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Rhode Island Historic Sites Open to the Public

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The following list of historic sites will be periodically updated. If you have a site to recommend, contact Sarah Zurier. For more information about hours, events, and admission fees, contact the individual site.

Read Schoolhouse, Coventry

The Astors' Beechwood Mansion, 580 Bellevue Ave., Newport / 846-3772 This Italianate house was built in 1857 to the designs of Alexander Jackson Downing and Calvert Vaux. Purchased by the Astor family in 1881, the house was the social center for New York Society during the Gilded Age.

Babcock-Smith House, 124 Granite St., Westerly / 596-4424 Early Georgian-style home of Dr. Joshua Babcock, Westerly’s first physician, postmaster, and frequent host of Benjamin Franklin. Later owned by Orlando Smith, who led Westerly to be one of the country’s leading granite centers.

Baker Street Fire Museum, 42 Baker St., Warren Built in 1846 for the “Narragansett Fire Engine No. 3,” this historic fire station houses a collection of antique engines and pumps.

Belcourt Castle, 657 Bellevue Ave., Newport / 846-0669 Richard Morris Hunt designed this 60-room "summer cottage" in the style of Louis XIII. Belcourt Castle was built in 1891-94 for Oliver Hazard Perry Belmont, grandson of Commodore Matthew Perry and son of August Belmont, "The King of Fifth Avenue."

Belknap School, 509 Greenville Ave., Johnston / 231-3380 Built in 1892, this one-room schoolhouse served children in the village of Belknap until the late 1930s.

Blithewold Mansion, Gardens and Arboretum, 101 Ferry Rd. (Rt. 114), Bristol / 253-2707 A gracious turn-of-the-century summer estate, featuring a stately mansion and 33 acres of landscaped grounds.

The Breakers, Ochre Point Ave., Newport / 847-1000 Built in 1895 for Cornelius Vanderbilt, The Breakers is probably the most palatial of Newport’s mansions. Richard Morris Hunt designed the 70-room mansion in the Italian Renaissance style.

Briggs-Boesch Farm, 830 South Rd., East Greenwich | 884-5118 A 72-acre property owned by the Town of East Greenwich. The farmhouse, bank farm, outbuilding, stone walls, Briggs family burying ground, wells, and fields tell the history of the farm from the 1600s to the present.

Bristol Art Museum, 10 Wardwell St., Bristol | 253-4400 Linden Place's carriage barn (built in 1867) is now home to the Bristol Art Museum.

Bristol Historical & Preservation Society and Library, 48 Court St. Bristol / 253-7223 Formerly Bristol’s “Old Gaol,” the building was erected in 1828 from stones used for ballast in Bristol’s ships. The museum contains more than 300 years of Bristol’s rich historical relics and a genealogical library.

Coggeshall Farm Museum, Colt State Park, off Rt. 114, Bristol / 253-9062 A working 18th-century farm set on 35 acres in Colt State Park. Animals and farm buildings, including a barn, spring house, cooling house, and blacksmith shop.

Elijah Angell House, 101 Putnam Pike, Johnston / 231-3380 A farmhouse built around 1825 and restored by the Johnston Historical Society. The farmhouse and the newly-built barn on the back of the property together constitute the Johnston History Museum.

The Elms, Bellevue Ave., Newport / 847-1000 Mansion built in 1901 and modeled after the early 18th-century Chateau of Asnieres near Paris. Bronze and marble statues, fountains, terraces and gazebos are scattered among the gardens.

Fort Adams, Fort Adams State Park, off Harrison Ave., Newport / 841-0707 Engineering and architectural landmark which served the United States from 1824 to 1950. The massive stone fort was designed to mount 464 cannon and be garrisoned by 2,440 soldiers in wartime.

Four Corners Arts Center, 3852 Main Rd., Tiverton / 624-2600 The Center is located in the historic Soule-Seabury House, built c. 1800. The landscaped grounds are used for exhibits, concerts, outdoor dance, sculpture, theater, and a variety of other special events.

General Nathanael Greene Homestead at Spell Hall, 50 Taft St., Coventry / 821-8630 Nathanael Greene was Washington's most trusted Major General and strategist during the Revolutionary War. Built in 1770, the well-preserved house displays period furnishings and Greene family memorabilia.

Gilbert Stuart Museum, 815 Gilbert Stuart Rd. (between Rts. 1 and 1A), Saunderstown / 294-3001 Birthplace of Gilbert Stuart, one of America's foremost portrait painters, best known for his paintings of George Washington. Period furnishings, the first American snuff mill, and a water wheel.

Governor Henry Lippitt House, 199 Hope St., Providence / 453-0688 Built in 1865, this Renaissance Revival-style mansion features a Victorian interior design, brass chandeliers, family china, handcarved woodwork, paintings, and period furnishings.

