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Channing Memorial Church was constructed in the 1880 and dedicated to William Ellery Channing on the 100th anniversary of his birth. The church is constructed mainly of porphyritic granite, featuring stained glass windows designed by John LaFarge and Donald MacDonald. The most famous parishioner of Channing Church was Julia Ward Howe, author of Battle Hymn of the Republic.
Channing is known as a foremost Unitarian preacher in the early 19th Century and a powerful speaker against slavery. Hr was born in Newport, a grandson of a signer of the Declaration of Independence.
Updated Oct 25, 2011
The Commodore Matthew C Perry Monument stands in Touro Park facing Bellevue Avenue in the heart of Newport, RI. The statue was designed by John Quincy Adams Ward, erected in 1869, and dedicated by Perry's daughter. Commodore Perry is buried in Newport's Island Cemetery.
Commodore Matthew Perry was the younger brother of Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry, and the junior Perry began his career at the young age of 15, under his older brother's command. Perry served in the War of 1812, the Mexican War, and the Barbary War, and he died at the age of 63.
Commodore Perry is most famous for his visits to Japan in 1852-1853 and 1854, where he forcefully negotiated a treaty opening Japan's ports to foreign trade. When the Commodore arrived in Tokyo Bay, the Japanese were stunned to see ships crafted of steel, belching smoke, and bristling with guns of various sizes. The Commodore violated the orders of the local naval force and sent his ships right to Tokyo, where they threatened the city. Perry was sent of behalf of President Millard Fillmore, and he refused to see a single Japanese person unless it was the emperor's highest ranking assistants. It was apparent to the Japanese that they were not in position to refuse to negotiate, given the great strength of the American fleet. The treaty was signed on 31 March 1854, and it opened two ports to American ships where the sailors could purchase provisions.
Of interesting historical note, General Douglas MacArthur was a blood relative of Commodore Perry. When the Japanese surrendered at the end of WWII neared, MacArthur sent for Commodore Perry's flag that was on display at the U.S. Naval Academy, as he wanted it displayed at the signing of the instruments of surrender.
Written Oct 25, 2011
The First Lutheran Church was built around 1895 or 1898. Since then it has been converted into a private home, while keeping many of the original architectural elements. Believe it or not, this old church has Cathedral ceilings and stained glass windows! The structure is currently two units, with six bedrooms, and four and a half baths, and in 2011 it was for sale for only $899,000!
Updated Oct 24, 2011
Touro Cemetery was dedicated in 1677, as the burial ground for Newport's Touro Synagogue. The cemetery is the second oldest Jewish cemetery in the United States. Until another Jewish cemetery was established in Boston in the 1840s, all Jews from Massachusetts were buried at this small, but historic site.
The nearby Touro Synagogue, the oldest in America, was constructed in 1763. The original Jews in Newport were mostly of Spanish and Portuguese descent, mostly merchants drawn by the port town. After the American Revolution the capital of Rhode Island and the main port moved to Providence, and the Jewish community dwindled. For over 100 years the aread was generally void of Jews until the Eastern European migrations to the U.S. began in the late 1800s.
In 1854 Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote a poem called "The Jewish Cemetery at Newport." He seemed surprised by the large Jewish cemetery in a town almost totally devoid of Jews. At the time of his visit, the cemetery was green, but the Synagogue boarded up and abandoned.
The Jewish Cemetery at Newport
By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
How strange it seems! These Hebrews in their graves,
Close by the street of this fair seaport town,
Silent beside the never-silent waves,
At rest in all this moving up and down!
The trees are white with dust, that o'er their sleep
Wave their broad curtains in the south-wind's breath,
While underneath these leafy tents they keep
The long, mysterious Exodus of Death.
And these sepulchral stones, so old and brown,
That pave with level flags their burial-place,
Seem like the tablets of the Law, thrown down
And broken by Moses at the mountain's base.
The very names recorded here are strange,
Of foreign accent, and of different climes;
Alvares and Rivera interchange
With Abraham and Jacob of old times.
"Blessed be God! for he created Death!"
The mourners said, "and Death is rest and peace;"
Then added, in the certainty of faith,
"And giveth Life that nevermore shall cease."
Closed are the portals of their Synagogue,
No Psalms of David now the silence break,
No Rabbi reads the ancient Decalogue
In the grand dialect the Prophets spake.
