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Interesting Facts About Rhode Island

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Interesting Facts About Rhode Island 

• Roger Williams founded the first Baptist  Church in Providence in 1638.  He came to Rhode Island to have religious freedom. It is the oldest Baptist congregation in America. 

• The oldest  limestone Quarry operating in located in RI . It was opened in 1643 by Thomas Harris.

• Portsmouth, RI is the first town in America to be established by a woman, Anne Hutchinson. (1640)   

• The White Horse Tavern, the oldest  tavern in America, was built in Newport and is still operating as a tavern.

• The Newport Artillery Company, Rhode Island  Militia, chartered in 1741, is the nation’s oldest active military organization.   It was  originally formed to defend the town from marauding pirates.  

• In 1790, Samuel Slater introduced the textile industry and early mass-production  know-how to this country.  The Slater Mill in Pawtucket was built in 1793.  It was the first successful textile mill in America. The mill is open for daily tours.

• The first national tennis championship  matches were played at the Newport Casino, Newport in 1881.  An annual invitation tournament during the second week in August continues to make this the oldest tennis tournament in America.

• The Westerly Sun is the only Sunday evening paper printed in the United States. It was the first  newspaper to announce the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, without  necessitating the printing of an “extra” or calling personnel back to work to print a special edition  for southeastern Rhode island readers.

• George M. Cohan, a songwriter , Broadway Producer and actor, known as the “Yankee Doodle Dandy” was born in Providence on July 3rd. 

• Fort Adams, located in Newport, is the second largest bastioned fort in the United States.  The Fort is home to the nationally recognized  Newport Jazz Festival and the Newport Folk Festival that is held every summer.  The events draw thousands of people  from around the country to this seaside event

• Tony award winning Trinity Square Theatre located is in Providence, many of their repertory actors go on to become award winners on both Broadway and in movies.

• American League’s first batting champion and Baseball Hall of Fame  member Nap Lajoie, was from Rhode Island. He was noted not only for his skill but also for his kindness and generosity on and off the field.

• On May 4, 1776 Rhode Island declared its independence from Great Britain, the first state to do so. 

• The oldest enclosed shopping center in the country is the Arcade Building located is located in Providence.  

• In 1652, Rhode Island enacted the first anti-slavery law in North America.

• The first gas lighted  street in America  was Pelham Street in Newport, illuminated in 1806 by Davis Melville.

• The oldest carousel  in the country, made in 1850, is still in use at Watch Hill, Westerly.  It was originally turned by a draft horse, but is now mechanized. There is no platform  under the brightly colored wooden horses.

• President John F. Kennedy (the a U.S. Senator) and Jacqueline Bouvier were married in St. Mary’s Church, Newport, in 1952 the oldest Catholic parish in Rhode Island.

• The Redwood Library located in Newport is the oldest continuously used library building in America.

• At the Battle of Rhode Island in 1778, the first Black Regiment to fight for the American Flag made a gallant stand. A memorial now marks the spot in Portsmouth. 

• The heaviest bell cast by Paul Revere & Son hangs in the First Unitarian Church at Benefit  And Benevolent Streets in Providence.                                                                 

• Touro Synagogue in Newport is the oldest Jewish House of Worship in  America.  It was built in 1763 by Peter Harrison, a resident of Newport  and America’s first  professional architect.  It was dedicated as a National Historic Shrine in 1946.  

• North America’s first Quaker meeting house was built here in the 1600s.

• Rhode Island has one of the largest collections of buildings on the National Register of Historic places in America.


Information for Rhode Island School Projects 

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