Guide to Historic Sites
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.
Old Mill Road, off Route 2
The last of three Christian Churches, it was
rebuilt in 1859 out of granite. The Church stands in
the midst of the reservation and is used for weekly
church services from April-November.
Charlestown Historical Society:
Grounds of the Cross Mills Public Library, Route.
A one-room schoolhouse authentically restored and
furnished in the 19th Century style.
Charlestown Naval Air Station
Opposite tennis courts in Ninigret Park.
Off Route 1, Charlestown
Honoring 61 pilots who lost their lives in WWII.
Royal Indian Burial Ground:
Narrow Lane, off US #1.
Resting place of Sachems (chiefs) and the
families of the Narragansett Indian Tribe.
Quaint Williamsburg-like village with well
preserved 18th and 19th Century homes.
Hopkinton Meeting House:
Corner of Route 3 and Townhouse Rd.
A former Baptist church built in 1789, it is now
used for meetings of the Hopkinton Historical
Off Route 1A, Boston Neck Rd. (401) 783-5400
174-acre park. Playground for children, picnic
area, historic cemetery with graves dating back to
1700's, historic carriage barn ruins, and home of the
South County Museum.
On the Green at Exchange Place, Narragansett
A 6,000-lb. limestone statue of historical
Narragansett tribal Chief Canonchet. Sculptured in
1977 by Robert K. Carsten.
Old Narragansett Pier Life
Historic stone structure, located on Ocean Road
(Route. 1A) at the historic Towers, it is now the
famed Coast Guard House Restaurant.
Narragansett Indian Monument:
Carved from a single Douglas Fir by Peter Toth,
this 23-foot sculpture is one of a series throughout
the country honoring the American Indian.
The Galilee Steeple Memorial:
Corner of Galilee Escape Rd. and Great Island Rd.
Steeple Memorial was constructed to serve as the
entrance to the Galilee Mission to Fishermen, Inc., a
resource and support center for fishermen and their
families. To be built in the next several years, it
will honor local fishermen lost at sea, many of whom
toiled, lifelong, bringing in fish and lobster to keep
food on their families' tables.
Point Judith Lighthouse:
Southern end of Ocean Rd., Narragansett.
An octagonal brick building built in 1857, the
original wooden lighthouse, built 1806, was blown down
in the Great Gale of September 1815, then rebuilt
twice. A Coast Guard and tower beacon were maintained
at the point during the Revolution. Visitors welcome
to tour the grounds.
The property located on the west side of Pt.
Judith Rd., has a two story bungalow with large,
shuttered windows that run around the top floor. Built
at the turn of the century of spruce, cypress and
mahogany it is equipped with barres which were used
for ballet practice. Polo ponies were once kept on the
farm. The site is on the National Historic Register.
The Towers (1884): (photo
at top of page)
Ocean Road (401) 673-7121
This is the last remaining section of the
Narragansett Casino. It is now home to the
Narragansett Historical Society and Visitor
Whale Rock Lighthouse:
Just north of Narragansett Town Beach.
Constructed in 1882 to guard the entrance to the
West Passage of the Bay. The 1938 hurricane destroyed
the lighthouse and killed the assistant lighthouse
keeper. The base, which is very visible, especially at
low tide, stands as sort of a monument for the
assistant keeper, whose body was never found.
Old Narragansett Church
Church Lane, Wickford
This is one of the oldest Episcopal Churches in
America. Features Queen Anne communion silver, box
pews, a slave gallery and has the oldest church organ
(1680) in North America.
Plum Point Lighthouse:
In the early part of the century this engineering
masterpiece was the scene of much heroism. Located
near the Jamestown Bridge, it was erected to ward
vessels off Plum Point shoal.
Quonset Seabee (1969):
Post Rd. (Route. 1)
This preserved World War II construction
battalion unit insignia is a unique reminder of the
importance of Quonset Air Base and Davisville to the
U.S. War effort. The Seabee at the entrance to the
base is an enormous, grimacing creature, presented as
if in flight and ready for action. It was based on a
design by Frank J. Iafrate of North Providence, RI,
fabricated in 1969 by Seabee metalsmiths in Gulfport,
Texas, then shipped to Davisville and painted on base.
Wickford Village (Inc. 1674):
Old churches, quaint shops and beautiful gardens
blend with historic homes that create an image of
village life unchanged through the centuries. At the
end of Main Street, you will find a fleet of boats at
one of two public docks located in the village off
Routes 1A and 1.
Bell School House:
Junction of Routes 112 and 138. (401) 539-7676.
One room schoolhouse with a variety of early
school features. Home of the Richmond Historical
Kenyon Grist Mill (1776):
Glen Rock Road, off Route 138 in the quaint
village of Usqupaugh. (401) 783-4054.
