FORT ADAMS STATE PARK
Situated at the mouth of the Newport Harbor, Fort Adams State Park offers an exceptional panoramic view of both Newport Harbor and the East Passage of Narragansett Bay. The park offers a wide range of activities including salt water bathing, fishing, boating, soccer, rugby, and picnicking. Fort Adams is perhaps best known for its annual summer concerts when the Jazz Festival, and the Folk Festival draw thousands to enjoy the music and beautiful surroundings.
The State is still actively restoring the Fort but at a much slower pace with the property serving as a major public access to Narragansett Bay for thousands to enjoy. With recreation being a key factor in the Newport tourist industry, the Department of Environmental Management has concentrated on improving the park's resources by providing a more comprehensive program of activities geared towards the Newport Area. Located within the parks boundaries are the Fort Adams Sailing Association offering a sailing facility with sailboat instruction, rental, drysail storage and hoist operations available to the public. The Museum Of Yachting has displays centered around "Yachting in Newport- The Golden Age", a show of photographs, models, costumes, boats and yachting memorabilia from the turn of the century. Also located at Fort Adams are two professional soccer fields, one rugby field, one saltwater beach staffed with lifeguards, two boat ramps, picnic areas with 40 tables, fishing piers and one sailing regattas building with lockers and showers.
Construction of the Fort was begun in 1824 and took nearly 30 years to complete. Irish immigrant stone masons helped build it. The Fort was used by the U.S. Naval Academy during the Civil War, reverting back to the Army when the Naval Academy moved to Pelham St. in Newport. The Navy again took over the Fort in 1951.... Near the eastern entrance of Narragansett Bay, about three miles southwest of Newport, stands one of the oldest and most elaborately constructed forts in the United States. Its' massive wall of masonry with casemate ports for an armament of 500 guns of the type used for coastal defense in 1820-50, attracts the attention of all who enter this eastern passage of the bay.
As early as 1700, the strategic importance of Narragansett Bay was recognized and a fort was located on Goat Island as a protection for the town of Newport. This was done by recommendation of the Lords of Trade of His Britannic Majesty. This fort was named Fort Anne, then Fort George, and later Fort Liberty.
On April 29, 1776, the town of Newport unanimously voted to enter into the defense of the town, and three days later, on May 2, a large body of inhabitants repared to Brenton's Point, the present location of Fort Adams, and built a fort which commands the entrance to the harbor. On October 25, 1779, the British, who had occupied the town of Newport and all of the island, burned the barracks at Brenton's Point before evacuating Rhode Island.
After the Revolutionary War the fort at Brenton's Point was unoccupied for military purposes until, in anticipation of war with France, Congress took measures for the construction of seacoast fortifications to defend Narragansett Bay. In this plan a permanent work was to be provided for at Brenton's Point, the construction of which was left to Major Louis Tousard.
On July 4, 1799 ushered in with a Federal Salute of thirteen guns, the company of John Henry of Artillerists and Engineers-U.S.Army, entered the fort marching at the head of a column composed of the Major General of the State of Rhode Island and his military staff, the Newport Ancient Artillery, the Newport Guards, and a large concourse of patriotic citizens. The gateway leading to the battery not having been completed, Major Tousard had constructed a temporary arch decked with wreaths of evergreen and over its keystone was a tablet inscribed:
"The Rock on which the Storm will Beat" The fort was named in honor of President Adams, who approved of the plans for defending our seacoast.