Friday, July 31, 2015

In Which I Visit Colonial Newport Part 2

In Which I Visit Colonial Newport (Part 2)

I decided to walk around the town a bit before the French soldiers arrived.

Because the colony of Rhode Island did not have religious laws, Newport has become a place for people of different religions to settle. 

There are Quakers 
 This is the Great Friends Meeting House.The oldest part was built in 1699. It is the oldest surviving house of worship in Rhode Island. wow! The Society of Friends were already established in Newport by that time. This building was the largest and most recognizable building in town. It was expanded in 1705 and 1729. many Quakers left Newport when the British came, but people still come from all over to worship here and discuss many important topics. The Meeting House is plain in keeping with the Friends' plain style of living. Around the meeting house the grounds are used for shops, stables, businesses and homes.

and Jews

This is Touro Synagogue, the oldest Jewish congregation in Rhode Island and one of the oldest in the U.S.A. It was dedicated not too log ago - in 1763 but the congregation is much older. 

The first Jews came here in the 1650s. They were of Spanish and Portuguese origin; their families had migrated from Amsterdam and London to Brazil and then the islands of Suriname, Barbados, CuraƧao and Jamaica. I'm not dressed for worship, I'm not even Jewish but my godsisters Heather and Miriam are. Heather has been inside here and she says it's plain but beautiful. It was designed by famous Newport architect Peter Harrison.

When the British came, many Jews fled like the Friends did. The British used the synagogue as a hospital ward and meeting house. Isaac Touro stayed behind to keep watch over the synagogue. Since the British evacuation, many of the Jewish families have returned. I hope people will continue to worship here for many many years - like 250 years and more!

The Colony House  (where everyone is gathering for the candlelight procession) was built between 1736 and 1739.

It was supposed to help transform the Parade, (Washington Square) into an elegant public space like they have in English cities. It is designed in the English Georgian style but the floor plan follows the customary layout of English town or guild halls, with an open marketplace on the ground floor and civic offices on the second floor. It has been the site of many important meetings. On July 20, 1776, Major John Handy read the Declaration of Independence from the front steps. When the British occupied Newport the Colony House was used as a barracks. The French plan to use it as a hospital. 

White Horse Tavern

This is the White Horse Tavern. It first opened over a century ago in 1673! It was first built in 1652 as a private home for Francis Brinley. It was purchased by William Mayes, Sr. in 1673 and he converted it to a tavern.

 Before the Colony House was built, the tavern was the meeting place of the Colony’s General Assembly, Criminal Court and City Council. Mr. William Mayes, Jr., a pirate, took over from his father in 1702. He had a license to sell strong drink so I don't think young ladies were allowed inside. In 1730 the new innkeeper, Mr. Jonathan Nichols gave the tavern it's name.

Hessian mercenaries have been living here during the war. The owner, Mr. Walter Nichols, took his family out of the city. We hope he comes back now the British have gone.

Liberty Square
This is Liberty Square. It was donated to the Newport Magistrates about 30 years ago by members of the Newport Artillery. It was supposed to be a meeting place where people could go to discuss issues and speak freely. It doesn't belong to anyone except all the citizens of the town. Slaves gathered here to hold the first African election. The Sons of Liberty gathered at the towering tree to protest the Stamp Act.

There are lots of ordinary citizens living here. The British troops marched in and stayed in the homes of some of the town's residents. Those people were very upset. Now the French have come and some people are worried the French will move in like the British. Other people are happy the French have come to save us. Huzzah!

This is the Buffum-Redwood House built in 1700 and enlarged to a center-chimney 5-bay style house in 1750. I know the names of the people who lived here. Last year I did my Women's History Month report on Elizabeth Buffum Chace, a 19th century reformer. There's a Redwood Library here in town named after the home owner or his brother. Whoever lives here is wealthy.
This big house is called the Odlin-Otis House, built in parts from 1705, 1730 and later
Odlin-Otis House

This house is not symmetrical. I like it. I don't know the name of the person who lived here.

I like this green house. After purple, green is my favorite color!

This house was built in 1730 for John Coddington and enlarged since then. It has a steep gambrel roof and 3 interior chimneys.
John Coddington House

Once the war ended, people returned to Newport and built new homes.  

This house is owned by Joseph Rogers, a merchant. It was built in 1790. It has a three story wood frame and a hip roof. Its main facade is five bays wide, with a center entry framed by pilasters and topped by a fanlight.

This house is called the New Jersey house and it as built in 1800, in New Jersey?! What's it doing here?! Doris Duke, the tobacco heiress founded the Newport Restoration Foundation. This house was on her family's estate, Duke Farms. The NRF purchased it to preserve it. This is a one-and-a-half-story farm house with a gable roof and two end chimney.

The Wilbur-Ellery House was built in 1802. It is a good example of a Federal style home.
Wilbour-Ellery House

The Edward Wilis House was built in 1807. This is a nice size cottage.
 That is all I have time for now, but maybe later I can show you around the Point, the oldest neighborhood in Newport.

Bye for now,

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