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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Jamestown in Newport County, Rhode Island — The American Northeast (New England)
 

Prospect Hill

Fire Control Stations

 

—Modern Coastal Defenses —

 
Prospect Hill Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bryan Simmons, June 2012
1. Prospect Hill Marker
Inscription. This area along the crest of Prospect Hill was an integral part of the Narragansett Bay coastal defense system from 1916 to 1945. From here, military observers had an unobstructed view of the approaches to the Bay, as well as East and West passages and the mine fields laid out in each during times of war.

Along this 400-foot path at an elevation of 125 feet are six in-ground stations designed as observation posts and orientated generally south towards Rhode Island Sound. When these posts were in use the surrounding landscape was entirely clear of trees so observers had an unobstructed view of the water to the east, west, and south. The posts were manned by two to four soldiers and accessible only by the ladder through an opening in the roof.

Sightings instruments were used to take bearings on targets, which were communicated by telephone to the plotting rooms of gun batteries at forts within the Bay. Combining this data with similar information from the other observation posts, the plotters were able to aim their guns for accurate fire upon approaching enemy ships.

As originally designed, positions 1, 2, and 3 functioned as Command Stations. Positions 4, 5 and 6 served as observation sites for the gun batteries at Fort Wetherill and Fort Getty on Conanicut Island, Fort Greble on Dutch Island, and Fort Adams in Newport.

Over

Remains of the Main Command Post image. Click for full size.
By Bryan Simmons, June 2012
2. Remains of the Main Command Post
the years the functions of the stations changed. For example, the structure before you served as the Fort Commander's Station for nearby Fort Getty in 1921, as the overall Harbor Defense Command Post in 1934, and as the seat of the Harbor Mine Command in 1943.

During World War II, only positions 1 and 6 were in active use. From here, personnel of the Harbor Mine Command, observing both the East and West Passages, were in direct communication with related facilities across the island at Fort Wetherill. During that war, the 243rd Coast Artillery Regiment of the Rhode Island National Guard manned the majority of the coastal defense site in the Narragansett Bay area.
 
Location. 41° 28.834′ N, 71° 23.59′ W. Marker is in Jamestown, Rhode Island, in Newport County. Marker can be reached from Battery Lane. Click for map. Follow Battery Lane to the gravel parking lot you will see two paths (they make a large loop) take the left path a couple hundred feet and you will see the marker on the right. Marker is in this post office area: Jamestown RI 02835, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Conanicut Battery (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); Memorial to the Veterans of Jamestown (approx. 1.5 miles away); Fort Wetherill

A Close up of one of the Observation Posts image. Click for full size.
By Bryan Simmons, June 2012
3. A Close up of one of the Observation Posts
(approx. 1.8 miles away); Harbor Mine (Torpedo) Complex (approx. 1.8 miles away); History of the Dumplings (approx. 1.8 miles away); Oil Storage Building (approx. 2.2 miles away); History of the Beavertail Light Station (approx. 2.2 miles away); Fog Signal Building (approx. 2.2 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Jamestown.
 
Categories. War, World IWar, World IIWaterways & Vessels
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Bryan Simmons of Attleboro, Massachusetts. This page has been viewed 347 times since then and 4 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on , by Bryan Simmons of Attleboro, Massachusetts. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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