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…

Paul Cuffe Memorial

When Cuffe–a man of color, born to a Wampanoag woman and a freed slave–and his crew–all Black or Native men–disembarked, they were met with “astonishment and alarm” by the townsfolk. Locals ran to the docks and urged the Customs officials not to give…

Lifesaving Station

Around Elizabeth’s home at Westport Harbor, just down the shore from the lifesaving station, the winds were high and people were preparing for a storm, but most were not too worried. However, by late afternoon the storm surge was reaching dangerous…

Adamsville Hill: A Rum Runner's Hideout

“Young man, if you don’t get out you’re going to end up with a little round hole in the middle of your forehead.” The words were polite and calm, but ominous, spoken to a youthful group of summer people during a late night visit to Briggs Beach…

Bridgeport and the Pogy Fleet

In the early 1900s, Tiverton was well-known for the stench of rotting fish. One local writer described the odor wafting from the menhaden factories along the Sakonnet River as “Rhode Island’s most famous smell. Even the strongest and bravest were…

Colonel Barton's Raid

On the night of July 9, 1777, a young Rhode Island militia officer named William Barton and a small raiding party slipped through British defenses on the Portsmouth shore and carried away General Richard Prescott—wearing nothing but his nightclothes.…

The Battle of Rhode Island

During August 1778, Tiverton was the fulcrum on which the American Revolution teetered. From all over New England militiamen marched along dusty roads to rendezvous at the fort on Tiverton Heights. From Gloucester, Newburyport, and Marblehead came…

Flo's Drive-In

In Rhode Island, you are never far from the ocean. Many of the state’s most beloved foods come from the sea and are tied to the history of marine industries like fishing. Prior to the arrival of European settlers, indigenous peoples like the…

Newport Distilling Company

Thomas Tew gained such renown for his exploits from 1692 until 1695 that he was nicknamed the Rhode Island Pirate. Tew, a privateer from Newport who turned to piracy, led two major voyages, and accrued more treasure than he could spend before he met…

Along the Waterfront

Imagine the Fox Point waterfront in the 1940s. Cargo ships lined up to get into crowded docks. Longshoremen bustled along the busy quays. Crowds waited to welcome packet ships bringing new immigrants and news from Cape Verde.Many of the longshoremen…

Pawtucket’s Daredevil

Sam Patch swung his hat and leapt off the cliff, cutting through the mist towards the seething whirlpool below. A roar rose up from the massive crowd of over 8,000 people. The outcome of this feat – at High Falls in upstate New York – would send…