Located on the Queen's River, this is an
operating historic grist mill. The mill contains huge
millstones and early devices used to make corn meal
for jonnycakes. Tours and gift shop. Richmond-South
The Octagon House:
Drive through Carolina Village, corner Main
Street, Route. 112 and Shannock Hill Road to see this
unusual colonial home.
Shannock Mill Complex and
Routes 112 and 2
Variety of circa 1700 buildings. Shannock
Village, Shannock Road between
Activities of the Narragansett
238 Robinson St., Wakefield Post Office
Mural done in 1939 by famed Time Magazine cover
artist Ernest Hamlin Baker. (401) 783-2691
Carpenter's Grist Mill (1703):
MoonStone Beach Rd. For tour information: (401)
Water-powered grist mill built by Samuel E. Perry
is still in operation, grinding R.I. flint corn into
cornmeal for jonnycakes.
Great Swamp Monument:
Off Route. 2, West Kingston
Marks the sight of the famous Battle of 1675.
Hannah Robinson's Rock &
Built in 1937 this large outcropping was often
visited by the tragic heroine of the famous 18th
century South County romance. Observation Tower
adjacent to rock is 100-foot, open-air wooden tower,
atop McSparrin Hill provides a beautiful panoramic
view of the coastline.
Historic Main Street:
Wakefield. A stroll along Main Street brings you
back in time. Wander through historic homes, churches,
quaint shops and an historic inn and restaurant.
Kenyon's Department Store:
Main St., Wakefield.
A department store since early 19th century, it
is on National Historic Register and now owned by
South County Hospital.
Kingston Train Station (1875):
Located on Route 138, West Kingston.
In continuous use since 1875, it is the first
example of an Intermodal transportation project. A
bikepath from the station is planned to extend to
Narragansett. Restored in 1974 and again in 1997.
Served by Amtrak from N.Y. and south to Providence and
Boston in north, also bus service.
Its main street, Kingstown Road (Rte. 138),
retains the charm of the 18th century and provides a
picturesque entrance to the University of Rhode
Island's main campus.
Matunuck Schoolhouse (1848):
The first schoolhouse built in Matunuck is still
standing in its original location on Matunuck Beach
Rd. It is now converted into a small privately owned
Old Washington County
Courthouse: (401) 782-1018
Towering granite building located on Rte. 138 in
West Kingston now houses the South County Center for
the Arts. The building is being renovated to
accommodate the Centers many programs.
Old Washington County Jail:
2636 Kingstown Rd., Kingston Village
Built in 1792, changing exhibits depict South
County Life over the past 300 years. Here you can see
jail cells and rooms from the early republic. Home of
the Pettaquamscutt Historical Society.
Oliver Watson House (c.1790):
Tours by appointment (401) 789-3309
Located on the University of Rhode Island campus,
Kingston. Colonial twin-story farmhouse furnished in
the period 1790-1840. Display of kitchen utensils,
weaving looms and spinning wheels.
19th Century mill village is designated as an
historic district on the National Register. Route 108.
Perryville exit off Route 1
Birthplace of famous 1812 Naval hero, Oliver
This interesting bit of history is located on
Middlebridge Road north of the junction of Torry Rd.
On this site Roger Williams and others negotiated
various land purchases from the Narragansett Indians.
Robert Beverly Hale Library:
Built in 1896 in memory of Robert, the son of
Edward Everett Hale (who wrote Man Without a
Country). Original fireplace, hardwood floors and
wooden beams enhance the comfortable atmosphere of the
Library, located on Rte. 1.
University of Rhode Island (c.
The main campus of the University is in the
historic village of Kingston, on what used to be the
Oliver Watson Farm in the 19th century. Its other
campuses are located in Narragansett (The Bay Campus),
West Greenwich (W. Alton Jones Campus) and Providence.
(CCE). For information on the University call (401)
Bay Street Watch Hill
Sculpted by Enid Yandell in Paris in 1914.
Ninigret was Chief of Rhode Island's branch of the
Niantics and first appeared in Colonial history in
1637. Indian model for statue was with Buffalo Bill's
Wild West Show in Paris.
Old Town Hall:
Located in downtown Westerly.
The building was constructed in 1872 as the first
Town Hall and is being restored as a Town Museum.
Victorian-era resort town, with miles of
beautiful beaches, and yacht-filled harbor. A stroll
through the streets of Watch Hill is a quaint and
peaceful experience with its many wonderful places to
shop and dine.
The heart of downtown Westerly is reminiscent of
times past with impressive Victorian architecture, an
old-fashioned railroad station, and a lovely
center-piece called Wilcox Park. The Pawcatuck River
moves slowly by before emptying into the restless
On 18 acres with beautiful gardens, the park also
has a garden for the visually impaired and
handicapped. Signs, in braille as well, indicate the
planting in section to touch, smell, and taste. The
Park has been on the National Register of Historic
places since 1973.