Governor Sprague Mansion, 1351 Cranston St., Cranston / 944-9226 A furnished 28-room mansion built in 1790 by the politically and financially prominent Sprague family. Birthplace of two Rhode Island governors.

Governor Stephen Hopkins House, 15 Hopkins St. (at Benefit St.) Providence Hopkins was ten times Governor of Rhode Island and signed the Declaration of Independence. His home (1707) is one of Providence’s oldest surviving buildings.

Hale House, 2625A Commodore Perry Highway (Rt. 1 South), Matunuck / 783-1328 Built in 1873 in the Second Empire style as a summer residence for American author and clergyman Edward Everett Hale and his family of artists and writers. Features four period rooms and an art gallery space.

Hanson Memorial Armory, 33 Dorr Dr., Chepachet The headquarters of the Gloucester Light Armory, chartered in 1774. Formerly the addition to a ca. 1850 schoolhouse.

Hearthside, 677 Great Road, Lincoln A unique stone house built in 1810, Hearthside is one of the finest examples of Federal-style houses in the state. It is a key landmark on Great Road, one of the oldest thoroughfares in America.

Herreshoff Marine Museum, 1 Burnside St., Bristol / 253-5000 From 1863 to 1945, the Herreshoff Manufacturing Company, produced the world’s finest yachts. The museum includes the old family homestead, seven former company buildings, and a large portion of the company waterfront.

International Tennis Hall of Fame, 194 Bellevue Ave. Newport / 849-3990 The world's largest tennis museum and was built in 1880 and hosted the U.S. National Lawn Tennis Championships (U.S. Open) from 1881 to 1915. It holds a vast collection of tennis history and memorabilia.

Jamestown Windmill, North Rd. Jamestown / 423-1798 This ca. 1787 windmill ground corn for 109 years until it ceased operation in 1896.

John Brown House, 52 Power St., Providence / 331-8575 Built in 1786-88 by an merchant involved in the China Trade, this Georgian-style mansion is furnished with fine examples of Colonial antiques and decorative arts.

John Hunt House, Hunts Mill Rd. (off Pleasant St.), East Providence / 438-1750 This ca. 1770 Georgian-style house is located in a rural setting and features a furnished parlor and bedroom.

John Waterman Arnold House, 25 Roger Williams Circle, Warwick / 467-7647 A restored Federal farmhouse with period rooms and a local Research Library operated by the Warwick Historical Society.

Judge Samuel Randall House, 31 Baker St., Warren James Maxwell built this Federal house as a wedding present for his daughter. Exhibits and memorabilia furnished by the Warren Preservation Society.

Kentish Guards Armory, 90 Peirce Street, East Greenwich / 884-3183 The headquarters of the Kentish Guards, chartered in 1774. Gen. Nathanael Greene, George Washington’s second in command, was a member. The Greek Revival-style armory was built in 1843.

Ladd Observatory, 210 Doyle Avenue and Hope Street, Providence / 863-2323 Classical Revival style astronomical observatory at Brown University by architects Stone, Carpenter, and Willson, 1891. Open to the public for telescope viewing and tours on Tuesday evenings, weather permitting.

Linden Place, 500 Hope St., Bristol / 253-0390 A ca. 1810 Federal-style mansion designed by Russell Warren for General George DeWolf. Sculptures on the landscaped grounds.

Looff Carousel, end of Bullock’s Point Ave., East Providence / 433-2828 Built in 1895 and designed by Charles Looff, the restored carousel features 56 hand carved wood jumping horses, 6 stationary horses, 4 chariots, a camel, and a Wurlitzer military band organ.

Lysander and Susan Flagg Museum and Cultural Center, 209 Central St., Central Falls / 727-7440 The former home of a Civil War veteran and library benefactor. Local history told by maps, newspapers, photographs, paintings, and artifacts.

Marble House, Bellevue Ave., Newport / 847-1000 Built for William K. Vanderbilt in 1892 and designed by Richard Morris Hunt, the columned white mansion recalls 17th- and 18th-century French chateaux of the Louis XIV period.

Maxwell House, corner of Church and Water Sts., Warren Built between 1752 and 1756 by the Reverend Samuel Maxwell, it is the oldest brick dwelling in Warren. The house is maintained as a working museum.

Mount Hope Farm, 250 Metacom Ave., Bristol / 254-1745 This picturesque 127-acre gentleman’s farm overlooks Mount Hope Bay. The house was built in 1745 and expanded in the 1840s, 1890s, and 1950s. Senator William Bradford entertained George Washington here in 1793.

Museum of Natural History and Cormack Planetarium, Roger Williams Park, Providence / 785-9457 Built in 1894-95, this French Chateau-style museum displays wildlife, rock and mineral exhibits, and Narragansett Bay artifacts.

