The following was written by Newport Historical Society.

The citizens of Newport are not strangers to adversity; together we have faced extreme hardships. We are also not strangers to ingenuity; together we have created an incredible place to live.

The 17th century town-founders, escaping death and persecution, banded together to begin a lively experiment that persists today. The citizens of 18th century Newport saw disease, two occupying armies, famine, and mass population exodus – and survived. The citizens of 19th century Newport faced political conflict and economic depression and picked themselves up to begin anew. 20th century Newporters have experienced growth and decline as main economic drivers abandoned the city; and still we moved forward.

Through conflict, moral growth and moral failings, economic highpoints and depressed depths, in diversity, and in spite of prejudice, inequities, differences and disputes, we are all here, together.

At noon on Friday April 17, 2020 listen for the ringing of the Colony House bells on Washington Square as a reminder that we are all in this together!

If you are a church or other institution that would like to join us in the bell ringing, please contact Heather Rockwood,, to be added to our online list!

About the Newport Historical Society

Since 1854, the Newport Historical Society has collected and preserved the artifacts, photographs, documents, publications, and genealogical records that relate to the history of Newport County, to make these materials readily available for both research and enjoyment, and to act as a resource center for the education of the public about the history of Newport County, so that knowledge of the past may contribute to a fuller understanding of the present. For more information please visit

About the Colony House

The Newport Colony House is the fourth oldest statehouse still standing in the United States. It was designed by builder/architect Richard Munday and was built between 1736 and 1739. The construction crew included both workers of both European and African descent. Many important events associated with the shaping of the United States occurred at the Colony House. In 1761, the death of George II and the ascension of George III was announced from the balcony. On July 20, 1776, Major John Handy read the Declaration of Independence from the front steps. The Colony House served as the primary state house of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations from its completion in 1739 until 1901, when the new Statehouse in Providence opened.

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