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The Towers, Narragansett, Rhode Island

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South County, Rhode Island

Guide to Historic Sites

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Guide to Historic Sites

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.

Charlestown

Indian Church
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. 1A.
A one-room schoolhouse authentically restored and furnished in the 19th Century style.

Charlestown Naval Air Station Memorial:
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.

Hopkinton City

Hopkinton City:
Route 3
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 Association.

Narragansett

Canonchet Farm:
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.

Canonchet Memorial:
On the Green at Exchange Place, Narragansett Pier.
A 6,000-lb. limestone statue of historical Narragansett tribal Chief Canonchet. Sculptured in 1977 by Robert K. Carsten.

Old Narragansett Pier Life Saving Station:
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:
Kingstown Rd.
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.

Sunset Farm:
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 Information Center.

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.

North Kingstown:

Old Narragansett Church (c.1707):
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.

Richmond

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 Society.

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 Kingstown line.

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 Horseshoe Falls:
Routes 112 and 2
Variety of circa 1700 buildings. Shannock Village, Shannock Road between

South Kingstown

Activities of the Narragansett Planters:
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) 783-5483
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 & Observation Tower:
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. Recently renovated.

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.

Kingston Village:
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 summer house.

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: (401) 783-1328
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.

Peacedale Village:
19th Century mill village is designated as an historic district on the National Register. Route 108.

Perryville:
Perryville exit off Route 1
Birthplace of famous 1812 Naval hero, Oliver Hazard Perry.

Pettaquamscutt Rock:
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. 1891):
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) 874-1000.

Westerly:

Ninigret Statue:
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.

Watch Hill:
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.

Westerly Center:
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 Atlantic.

Wilcox Park:
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.

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