Posts Tagged ‘ American Revolutionary War ’

Little Neck – East Providence

  • Little Neck Cemetery
  • Cozzens Avenue, East Providence, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°46’3.58″N, 71°21’15.80″W
  • Last Time Hiked: December 1, 2016
  • Approximate distance hiked: 0.5 miles
  • Easy.

 

Sitting on a peninsula where the Ox Brook and the Mosskettuash Brook converge to form Bullocks Cove lies one of the oldest cemeteries in the United States. The narrow roads that wind through this historic cemetery offer about a half mile of walking. The cemetery, being established in 1655, is on the National Register of Historic Places. The oldest grave here is from 1662, that being the grave of John Brown, Jr. who was a Commissioner to the United Colonies. At the highest point of the peninsula is the oldest part of the cemetery. Some other notable graves here are that of Thomas Willett who was the first mayor of New York City and Elizabeth Tilley Howland who in 1620 came to the New World on the Mayflower. There are also 106 veterans buried here including the Civil War Medal of Honor recipient George Reed.

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The Graves of Elizabeth Howland and Thomas Willett

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Rumford – East Providence

  • Rumford Historic Walk
  • Newman Avenue, East Providence, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°50’27.7″N 71°21’01.3″W
  • Last Time Hiked: October 16, 2016
  • Approximate distance hiked: 1.0 miles
  • Easy.

 

The northern end of East Providence, known as Rumford, is part Blackstone River Valley National Historic Park. In 1636 Roger Williams passed through this area before being told he was still within the boundaries of Massachusetts. He went on across the river to settle Providence. A few years later Reverend Samuel Newman settled here establishing a village that would one day become what is now known as Rumford. For this walk, park at the parking area directly across the street from the Newman Congregational Church. The building that stands today was built in 1810 and is the fourth meetinghouse built on this site. After taking a look at the structure make your way into the cemetery. The oldest grave here is from 1658, that of William Carpenter. The towns most prominent settlers are buried here and there are over 100 American Revolution veterans as well. The most recent burial occurred in 2008. If you are interested in local history spend some time here wandering around. The carvings of the colonial era graves are fascinating. At the far end of the cemetery there is an exit. When you get to the paved road turn right and follow it to Greenwood Avenue. Turn left here a follow the road for a few hundred feet to the first house on the right. This is the Phanuel Bishop House and is one of the oldest houses in the area. It was built in the 1770’s and is as old as the John Hunt House at Hunts Mills. Keep in mind that the Phanuel Bishop House is a private residence. From here turn around and follow Greenwood Avenue toward the large brick mill buildings on the right. Up until 1966 this was the home of the Rumford Chemical Works, makers of Rumford Baking Powder. Today the complex is mostly residential with some offices and restaurants. Stop at Seven Stars Bakery for a quick snack and to view the historical photos on the walls. In the courtyard behind the bakery is the bust of Benjamin Thompson, also known as Count Rumford, in which this village was named for. Returning to Newman Avenue you will pass the post office and the 1930’s fire station which is also now a private residence. The road bends to the east and soon you will be back at the parking area across from the church.

 

More information can be found at: Rumford

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Newman Church (1810)

Hanton City – Smithfield

  • Hanton City
  • Smithfield, RI
  • Trailhead: Undisclosed
  • Last Time Hiked: September 17, 2016
  • Approximate distance hiked: 3.3 miles
  • Fairly easy, slight elevation.

 

Yesteryear there existed a cluster of buildings in the woods of what is now Smithfield. This town was in an extremely remote area miles from any other towns or villages. The town was eventually abandoned and all that remains are several cellar holes, wells, and stone walls. It is known as Hanton City and there are several theories of why the town existed in the first place. Some believe that maybe the occupants were loyalists to the British throne during the American Revolution, others believe that maybe these occupants were diseased and forced to live away from the general public. Regardless, they had a small but fully functioning village in the remote woods of Northern Rhode Island. The properties in the area are owned by several different groups. Some of it is privately owned, some owned by nearby Fidelity. The rest is owned by the Audubon Society and the Smithfield Land Trust. The area is not open to the public and access is available occasionally when the Smithfield Land Trust leads guided group tours of the property.

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Cellar Hole With Shelves

 

Conanicut Battery – Jamestown

  • Conanicut Battery National Historic Park
  • Battery Lane, Jamestown, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°28’53.46″N, 71°23’33.64″W
  • Last Time Hiked: September 13, 2016
  • Approximate distance hiked: 0.7 miles
  • Fairly easy with some slight elevation.

