~ Newport, Rhode Island ~

Rhode Island is a bunch of islands separated from the main part of the state, which is attached to Massachusetts and Connecticut.

Newport is a city on Aquidneck Island in Newport County, Rhode Island. It is located 23 miles south of Providence, and 61 miles south of Boston. Known as a New England summer resort and for the famous Newport Mansions, it is the home of Salve Regina University and Naval Station Newport which houses the United States Naval War College, the Naval Undersea Warfare Center, and a major United States Navy training center. One might say it is a rich version of a military town. Newport was known for being the city of some of the "Summer White Houses" during the administrations of Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy.

During the colonial period, Newport was the center of the slave trade in New England. Newport was active in the "triangle trade," in which slave-produced sugar and molasses from the Caribbean were carried to Rhode Island and distilled into rum, which was then carried to West Africa and exchanged for captives, who were later sold as slaves to produce more sugar and molasses. In 1764, Rhode Island had about 30 rum distilleries, 22 in Newport alone. Many of the great fortunes made during this period were made in the slave trade. The Common Burial Ground on Farewell Street was where most of the slaves were buried. Sixty percent of slave trading voyages launched from North America, in some years more than 90%, issued from tiny Rhode Island, many from Newport. Almost half were trafficked illegally, breaking a 1787 state law prohibiting residents of the state from trading in slaves. Slave traders were also breaking federal statutes of 1794 and 1800 barring Americans from carrying slaves to ports outside the United States, and the 1807 Congressional act abolishing the transatlantic slave trade. A few Rhode Island families made substantial fortunes in the trade. A few Rhode Island families made substantial fortunes in the trade. William and Samuel Vernon, Newport merchants who later played an important role in financing the creation of the United States Navy, sponsored thirty African slaving ventures. However, it was the De Wolfs of Bristol, RI, and most notably James De Wolf, who were the largest slave trading family in all of North America, mounting more than eighty transatlantic voyages, most illegal. The Rhode Island slave trade was broadly based. Seven hundred Rhode Islanders owned or captained slave ships, including most substantial merchants, and many ordinary shopkeepers and tradesmen, who purchased shares in slaving voyages. Newport has a history to not be proud of.

Since the colonial era, Rhode Island would rotate its legislative sessions between Providence, Newport, Bristol, East Greenwich and Kingston and did not have a fixed capital. In 1854, the sessions in the cities other than Providence and Newport were eliminated and finally in 1900, Newport was dropped. A constitutional amendment that year restricted the meetings of the legislature to Providence. Connecticut was the only other state to have more than one capital at one time. It was in Newport, in 1791, that the Rhode Island General Assembly, acting under pressure from the merchant community of Providence, voted to ratify the Constitution and become the 13th state. The city is the site of the last residence of Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry, who won fame in the Battle of Lake Erie during the War of 1812. Monuments to Perry are in Eisenhower Park in Newport and on Presque Isle State Park in Erie, PA.


The Old Stone Mill with Channing Memorial Unitarian Church,
which was built in 1881 in the background


Old Stone Mill



The Newport Tower (also known as: Round Tower, Touro Tower, Newport Stone Tower and Old Stone Mill) is a round stone tower located in Touro Park in Newport. It is commonly considered to have been a windmill built in the mid-17th century. However, the tower has received attention due to speculation that it is actually several centuries older and represents evidence of pre-Columbian trans-oceanic contact. Touro Park is at the top of Mill Street, surrounded by a historical residential neighborhood on the hill above the waterfront tourist district. Eighteenth-century paintings show that the hill itself once furnished a view of the harbor and would have been visible to passing mariners in Narragansett Bay, but recent tree growth now obscures the view.
The Newport Tower is not exactly circular. From southeast to northwest the diameter reportedly measures 22 feet 2 inches, but when measured from east to west, the diameter lengthens to 23 feet 3 inches, although curiously, 19th century measurements of the interior gave an east-west dimension of 18 feet 4 inches, which was slightly shorter than the north-south measurement of 18 feet 9 inches, suggesting that the discrepancies may be due to the unevenness of the rubble masonry. The tower has a height of 28 feet and an exterior width of 24 feet. At one time the sides were coated with a smooth coating of white plaster, the remains of which can still be seen clinging to the outer walls. It is supported by eight cylindrical columns that form stone arches, two of which are slightly broader than the other six. Above the arches and inside the tower is evidence of a floor that once supported an interior chamber. The walls are approximately 3 feet thick, and the diameter of the inner chamber is approximately 18 feet. The chamber is penetrated by four windows on what used to be the main floor, and three very small ones at the upper level. Almost (but not quite directly) opposite the west window is a fireplace backed with grey stone and flanked by nooks.


