ISLAND HISTORY


The Columbus caravels — the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria — will arrive in Narragansett Bay, The Jamestown Press reported on July 30, 1992.

The replicas of the ships used by the Italian explorer when he sailed to the new world in 1492 will offer tours. The vessels are constructed of the same materials used by 15th century carpenters. Oak was used for the keel, ribs, planking and rubbers, and the standing rigging is made of pine. All the nails holding the wood together are hand-forged and modeled after those recovered from a 16th century shipwreck. Hemp was used to caulk the ships’ bottoms and decks.

100 years ago — July 21, 1923
(Newport Mercury)

The vessels of the New York Yacht Club will rendezvous at New London for the annual regatta followed by the race for the Astor Cups on Narragansett Bay. Then it will be the contest for the King’s Cup when the fleet returns eastward. It is expected that there will be a larger number of yachts taking part this season than for several years.

75 years ago — July 16, 1948
(Newport Mercury)

A special financial town meeting will be limited to getting an expression from voters related to ending pollution at Mackerel Cove. There will be no request for an appropriation at that time.

Special meetings of this kind are usually to vote on a specific sum. Under consideration is the first phase for a disposal plan to eliminate sewage outfall at the beach. No funds to carry this through, however, are mentioned in the call.

The call for the meeting, which was drawn up by the town’s attorney, M. James Vieira, reads: “Are you in favor of installing and laying force main and gravity sewer to a point of discharge for the purpose of eliminating pollution as soon as possible in Mackerel Cove?”

When it was pointed out by John E. Hammond, town clerk, that the call asked for no specific sum, the president of the town council, Henry Armbrust, said he was surprised. Vieira replied that the meeting was called to obtain an expression of opinion. If the results show that the people wish to go ahead with the plan, there would be another call issues for the expenditure of a specific sum.

50 years ago — July 27, 1973
(Newport Mercury)

The Conanicut Battery site in Jamestown has been added to the National Register of Historic Places.

The Revolutionary War fortification is located on the west side of Conanicut Island on Prospect Hill, also called Fox Hill. The rectangular earthworks are irregular in shape, varying from 100-150 feet in length and 50-75 feet in width. The still clearly defined earthworks slope down towards the West Passage of Narragansett Bay with a panoramic view of Dutch Island, Point Judith and Block Island.

The land on which the battery was built originally belonged to Benedict Arnold, a colonial governor of Rhode Island, but at the time of the Revolution it was owned by Jerathmael Bowers. The fort was built by Americans, probably in May 1776, and was used in concert with a battery at Bonnet Point to defend the West Passage with its heavy cannon.

25 years ago — July 23, 1998
(The Jamestown Press)

In 1909, Jamestown received a cane from the Boston Post which was to give to the oldest citizen “and duly transmitted when such a change of holders become necessary.” It was a gold-headed cane inscribed to the oldest citizen of Jamestown.

The last official documentation for the cane is from 1913, according to local historian Sue Maden. Anyone with information about the cane or its location is asked to call the Jamestown Historical Society.

10 years ago — July 25, 2013
(The Jamestown Press)

Following the death of a worker, the quasi-public bridge agency said it has not decided when painting the Newport Pell Bridge will resume.

David Darlington, chairman of the board of directors for the Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority, said the work is being delayed “for an indeterminable time” pending receipt of an updated safety plan from the contractor.

The maintenance project on the span was halted after a worker was killed in a fall from the lower scaffolding on the Mount Hope Bridge. He fell 75 feet and was pronounced dead at Rhode Island Hospital. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating the accident.