Rhode Island: Other Historic Sites Summary

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

A list of important historic sites in Rhode Island.

Aldrich House

Location: Providence, Providence County

Relevant issues: Political history

Statement of significance: From 1878 until his death, this three-story clapboard house was the residence of Nelson W. Aldrich (1841-1915), who, as Republican Senate “boss,” maintained virtual veto power over legislation, pressing his view that business and government should combine to lead the country, but that business should play the leading role.

Cocumscussoc Archaeological Site

Location: Wickford, Washington County

Relevant issues: American Indian history, colonial America

Statement of significance: Cocumscussoc is the historically chronicled locale of the first trading post established in Narragansett Country by Rhode Island’s founder Roger Williams in 1637. Archaeological remains dating to the Historic Contact Period are associated with Richard Smith, Sr., who purchased the site from Williams in 1651, and his son, Richard Smith, Jr., who operated the post from 1662 to 1692.

Crescent Park Looff Carousel

Location: East Providence, Providence County

Relevant issues: Cultural history

Statement of significance: Built about 1895–most of the figures date from 1905 to 1910–this large carousel is the earliest, most elaborate, and probably best preserved of the handful remaining of more than one hundred carousels built by Charles I. D. Looff, one of the foremost manufacturers of carousels in the United States. It is complete with its original shed and early twentieth century band organ and lighting.

Fleur-de-Lys Studios

Location: Providence, Providence County

Relevant issues: Art and architecture

Statement of significance: Fleur-de-Lys Studios, constructed in 1885, is a key architectural monument to the American Arts and Crafts movement. The building’s design is the product of a collaboration between painter Sydney R. Burleigh and architect Edmund R. Willson. Both men achieved considerable professional prominence during their lifetimes.

Flying Horse Carousel

Location: Westerly, Washington County

Relevant issues: Cultural history

Statement of significance: Dating from about 1876, this is the oldest carousel of its type, in which the horses are suspended from a center frame, and may be the oldest extant carousel in the United States. It is one of two intact examples of the work of the Charles W. F. Dare Company of New York City, one of the major carousel manufacturers.

Greene Homestead

Location: Coventry, Kent County

Relevant issues: Military history, RevolutionaryWar

Statement of significance: From 1774 to 1783, this two-story clapboard dwelling, which he designed and built, was the residence of General Nathanael Greene (1742-1786), who was among the most important generals in the Continental army.

Old Slater Mill

Location: Pawtucket, Providence County

Relevant issues: Business and industry

Statement of significance: Here, Samuel Slater (1768-1835) perfected America’s first successful water-powered spinning machine in 1790, and helped to build the country’s first successful cotton mill in 1793. His mill is operated as a museum.

Original U.S. Naval War College

Location: Newport, Newport County

Relevant issues: Military history, naval history

Statement of significance: This institution was established in 1884 to offer advanced courses for naval officers. Alfred Thayer Mahan (1840-1914), a key architect of America’s naval policy, became president of the college in 1886.

Site of Battle of Rhode Island

Location: Portsmouth, Newport County

Relevant issues: African American history, military history, Revolutionary War

Statement of significance: On August 29, 1778, in a valley between Lehigh Hill to the north and Turkey and Almy Hills to the south, the British forces which were occupying Newport engaged American forces under Major General John Sullivan in the only Revolutionary War battle in which an all-black unit, the First Rhode Island Regiment, participated on the patriots’ side.

Stuart Birthplace

Location: Saunderstown, Washington County

Relevant issues: Art and architecture, colonial America

Statement of significance: From 1755 to 1761, this gambrel-roofed, clapboard house was the home of Gilbert Stuart (1755-1828), best known for his portraits of George Washington and other prominent political figures.

Wanton-Lyman-Hazard House

Location: Newport, Newport County

Relevant issues: Colonial America, political history

Statement of significance: Built probably in 1696, this structure illustrates the architectural transition from seventeenth to eighteenth century styles. It was damaged by Stamp Act riots in 1765 when occupied by a Tory stampmaster.

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