NewEnglandTravelPlanner.com Logo   Washington Square, Newport RI
Washington Square, surrounded by historic buildings, was the heart of colonial and early American Newport, and is still the heart of its historic district.
 
 

 

Right downtown between Thames and Spring streets, next to the Brick Marketplace shopping mall (map), is Washington Square, the center of colonial Newport.

This spot was once on the Newport waterfront. A spring that provided pure water to the colonists still flows, but now underground. Although all of the original colonial houses are gone, the street layout is much as it was at the founding of the colony in 1639.

At the western tip of the square nearest the harbor stands the Brick Market, center of early Newport commerce, designed by Peter Harrison, the ship's captain and self-trained architect who also designed Newport's Touro Synagogue and Boston's King's Chapel.

The restored Brick Market, a Newport landmark, now houses the Museum of Newport History. More...

At the eastern end of the square stands the Old Colony House, center of Newport governmental affairs from its construction in 1739 until the Rhode Island General Assembly (which met in Newport in the summer) last used it in 1900.

It was from the Colony (later State) House's balcony that the Declaration of Independence was read to Rhode Islanders.

In the Assembly Room of the Old Colony House is one of Gilbert Stuart's famous portraits of George Washington.

Just up Touro Street is Touro Synagogue. More...


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Washington Square, Newport RI

Newport's Washington Square,
now harboring shady Eisenhower Park.

 

 

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