Salve Regina University will host move-in day for the Class of 2020 (can you believe it?) this weekend and classes will get underway next week.

Students heading into their first year of studying at college this year are mostly 18 and were born in 1998 (again, can you believe it?). Since they are 18 or soon will be, we decided to share 18 things that happened in Newport the year the incoming class was born!

Here’s a look at some of the things that were happening in Newport in 1998;

1 – The 1998 Newport Festival Lineup took place August 7th – 9th and included names like Tom Rush, Lyle Lovett, Nanci Griffith
Alison Krauss, Indigo Girls and Ani Difranco. Two days tickets for the festival at Fort Adams State Park cost $65.

2 – The 1st Annual Newport International Film Festival took place June 2nd – June 7th and included award winners An Ordinary Mission, Cuba 15, The Hunt and Anima.

3 – On November 19th, Jefferson Starship performed at the Newport Blues Cafe.

4 – Newport Vineyards acquires the Perry Farm next to the winery on Route 138 through a partnership between the Aquidneck Land Trust and The State of Rhode Island Division of Agriculture. This farm was targeted for 80 house lots and today is protected from development and planted with 9 varieties of vinifera wine grapes.

5 – There was another festival besides Newport Folk Festival and Newport Jazz Festival, the Gibson Guitar Festival took place in July, George Thorogood, Steve Morse, Charlie Hunter, Derek Trucks and Bo Diddley. It would bring two stages to the grounds of Fort Adams State Park for the first time.

6 – An NECBL expansion team, the Rhode Island Gulls (now the Newport Gulls) was founded in Cranston in 1998.

7 – President Bill Clinton visited Newport, RI in December of 1998 and toured the Water Facility and spoke at Fort Adams State Park.

8 – According to the Los Angeles Times Wide World Of Weird – “Ancient Skull Found?: As legend has it, a man named Scott Williams was digging around his Newport, R.I., yard when he unearthed a stunning specimen: a partially chewed hominid skull. Williams immediately sent the skull to the Smithsonian Institution, urging it to have the bone carbon-dated and even proposing a scientific name, “Australopithecus spiff-arino.” The Smithsonian wrote back, gently pointing out that the ancient skull appeared to be composed mostly of plastic. Worse, it was probably the head of a Barbie doll–specifically, Malibu Barbie, circa 1956.”

9 – Diana Krall  and Arturo Sandoval were among the musicians to play the 1998 Newport Jazz Festival.


10 – According to Northeast Collaborative Architects – “In 1998, a vision for a new building framing the western edge of Touro Synagogue’s property was initiated by Ambassador John L. Loeb who is the founder of the George Washington Institute for Religious Freedom. The solution was a 3,000 square-foot, two-story limestone building with copper roofing, monumental arched entry and portico balcony overlooking the synagogue’s historic edifice. The project cost $3.4 million.”

11 – In 1998 Newport, became the home port for the USS Saratoga. The 1000 foot-long carrier has since been sold for scrap.

12 – The Providence Journal-Bulletin reports officials in Newport, Rhode Island, waived the noise ordinance for the season’s remaining high school football games after neighbors complained of noise at a local field. According to the article, cheerleaders, dancers and the band can continue to make noise at Friday night football games at Toppa Field. The City Council last night waived a noise ordinance at the field for the varsity squads’ remaining three games. Mayor David S. Gordon proposed the resolution after a handful of residents called police to complain about too much noise coming from the night games. The city is also repositioning speakers at the field so they broadcast only to crowds, not to neighbors, said Councilman Dennis F. McCoy. The measure to waive the ordinance passed unanimously.

13 – The National Museum of American Illustration opened in 1998 in one of Newport’s historic mansions, Vernon Court, with adjacent grounds designed by landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted.

14 – Meet Joe Black is release in 1998, – Rich in production values, the film was made with a lavish budget of $90 million, mostly to illustrate the extravagant “first-rate” life style of the privileged rich in Newport, Rhode Island and in a Manhattan triplex penthouse with a pool. It received mixed reviews and was initially a flop, until overseas showings boosted its totals.

15 – In 1998, Dorrance Hamilton, an heir to the Campbell’s Soup fortune, purchased Surprise Valley Farm and founded the SVF (Swiss Village Farm) Foundation.

16 – Jimmy Connors and Herman David were inducted into the International Tennis Hall Of Fame.

Ryan Belmore is the Owner and Publisher of What'sUpNewp.  Belmore has been involved with What’sUpNewp since shortly after its launch in 2012, proudly leading it to be named Best Local News Blog in...