Besides the opulent Mansions there is another story to be told of Newport, that prior to its Gilded Age. Found a walking tour which filled in the dots through a local free newspaper. Always look for these nougats as they enrich your visit.
After reserving our walking tour met our tour guide, Jean, at the Museum of Newport History. Arrived early and received free admission to the Museum. Learned of the early era of Newport and found an interesting printing relic of James Franklin, brother of Benjamin.
From here our walking tour began..
Newport began as Rhode Island’s state capitol and maintained this distinction till the 1900’s. Newport was also the 4th largest seaport in the colonies receiving many imports. Ships tied to a 2,000 square foot wharf, and delivered their wares to an open air market.
Newport Colony House – built by slaves which were 10% of the population.
Newport was a wealthy county and had the first library in the nation. To this day this library remains in use.
During the Revolutionary War there were 6000 British troops in Newport. They burnt houses for firewood and destroyed the area causing people to leave the area. The French were a positive influence paying for firewood and food, however, the maritime economy did not recover and a service industry rose. Newport transitioned to a great place to get away.
Beveled house – this house held many businesses. At one point it was a catering establishment operated by black entrepreneurs during the Gilded Era. During this era blacks worked in hotels and transportation industries besides catering ventures. The beveled paint is meant to make the building look more expensive.
The Alfred Smith House. This man is credited for developing the Bellevue Avenue of Newport. Starting as a New York City tailor he encouraged others to summer and vacation at Newport starting a real estate venture.
Also during this time Fort Adams was being created. This brought stonecutters from Ireland in the 1900’s. Their wives and other family members worked in the Mansions. Catholic Churches began to be built to accommodate their faith and with churches cemeteries were also needed for Catholics.
Orthodox Jews also arrived in this area due to Rhode Island’s religious tolerance. The first Jewish synagogue in the United States was established here.
Tours are available.
The Perry Family of Antarctica fame have roots in the Newport area.
Commodore Perry Monument to China Trade
The Hotel Viking built in 1926 was the last great hotel built in Newport. Often tennis stars stay here. There is a Tennis Museum and Auto Museum in Newport.
In 1835 this yellow hotel was built to house those in the arts from New York City area. It currently is a private men’s club.
The Newport Art Museum. It was donated to the Newport Society by a Chinese merchant, and is an architectural gem of Richard Morris Hunt circa 1862.
Some other homes for viewing – Newport has over 400 pre-revolutionary war homes, and is a delight to stroll every street. Take a glimpse at a few:
A home in transition – much work is needed to make these beauties.
And a few ideas for culinary delight..
For a truly British Breakfast…..
And for a truly American one..
Gary’s Handy Lunch
Amazing food – but bring cash.
Hot, spicey cider with a bit of rum – YUM.
Another idea – delicious clam chowder
Even resident Judge Judy dines at this place. Am told she tips 20%. Great atmosphere and food but Judge Judy would know!
And let’s close with a picture reflective of Rhode Island’s religious history.