In a document of 1741 the tower is described as "the old stone mill." In 1760 the Tower was used as a haymow, while in 1767 it was described as having been used as a powder store "some time past". De Barres' plan of Newport, published in 1776, marks it as "Stone Wind Mill." During the American Revolution, the tower was used by the Americans as a lookout, and by the British to store munitions.
The tower is located at the upper end of the plot behind the now-demolished mansion built by Benedict Arnold, the first colonial governor of Rhode Island, who moved from Pawtuxet to Newport in 1651 (not to be confused with his great-grandson, General Benedict Arnold of the American Revolutionary War.) In 1677 Arnold mentions "my stone built Wind Mill" in his will: the site for his then-new burying-ground, which survives to this day, is between this mill and his mansion. The phrase has therefore generally been accepted as referring to the Newport Tower, and is evidence the tower was once used as a windmill.
In 1992, radiocarbon dating tests of the tower's mortar were undertaken by a team of researchers from Denmark and Finland. The results suggest a probable date of construction between 1635 and 1698.

Cliff Walk


Easton's beach, or First Beach, has this view of the famed Cliff Walk.

First Beach
The Newport Cliff Walk is considered one of the top attractions in Newport, Rhode Island, in the United States. It is a 3.5-mile public access walkway that borders the shore line. It has been designated a National Recreation Trail.
The Cliff Walk runs from the east end of Bailey's Beach to the western end of First Beach. There are public access points at Bellevue Avenue, Ledge Road, Marine Avenue, Ruggles Avenue, Sheppard Avenue, Webster Street, and Narragansett Avenue.
It runs behind many of Newport's famous gilded mansions. Most of the cliff walk is paved and it offers beautiful vistas, tunnels, and long winding pathways.

Texting on the rocks

Not much surf, but lots of birds


The first "house" on the Cliff Walk is not a house at all, it's The Chanler spiced pear restaurant. Most of the houses along Cliff Walk have high hedges or wall for privacy. At one time, residents tried to close Cliff Walk to the public, however a state law that requires access to all beaches and shores in the state to be open to the public won out in a court battle.


The stone marker on the left is at the beginning of Cliff Walk. On the right is a view of First Beach from near the marker.

Another view of the spiced pear reataurant

Much of the cliff is now concrete


In lieu of rocks haphazardly scattered by falling from the cliff we have rocks purposely fitted by man or concrete walls to prevent erosion


Young King of the Rock


I had walked about a mile of the 3.5 mile walk, but due to limited funds for the two parking meters, it was, then, time to turn back

One final shot of Easton's Beach with Arive over on the left side


Fort Adams


Fort Adams was established on July 4, 1799 as a First System coastal fortification. Its first commander was Captain John Henry who was later instrumental in starting the War of 1812. The first Fort Adams was designed by Major Louis de Tousard of the Army Corps of Engineers. This fort mounted 12 cannon and was garrisoned during the War of 1812 by Wood's State Corps of Rhode Island militiamen.
After the War of 1812, there was a thorough review of the nation's fortification needs and it was decided to replace the older Fort Adams with a newer and much larger fort. The new fort was designed by Brigadier General Simon Bernard, a Frenchman who had served as a military engineer under Napoleon. Bernard designed the new Fort Adams in the classic style of Vauban and it became the most complex fortification in the Western Hemisphere.

Construction of the new fort began in 1824 and continued at irregular intervals until 1857. From 1825 to 1838 construction was overseen by Colonel Joseph Gilbert Totten, the foremost American military engineer of his day. In 1838 Totten became chief engineer of the Army and served until his death in 1864.
The new Fort Adams was first garrisoned in August 1841, functioning as an active Army post until 1950. During this time the fort was active in five major wars (the Mexican-American War, American Civil War, Spanish-American, World War I and World War II) but never fired a shot in anger.
During the Mexican War Fort Adams was briefly under the command of Brigadier General Franklin Pierce, who would be elected President of the United States in 1852.
The War Department was concerned about the political sympathies of Marylanders during the Civil War, so the United States Naval Academy was moved in 1861 from Annapolis Maryland to Fort Adams. In September 1861, the academy moved to the Atlantic House Hotel in Newport and remained there for the rest of the war.



The photo on the left is of a photo of a model of Fort Adams providing an overview of the fort's design including the main structure and the outworks for land defense.
In 1953, the Army gave Fort Adams to the Navy, which still uses some of the grounds for family housing. In 1965, the fort was given to the state of Rhode Island for use as Fort Adams State Park. In 1976, Fort Adams was declared a National Historic Landmark. President Dwight D. Eisenhower lived at the former commanding officer's quarters (now called the Eisenhower House) during his summer vacations in Newport in 1958 and 1960. Since 1981, the Fort Adams grounds have been host to the Newport Jazz Festival, and the Newport Folk Festival. In 2012, the park was the official venue for the America's Cup World Series in Newport.

The Claiborne Pell Bridge, commonly known as the Newport Bridge over Narragansett Bay
I was not nearly as impressed with Fort Adams as I was with Fort Knox in Maine or several other historical forts I have visited around the country.
I prefer to wander around alone on self-tours than to go with a group listening to a guide tell me things that are on the signs. Signs I can photograph for future reference. A guide's words are soon forgotten. Another thing I did not like was the positioning of the cannons on concrete blocks (below), which is not a natural setting for them. They are better displayed in their firing positions as they are in the several other forts I have seen.


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