 

Many people pass this hidden gem of a property on their way to Beavertail State Park without even knowing it is there. It is a historically significant site that takes one through decades of military history. Like nearby Beavertail, Fort Wetherill, and Fort Adams, this property has remains of bunkers as well as it highlight, the battery. There is also a short wooded trail that circles around the property. On the north side of the parking lot (opposite side of the main entrance) is a trail entrance to the North Loop. At the first intersection stay to the right. The trail winds through an area of heavy brush, a haven for birds. At the next intersection stay to the right. This trail will lead you to a large lawn. In this area is the battery that was built during the American Revolution as a defensive fort. Among the mounds cannons would fire to nearby enemy ships. There is also a trail that leads to a significantly large boulder before turning north and uphill to a series of World War era concrete bunkers. These structures are actually spotting stations built upon Prospect Hill to warn the nearby armed forts of incoming enemy vessels. There are six bunkers in total. Evidence of Native American activity has also been found on this property. Though small, this property offers quite a bit and makes a nice supplement to a walk at Beavertail State Park.

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Mounds of the Battery

East Bay Bike Path North – Providence/East Providence

  • East Bay Bike Path – North
  • India Street, Providence, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°49’4.58″N, 71°23’29.93″W
  • Last Time Hiked: January 30, 2016
  • Approximate distance hiked: 5.8 miles
  • Fairly easy with some slight elevation.

 

 

Most people who ride their bikes or walk the East Bay Bike Path have no idea that they are passing through hundreds of years of history. This walk is not just 6 miles on a 10 foot wide paved path with great views of the water, but more of a tour of yesteryear. Starting at the picturesque Providence waterfront, the northern portion of the East Bay Bike Path leaves India Point Park and zigzags uphill towards the Washington Bridge. Over the years there have been several bridges built over the Seekonk River. The first built in 1793 was a covered drawbridge. The newly built George Redman Linear Park occupies what remains of the 1931 span. The bike path crosses the river through the linear park. There are several informational boards located here with history of the bridges and surrounding neighborhoods. After crossing the bridge, the bike path snakes down to Watchemoket Square in East Providence. Prior to the highway being built, the square was a bustling center of commerce and local government. It served as a crossroads where Taunton Avenue (Route 44), Warren Avenue (Route 6), and the railroad once met before crossing into Providence. The square was very active in the second half of the 19th century and well into the 20th century. Most of the buildings in the square were wood frame buildings like that at the corner of Warren Avenue and First Street (currently the Watchemoket Tavern). The most predominant building remaining in the square was built in the early 1920’s. The Neo-Federalist designed building served as a bank for several years and is now the home of the Comedy Connection. Most of the remaining buildings in the square were torn down by the 1960’s with the construction of Interstate 195. After crossing Warren Avenue, the bike path follows First Street for two blocks before turning right and along Veterans Memorial Parkway. This short section, about two tenths of a mile, is the only stretch of road walking/biking. Be sure to be aware of traffic. The next mile or so, the bike path first climbs up Fort Hill, past an overlook, and along the parkway before making its way to a former railroad bed. The fort on the hill, with others in the area, protected Providence during the Revolutionary War and The War of 1812. As the bike path climbs the top of the hill just before the lookout, you can see the Fort Hill Monument across the parkway. It is a large boulder near the intersection of Mercer Street. As the bike path winds around the first parking lot along the parkway you now have a good vantage point of the Providence skyline. The buildings of downtown, Rhode Island Hospital, the Manchester Street Power Plant, and the I-way bridge are all clearly visible from here. In fact, as of late, at 8:30 every evening people have been gathering here to shine their lights in the “Good Night Hasbro” event along with several other businesses in the area. The bike path next passes an area that is currently under construction. This will be the future home of The Village on the Waterfront. It is one of two major waterfront developments being built under the revitalization of East Providence’s waterfront. Both of the developments were once used for oil storage tanks and will soon be mixed residential and commercial areas with access to the shoreline. The bike path then bends to the right, passing the second parking lot along the parkway, and downhill as it descends to the waterfront. The remaining distance of the bike path all the way to Bristol now follows the rail bed that was once used by the Providence, Warren, and Bristol Railroad. As the bike path begins to follow the old rail bed, you are now on a causeway and are surrounded by water. To the right is the Providence River and the Port of Providence. You are very likely to see very large cargo ships docked here. To the left is Watchemoket Cove, the first and largest, of three coastal coves along this part of the bike path. All three of these coves are havens for swans and geese. Blue herons and cormorants among several other birds have been seen in these coves as well. After passing the first cove, the bike path passes over Kettle Point. To the left is the second major development along the East Providence waterfront. This development will be predominantly residential as it replaces another former oil tank farm. Just as you approach the next cove, there will be a future trail to the left that leads to Squantum Woods. The bike then crosses another causeway. After passing the aptly named Long Rock Cove to the left, you come to a series of buildings on the right. They belong to the Squantum Association, and the largest and most predominant building is the clubhouse. This building built in 1900 replaces the 1873 structure and is used for weddings and receptions. President Arthur and President Taft have attended events here. The bike path next passes the third coastal cove. This cove, with its long dock, is part of the Boyden Heights Conservation Area. Just after the cove there is a trail that leads into the property. The trails here are short and would add a nice little hike to your walk. Just after the trailhead the area to the left once hosted two amusement parks. Boyden Heights Park, opened in 1904, and Vanity Fair, opened in 1907, along with Crescent Park further south gave this area the nickname “Coney Island of the East”. Both of these amusement parks were closed by 1910. The next portion of the bike path continues to follow the waterfront and soon the Pomham Rocks Lighthouse becomes visible. The lighthouse sits on one of two large rock islands and was built in 1871. Recent restoration has saved the lighthouse and the island can be visited a few times per year. From here you will catch your last glimpse of the buildings of downtown four miles away. Next the bike path passes under Bullocks Point Avenue and comes out to Riverside Square. This was another bustling village back in the day, complete with a railroad station built in the mid to late 1800’s. Today the old depot is a coffee shop that is well worth a visit. Other buildings in the square also date back to yesteryear, but the most visited building here is the Dari-Bee, a local ice cream shop that is open from the spring to the fall. There are also a few “Mom & Pop” shops here as well including convenience stores for water or snacks. Also in the square in the Riverside World War II Memorial. It was originally located further up the road and was relocated to the square in the early 2000’s. The bike path, flanked by bird filled shrubs, then continues south passing through residential neighborhoods before coming to Bullocks Cove. Looking north from the causeway crossing the cove you can catch a glimpse of Little Neck which is home to one of the oldest cemeteries in the nation. The cemetery, established in 1655, serves as the final resting place of several colonists including one who was a passenger on the Mayflower and the first mayor of New York City. The cemetery is not accessible from the bike path however. The bike path then crosses Crescent View Avenue. If you so choose, follow Crescent View Avenue west to its end. There is the 1895 Looff Carousel, the only remaining structure of the once bustling Crescent Park Amusement Park that closed in the 1970’s. After crossing Crescent View Avenue, the bike path passes through another residential neighborhood, a small playground, and another small cove before reaching Haines State Park. This park, on the East Providence/Barrington border was established in 1911 and offers areas for picnics, ball fields, a dog park, trails, and access to the water. This is also where I decided to conclude this walk. The bike path continues another 8 miles to Bristol passing through Barrington and Warren. That will be a walk for another day!

