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South County, Rhode Island


South County Museum
Welcome to South County, Rhode Island.....A great place to vacation for the whole family
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Guide to Museums

South County, Rhode Island, is an area wrapped in history. Indian words such as Quonochontaug, Narragansett, and Pettaquamscutt spell out its rich historic heritage, while numerous historic sites reveal South County's historical significance. You now have the chance to follow in the footsteps of America's founding fathers, early settlers, and native inhabitants. This guide introduces important historic sites, museums and monuments in South County's neighboring towns. From North Kingstown to Westerly, and from the Atlantic west to Hopkinton, you can wander down unspoiled village streets and create your own legendary trail as South County unfolds its story.

Babcock-Smith House (c.1732):
124 Granite St. Westerly (401) 596-4424
Early Georgian-style, this was the home of Dr. Joshua Babcock, Westerly's physician and postmaster and friend of Benjamin Franklin, who was a frequent visitor. It was later owned by Orlando Smith, who in 1846 discovered granite on the property which later became one of the country's leading granite centers.
Casey Farm (c.1750):
Rt.1-A, Saunderstown (North Kingstown) (401) 295-1030.
This mid-18th century homestead overlooking Narragansett Bay was the center of a plantation that produced food for local and foreign markets. Today, resident farm managers raise organically grown vegetables, herbs and flowers for subscribing households in a Community Supported Agriculture program. The guided tour includes the farmyard and cemetery, where six generations of Caseys are buried.
Fayerweather House:
1859 Mooresfield Road, Kingston. (401) 789-9072.
Authentically preserved 1820 home of the former Kingston Village Blacksmith. 4 rooms, corner beams, central fireplace, Dutch oven, landmark quilt. Surrounded by handsomely landscaped grounds, it is now home of the Fayerweather craft guild offering handcrafted gifts by local artisans.
General Nathanael Greene Homestead:
50 Taft Street, Coventry. (401) 821-8630
Built by Nathanael Greene in 1770, the "Homestead" is a well-preserved 18th Century structure, situated above the Pawtuxet River on 13 acres. Eight display rooms are furnished with period furnishings and Greene family memorabilia. Open April through Oct.
Gilbert Stuart Museum:
815 Gilbert Stuart Road, North Kingstown. (401) 294-3001
Gilbert Stuart, born here in 1755, was foremost portraitist of George Washington. This is an operating 18th-century snuff mill, (the first in America) with water wheel. Colonial furniture and tools are preserved throughout.
Kentish Guards Armory:
90 Pierce Street, East Greenwich. (401) 821-1628
Built in 1843, this Greek Revival style armory is considered by architectural historians to be of outstanding architectural value and of great historic value at the national level. On the National Register of Historic Places since 1971, the armory is unique since it is believed to be the only armory of its kind built during this period just prior to the Mexican War. Home to the Kentish Guards and its Fife and Drum Corps. Open by appointment. Free admission.
Kingston Station and Rhode Island Railroad Museum:
1 Railroad Ave., PO Box 191, West Kingston. (401) 789-3327
Historic Kingston Railroad station was constructed at this location in 1875. Placed on the Register of Historic Places in 1975, it is now an active Amtrak Station on the Northeast Corridor. Also home to the Rhode Island Railroad Museum
Museum of Primitive Art Culture:
Kingstown Rd., Peacedale Village. (401) 783-5711
Exhibits of primitive tools, utensils and weapons from various cultures.
New England Wireless and Steam Museum:
1300 Frenchtown Road, East Greenwich. (401) 885-0545
Exhibits include early radio, telegraph, and television equipment, as well as stationary steam, hot air, gas and oil engines. Reference library contains many early scientific texts. Open year round.
The Pettaquamscutt Historical Society:
2636 Kingstown Road, Kingston. (401) 783-1328
Explore the region's history at the old Washington County Jail (1792 and 1858), one of the oldest surviving jails in Rhode Island and the headquarters of the Pettaquamscutt Historical Society. Period rooms and historical displays. Open year round.
Quonset Aviation Museum:
488 Ecclecston Ave. North Kingstown (401) 294-9540
New in 1993, this museum is located in the only brick hangar on the East Coast. It is a working museum that will house a growing collection of aircraft and New England aviation memorabilia. R.I. Aviation exhibits will focus on both commercial and military history.
Smith's Castle (1678)
55 Richard Smith Drive, North Kingstown, one mile north of Wickford off Post Road (Route 1). (401) 294- 3521.
On this site, in 1637, Roger Williams established a trading post. In 1676 the Narragansett burned the post in retaliation for the Great Swamp massacre and it was rebuilt in 1678. Significant extant sections of the 1678 structure, the 18th century garden, tools and furnishings provide visitors with a lively study of 350 years of Rhode Island history.
Guided tours by costumed docents May-October, and a strawberry festival every summer.
South County Museum
Strathmore Street), Narragansett. (401) 783-5400
Articles of early Rhode Island life and industry: General Store, Country Kitchen, Victorian Bedroom, Schoolroom, and more. Working print shop, Carpentry Shop, Blacksmith Shop, Yankee Crafts and Carriage Barn.
Tomaquag Museum
Arcadia Village, Summit Road. 401 539-7213.
Native Tomaquag Indian Memorial Museum. Open by appointment. Fascinating artifacts including an authentic birch bark canoe, large & varied collection of Southern New England ash splint baskets, also a large doll collection featuring lovely corn husk dolls, plus many historical articles and archeological specimens from this area.
Varnum House Museum
57 Peirce Street: (401) 884-1776.
Eight room mansion built in 1773 by James Mitchell Varnum.
Varnum Memorial Armory
6 Main Street, East Greenwich: (401) 884-4110
James Mitchell Varnum, the first commander of the Kentish Guards, was commissioned a Brigadier General in the Continental Army. The medieval Castle style armory, headquarters of the Varnum Continentals was built in 1713 to house the extensive military collection and period artifacts.
Watch Hill Lighthouse Museum and U.S. Coast Guard Station (1858):
Lighthouse Road in the Village of Watch Hill.
The present white brick structure with granite tower is situated on the north side of the east entrance to Fishers Island Sound.
Westerly Armory Museum
Railroad Avenue, Westerly, RI 401-596-8554
The museum features military memorabilia and historical community items.

For more information contact
South County
Tourism Council
(401) 789-4422
(800) 548-4662
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