Rhode Island Historic Sites

By Allison Dolan Premium

Benefit Street

Providence, RI (800) 233-1636

<>: With more than 200 restored 18th- and 19th-century buildings, Benefit Street has earned its billing as the “Mile of History.” As you stroll down the gas-lamp-lined brick sidewalks, you’ll notice the names of numerous Colonial notables adorning the neighborhood’s historic homes.

Block Island North Light

Sandy Point Block Island, RI (401) 466-3200

<>: The original French Fresnel lamp in this 1868 granite lighthouse still serves as a beacon to the US Coast Guard. The museum offers guided tours in the summer. To get there, you’ll need to hop a ferry (schedules and locations at <>) to the island, and bike or taxi to the parking area — then it’s a 20-minute beachside walk.

Gen. Nathaniel Greene Homestead at Spell Hall

50 Taft St. Coventry, RI 02816 (401) 821-8630

<>: Before distinguishing himself as George Washington’s most trusted Revolutionary War general, Nathaniel Greene built Spell Hall to serve as his home and business headquarters. Today, the restored 1770 residence features period furnishings and Greene family memorabilia.

Roger Williams National Memorial

282 N. Main St. Providence, RI 02903 (401) 521-7266

<>: See Rhode Island’s roots firsthand at the spot where Roger Williams founded Providence in 1636. A 4 ½ -acre park surrounds the original settlement site; you can view exhibits on Williams’ life and contributions to 1 religious freedom in the visitor center.

Slater Mill Historic Site

67 Roosevelt Ave. Pawtucket, RI 02860 (401) 725-8638

<>: Here on the banks of the Blackstone River, Samuel Slater built the first water-powered textile mill — and gave birth to the Industrial Revolution. Besides the original mill, which still houses working machinery, you can visit the 1758 Sylvanus Brown House and 1810 Wilkinson Mill.

Touro Synagogue

85 Touro St. Newport, RI 02840 (401) 847-4794

<>: Designed by renowned 18th-century architect Peter Harrison, this 1763 Georgian synagogue — the nation’s oldest Jewish house of worship — is still in use and offers guided tours.
From the October 2006 issue from Family Tree Magazine.