew to its final mammoth size, and continued to renovate and update…

Hurricanes and Hotels at Watch Hill

The year? 1938. The weather? The worst you’ve ever seen. The hurricane that hit Rhode Island shook the coast to its core, wreaking havoc on its beaches. Watch Hill was no exception. Watch Hill in Westerly, RI, one of Rhode Island’s finest…

Princess Red Wing

Wanting to animate the ground that had become cold over the centuries, Princess Red Wing initiated the Great Swamp Massacre Ceremony in the late 1930s. The ceremony starkly contrasted with the 1906 dedication of the monument to the Great Swamp Fight.…

Sarah Muckamug

Near this location in 1741, Mary Wilkinson found Sarah Muckamug crying after a visit from the father of her four children, Aaron Whipple, an enslaved man living in Providence. Their relationship was over after more than a decade. The couple had never…

Samuel Niles

The church that you see here today was not the original structure built on this site in 1750. The earlier church was made of wood; its chimney can still be seen in the interior of the current church. Here, Samuel Niles was one of the first in a long…

Quaiapen

Quiapen was a powerful Niantic female sachem through birth and marriage and was the last Narragansett-Niantic leader to be captured or killed in King Philip's War (1675-1676).During the summer of 1676, Quaiapen and her followers, mainly women and…

Metacomet

Within a mile of this location, Metacomet, also called King Philip, and his men were ambushed by Captain Benjamin Church of the Plymouth Colony on August 12, 1676. Church had followed Metacomet to his long-time stronghold on Montaup (Mount Hope)…

Ninigret

In 1664, not far from this locale, Ninigret defeated a daring nighttime raid launched by his longtime enemy, Wyandanch, the Sachem of the Montaukett Indians of Long Island. Both men had reasons to seek revenge. Wyandanch had killed some of Ningret's…

Canonicus and Miantonomi

Miantonomi and Canonicus lived and ruled in a period of extreme change for the Narragansett. Although there were no colonists in the region when Miantonomi was born (c. 1600), early trading interactions between Europeans and First Peoples eventually…

Summer Cottages and Torpedoes

Off Conanicut Island's eastern shore lies Gould Island, the third of the major islands that comprise the town of Jamestown. It was named for Thomas Gould, who purchased the island in 1657 to use as farmland. In 1858, the Maitland family bought the…

Ft. Greble on Dutch Island

Dutch Island, in the West Passage of Narragansett Bay, is an uninhabited, irresistible place that for decades has lured local kids across the water to camp or climb around the remains of what was once an impressive, self-sufficient, military…

Ft. Getty's Prisoners of War (POWs)

Few Rhode Islanders remember the German Prisoner of War (POW) camps in RI. Fewer people realize that as they drive into Fort Getty, the stone gate posts were built by the German POWs encamped there in 1945. Ellen Brownell, a local Jamestown resident…

Camp Bailey on Dutch Island

On August 28, 1863, the 1st battalion of the 14th R.I. Heavy Artillery (Colored) under Colonel Nelson Viall paraded through Providence on their way to an island in Narragansett Bay. Jamestowners felt the effects of the Civil War, even though…

Cadman-White-Handy House

The Handy House is not the home of a famous person—Washington did not sleep here! Yet the story of the people who lived here provides an extraordinary window into a world of ordinary lives that is otherwise lost to history. As you walk through this…

The Bell School

The Bell School was built in 1841 as a school for District No. 14, on the west side of the river. There was evidently some jealousy aroused in the other school districts when the residents of the Head of Westport decided to build so magnificent a…

The Steel Yard (PS&I)

Founded in 2002 on the former site of Providence Steel and Iron Company (PS&I), the Steel Yard’s 3.5-acre site has become a community gathering space for people interested in creative, industrial arts. The design of this former brownfield site…

A Passion for Planning and Preservation

It might be hard to imagine that Benefit Street hasn’t always been considered a special historic area. Many groups worked for years to protect, preserve, and improve the architecture and historic character of the neighborhood. One woman, Margaret…

A Touch of Modernity at Classical High School

Have you ever imagined yourself juggling six children’s needs, housework, and professional career? It may sound like a bit of a challenge; yet, these two women, Sarah (“Sally”) Harkness, a mother of seven, and Jean B. Fletcher, a mother of six, were…

A Dash of Modernism In the Middle of the Woods

If you walk into the woods of East Greenwich, you would hear the shouts and laughter of children from the forest. Where is the sound coming from? A few more steps later, you would encounter not Hansel and Gretel's House, but surprisingly, a…

Frances E. Henley and the Wilcox Building

In 1893, the talented and ambitious young Frances Evelyn Henley, refused to make a career in teaching, as suggested by her parents. Instead she chose to enroll at the Rhode Island School of Design, not in the decorative art department as one might…

A Shell for Knowledge at Mary C. Wheeler School

Frances Henley’s involvement in the construction of Wheeler School in Providence can be interpreted as a means of positioning herself in the collective memory of the city by linking her name with the values of education. Both Henley and Mary Colman…

Frances E. Henley and Providence Plantations Club

How to become respected and how to keep your femininity when doing a male's job? This was quite a burden for Rhode Island's first female architect, starting 1897 when she graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design. Henley was probably one of…

Elizabeth G. Pattee and her Ecology of Design

Upon entering the nineteenth-century stable that is now 48 Crestwood Road during the Great Depression, a visitor to the old Waterhouse estate ‘on the hill’ which lies between Warwick and East Greenwich would have found a gloomy, cavernous space. They…