Gone are the living, but the dead remain,
And not neglected; for a hand unseen,
Scattering its bounty, like a summer rain,
Still keeps their graves and their remembrance green.
How came they here? What burst of Christian hate,
What persecution, merciless and blind,
Drove o'er the sea — that desert desolate —
These Ishmaels and Hagars of mankind?
They lived in narrow streets and lanes obscure,
Ghetto and Judenstrass, in mirk and mire;
Taught in the school of patience to endure
The life of anguish and the death of fire.
All their lives long, with the unleavened bread
And bitter herbs of exile and its fears,
The wasting famine of the heart they fed,
And slaked its thirst with marah of their tears.
Anathema maranatha! was the cry
That rang from town to town, from street to street;
At every gate the accursed Mordecai
Was mocked and jeered, and spurned by Christian feet.
Pride and humiliation hand in hand
Walked with them through the world where'er they went;
Trampled and beaten were they as the sand,
And yet unshaken as the continent.
For in the background figures vague and vast
Of patriarchs and of prophets rose sublime,
And all the great traditions of the Past
They saw reflected in the coming time.
And thus forever with reverted look
The mystic volume of the world they read,
Spelling it backward, like a Hebrew book,
Till life became a Legend of the Dead.
But ah! what once has been shall be no more!
The groaning earth in travail and in pain
Brings forth its races, but does not restore,
And the dead nations never rise again.*
Updated Oct 23, 2011
The Odlin-Otis House was constructed around 1705. Over the years the house was slowly expanded and modified to add rooms, and it even became a duplex in the 1800s. The Newport Restoration Foundation purchased the home in 1972 and completed restorations in 1976-1977. They returned the house to much of its original form to include an early color.
The original builder of the house is believed to be John Odlin. By 1758 ownership had transferred to Jonathan Otis. Otis was a silversmith from Massachusetts who worked in Newport from 1750 until the American Revolution; he sold the house in 1788.
Updated Oct 23, 2011
We were in Country Kettle Fudge when Liz spotted some Elephant Ears. I personally didn't think they were elephant ears, they were not the ones I was accustomed to seeing. She was in heaven since they looked just like the Elephant Ears should would get at the Jersey shore when she rented a house there. Turns out the sma eplace in Jersey is owned by the owner of Country Kettle Fudge in Newport.
We wound up buying 3 ears at $5. Elephant Ears are a flaky cinnamon sugar round, flat, flaky pastry that's about 68 inches around in diameter. They were incredibly good and I was surprised how different they were from what I'm used to. I liked them so much we stopped for more on our way out of town that Sunday.
Updated Apr 17, 2009
We were trying to find the mansions and just kept turning right off the Interstate, and ended up following Harrison Ave./Ridge Rd. out to Brenton Point. We stopped when we saw the spectacular surf! Two bodies of water must come together here because the waves were crashing perpendicular to the land as well as against the rocks. Beautiful. And to top it off were all these monarch butterflies struggling against the wind to land on the late summer blooms and recharge. This point must be on their migration route. This was definitely one of the highlights of our day.
Written Oct 11, 2006
After Oliver Hazard Perry Belmont died (1908) Alva Erskine Smith Vanderbilt Belmont reopened Marble House. In 1909, she founded the Political Equality League. She had a Chinese Tea House built on the seaside cliffs (right by the Cliff Walk) in 1914, and it was here that she hosted rallies for women's right to vote, such as the International Woman's Suffrage Convention. In 1921, she became president of the National Women's Party.
This picture of the Chinese Tea House was taken in 1970, probably from Cliff Walk before it was moved from the edge of the cliffs to a safer location in 1977.
Alva was interested in architectural design and became a member of the American Institute of Architects. She spent her later years in France and died in Paris in 1933. Marble House (including the Chinese Tea House) was sold to Frederick H. Prince in 1932.
Updated Aug 6, 2005
Located on Goat Island. Take advantage of the amazing views of the harbor and Newport Bridge. Pack a sandwich and chill on the gorgeous green lawn and ocean wall. It's private, but I've been several times and no one has been there to bother me. They hold events like weddings, etc. so if you see a bunch of people, turn the other way. Find Goat Island by driving straight on the road next to "the Gap" clothing store in downtown Newport. Or just ask....
Written May 24, 2004
28-room cedar-shingled cottage located on the East Passage of Narragansett Bay and surrounded by acres of beautifully landscaped gardens.Summer home of the Auchincloss family for four generations
Written Aug 24, 2002
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