“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
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Rhode Island Facts and Figures

Gleaned from the Historical Marker Database


on February 27, 2020

1876 artwork by Henry Mitchell
via Wikipedia Commons

 Rhode Island ranks 56th among states and provinces with markers in this database. The State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations is a state in the United States of America located in the American Northeast. It is also in the New England region. Rhode Island is some 1 thousand square miles in size with a population of around 1.1 million people. The state is divided into five counties and all of them have entries in this database. In Rhode Island we have discovered historical markers in 33 cities and towns lying in 37 different ZIP Codes.

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How many historical markers are there in Rhode Island? There are least 272 of them, by our count. We have cataloged 248 historical markers and 25 war memorialsóeach individually presented on 268 illustrated, annotated, and searchable pages of the Historical Marker Database. In addition, we are reasonably certain of another 24 historical markers in Rhode Island that we donít yet have, and instead show on our Want List. Our correspondents have been finding and adding hundreds of markers a month to the database from all over the world, so next time you visit this page you will probably find that the numbers here have changed.

The first Rhode Island marker in the database, Wilkinson Mill, was added July 11, 2007. It was photographed in Pawtucket in Providence County and was erected in 1977. The last one added was submitted on August 24, 2019, and titled Address by President Abraham Lincoln. It is in Exeter in Washington County. Keeping in mind that the erection date of many markers in the database is not known, the earliest historical marker we know of in Rhode Island was erected in 1877. It was this one: In the Miery Swamp, and one of our correspondents found it in Bristol in Bristol County on October 31, 2010.

Rhode Island Historical Categories
65 • Colonial Era
41 • Revolutionary War
39 • Waterways and Vessels
35 • Settlements and Settlers
29 • Forts or Castles
28 • Notable Buildings
25 • Industry and Commerce
24 • Patriots and Patriotism
23 • Man-Made Features
22 • Churches and Religion
    ... and more ...

Rhode Islanders donít want to forget their Colonial Era history. How do we know? Because there are more historical markers in the database from Rhode Island about Colonial Eraó65 of themóthan about any other historical category. It is followed by the Revolutionary War with 41 markers.

The first marker added to the database with the Colonial Era category was Nine Menís Misery, added October 12, 2007. It had been erected in Cumberland in Providence County. The last one submitted was submitted on August 26, 2018, and titled The Prophet of Religious Freedom. It had been erected in Providence in Providence County. The earliest marker erected with the Colonial Era category that we have listed was erected in 1877. It is In the Miery Swamp, found in Bristol in Bristol County on October 31, 2010.

What is the most interesting historical marker in Rhode Island? What we know is that The Great Swamp Fight is the most viewed entry in the database from Rhode Island since it was added in 2009. It is located near West Kingston in Washington County. This year so far, the most viewed Rhode Islander entry is In the Miery Swamp.

Counties, Cities and Towns

The Rhode Island county with the most historical markers listed in this database is Newport County, with 110 of them. It is followed closely by Providence County with 101 markers. The Newport area of Newport County has the highest number of markers within its limits, 79. In Providence County the area with the most markers, 83, is Providence.

Historical Markers in These
Rhode Island Counties
110 • Newport County
101 • Providence County
43 • Washington County
11 • Kent County
3 • Bristol County

Checking the database for the city or town in Rhode Island with the most markers we again find Providence at the top of the list with 83 markers in or near it. And Newport also shows up again in next place, just missing out with 79 markers. For the ZIP Code with the most markers itís 02840 at the top of the list with 80 markers in its delivery area. (ZIP Code 02840 is assigned to Newport RI.) It is followed by ZIP Code 02903 with 57 markers. (02903 is assigned to Providence RI.)

Historical Markers Near These
Rhode Island Cities and Towns
83 • Providence
79 • Newport
16 • Jamestown
11 • Pawtucket
9 • Exeter
9 • Westerly
8 • Portsmouth
6 • Coventry
5 • Narragansett
4 • Charlestown
    ... and more ...

Getting back to Newport County, the first marker added to the database from there, The Black Regiment, was added April 14, 2008. It was erected in 1976 in Portsmouth. The last one submitted was uploaded on March 20, 2018, and is titled Newport Casino / International Tennis Hall of Fame, in Newport. The earliest marker erected in Newport County that we have listed was erected in 1885. It was Perry, found in Newport on October 18, 2011.

Latest entry from Rhode Island. Click to go there
By Cosmos Mariner, August 21, 2019
Latest Entry from Rhode Island
“Address by President Abraham Lincoln”

And finally the first, last, and oldest markers from Providence. The first: Bethel A.M.E. Church, was added May 2, 2010. The last: First Baptist Church in America 375th Anniversary added on August 27, 2018. It had been erected in 2013. The earliest marker erected was erected in 1894: Burning of British Taxed Tea, added on June 13, 2012.

Who Puts Up Historical Markers?

There is no organization in charge of erecting official historical markers state-wide in Rhode Island today. A number of counties have erected historical markers on their streets and roads and within their public areas, as have some cities and towns.

Then there are federal government agencies that put up historical markers, especially in national parks and other areas under their jurisdiction. And finally, there are the numerous public and private organizations and individuals that erect markers. Some do this as a continual endeavor, and others once in a while, to mark something, someone, or someplace they find important or interesting. When one of our correspondents comes across one that satisfies our criteria, we add it to the database.

Tourist Attractions? Or Something Off the Beaten Path?

Rhode Island offers both and there is plenty of history to check out. If you live in or are visiting Rhode Island, hit the road and check out places where something of interest once occured, or where famous or infamous people once stood. Our database can help you find some of these places. And perhaps youíll find some we donít know about and will take the time to photograph them and add them to the database. Happy Hunting!

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