Museum of Newport History, Brick Market at Washington Sq., Newport / 841-8770 Located in an important early landmark (1760-72), the museum contains artifacts, paintings, and interactive exhibits about Newport's dynamic history.

Museum of Newport Irish History 848-0661 The museum collects, preserves, and displays photographs, letters, documents and artifacts, and oral history that trace the chronology of Irish immigration and settlement in Newport County.

Museum of Work and Culture, 42 South Main St., Woonsocket / 769-9675 This interactive museum presents the story of the French Canadians who left the farms of Quebec for the factories of New England. Includes 8 walk- through settings, interactive displays, and changing exhibits.

Newport Art Museum, 76 Bellevue Ave., Newport / 848-8200 Located in an 1862 Stick-style building designed by Richard Morris Hunt, the museum features changing exhibits of contemporary and historical art of Newport and New England.

Newport Artillery Museum, 23 Clarke St. Newport / 846-8488 King George II chartered the Newport Artillery in 1741. The museum exhibits American and foreign military items, with militaria from over one hundred countries.

Old Washington County Jail, 2636 Kingstown Rd., Kingston / 783-1328 Built in 1792 and rebuilt in 1858-61. It features period jail cells, exhibit rooms and gallery depicting local lifestyles from the late 17th to mid-20th centuries, as well as  Ernest Hamlin Baker's mural "The Economic Activities of the Narragansett Planters."

Paine House Museum, 7 Station St., Coventry / 397-5135 Built in 1669, this historic site features a furnished and partially restored Colonial inn and home.

Portsmouth Historical Society Museum and Southermost Schoolhouse, East Main Rd and Union St., Portsmouth / 638-9178 The museum features early household artifacts, farm implements, changing exhibits, and a small research library. The earliest standing schoolhouse in the U.S. contains antique desks, school bells, and original textbooks.

Prescott Farm, 2009 West Main Rd., Middletown / 847-6230 The scenic grounds of Prescott Farm include a 4-story windmill (ca. 1811), British General Prescott’s Guard House, and a ca. 1715 country store.

Providence Public Library, 150 Empire Street, Providence / 455-8000 Opened in 1900, the classical Renaissance-style building serves as Rhode Island's largest and central public library, housing more than 1 million items, including unique and special collections of historic significance.

Quonset Air Museum, 488 Eccleston Ave. near Quonset Point airfield, North Kingstown / 294-9540 A working museum hosting a growing collection of aircraft and memorabilia. It contains a Russian MIG-17, AN-2, TBM Avenger, A-4 Skyhawk, A6 Intruder and SH3 Seaking.

Read Schoolhouse, corner of Flat River and Read Schoolhouse Rds., Coventry Built in 1831, the restored one-room schoolhouse contains historic photographs, diplomas, and textbooks.

Redwood Library and Athenaeum, 50 Bellevue Ave., Newport / 847-0292 Distinguished as America's oldest lending library and oldest library building in continuous use. Collections include 160,000 volumes, colonial portraits, sculpture, furniture.

Rhode Island Black Heritage Society, The Arcade, Weybosset St., Providence / 751-3490 The Society hosts the exhibit “Creative Survival,” which examines black life in Providence from 1776 to 1865.

Saylesville Friends Meeting House, 374 Great Rd., Lincoln / 723-2515 Built in two sections in 1704-05 and 1740, this is the oldest Quaker Meeting House in continuous use.

Slater Mill Historic Site, 67 Roosevelt Ave., Pawtucket / 725-8638 The birthplace of American industry includes Slater Mill (1793), Sylvanus Brown House (1758), and Wilkinson Mill (1810), plus dam, power canal, and riverside park.

Smith’s Castle, 55 Richard Smith Dr. off Rte 1, North Kingstown / 294-3521 This landmark was built as a trading post in 1638, rebuilt after a fire during King Philip’s War, and amply expanded in the 19th century.

Touro Synagogue, 85 Touro St., Newport / 847-4794 Built in 1763, Touro is the oldest synagogue in the nation. The oldest torah in North America is on display along with a letter from George Washington.

Varnum Military Museum, 6 Main St., East Greenwich / 884-4110 This military museum is housed in the Gothic Revival-style Varnum Armory, built in 1913-14. The extensive collections include weapons, military artifacts, and documents from the 15th century through the 20th century.

Westerly Armory Museum, Railroad Avenue and Dixon Street, Westerly / 596-8554 Built in 1901-02, the Armory has a museum of community and military memorabilia. It is home to The Westerly Band (the nation's oldest non-military band) and their historic library.

Wilbor House Museum, 548 West Main Rd. (Rt. 77), Little Compton/ 635-4035 An outstanding example of Little Compton’s earliest architecture, this house was built in 1680 and contains 10 period rooms dating between 1680 and 1850.