 

Trail map can be found at: East Bay Bike Path North.

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The East Bay Bike Path Along Watchemoket Cove

 

 

 

Veterans Cemetery – Exeter

  • Rhode Island Veterans Memorial Cemetery/Woodland Trail
  • South County Trail, Exeter, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°32’42.45″N, 71°32’15.73″W
  • Last Time Hiked: November 11, 2015
  • Approximate distance hiked: 3.1 miles
  • Easy.

(Veterans Day 2015) – To recognize the end of the major hostilities at the eleventh hour of November 11th, 1918 that ended World War I, Armistice Day became a national holiday to remember the veterans of that Great War. After World War II, the holiday evolved to become Veterans Days to honor the veterans of all American wars. My grandfather was only aged one when the Great War ended and decades later would serve in the Second World War liberating concentration camps in Nazi Germany. Nearly fifteen years after his passing, his name is forever embodied with other Rhode Islanders whom had served in the military of the United States, at the Combat Infantryman Badge Memorial. There is also a trail that the University of Rhode Island Master Gardeners Club has built over the course of several years around the perimeter of the cemetery. The trail is never very far from any of the cemetery roads and comes out to several of the memorial monuments along the edge of the cemetery. For this walk, I followed the entire Woodland Trail using the map provided (see below) and then did some wandering around the cemetery visiting most of the monuments. Being Veterans Day, there were services at some of the various monuments and many folks were visiting with loved ones lost.

Trail map can be found at: Rhode Island Veterans Memorial Cemetery.

Additional photos can be viewed at the Trails and Walks Facebook page.

Monument at Rhode Island Veterans Cemetery

Monument at Rhode Island Veterans Cemetery

Olney Memorial Park – North Providence

  • Captain Stephen Olney Memorial Park
  • Smithfield Road, North Providence, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°51’21.07″N, 71°27’5.89″W
  • Last Time Hiked: October 22, 2015
  • Approximate distance hiked: 1.0 miles
  • Easy with some elevation.

Captain Stephen Olney was a soldier in the American Revolution and later a member of the Rhode Island General Assembly. He was a lifelong resident of North Providence and had built a house along Smithfield Road that still stands adjacent to this park. The park is on a piece of property that spans along a hill between Smithfield Road and High Service Avenue almost across from Fatima Hospital. The park consists of several ball fields, tennis courts, playgrounds, and a hill for sledding. There is a paved walking path that connects most of these features of the park. The walking path also passes a small pond before reaching the top of the hill. At the top of the hill there are a set of wooden stairs that lead down to a nature trail. The nature trail leads back to the walking path. Following both the walking path and nature trail will provide for a walk just under a mile. The property also features a historical cemetery in which members of the Olney family rest.

Walking Path On A Fall Day

Walking Path On A Fall Day