The Narragansett Pier
Towers & Casino
—Architects: McKim, Mead & White —
The Towers is one of the most highly visible, widely known, and universally cherished landmarks in the state of Rhode Island. It recalls Narragansett Pier’s heyday as one of the foremost seaside resorts of nineteenth-century America, the destination of scores of tourist each summer from throughout the Northeast, the South, and the Midwest. Its picturesque form, monumental scale, and dramatic location create a striking image which symbolizes Narragansett in the minds of thousands of residents and visitors.
This imposing structure was originally only a part of a much larger building: the Narragansett Casino. The Casino was constructed between 1883 and 1886 for the Narragansett Casino Corporation, following designs by Charles F. McKim of the New York architectural firm McKim, Mead & White.
The Casino Corporation was formed by leading summer and year-round residents for the purpose of building and maintaining a gathering place for recreational actives, and social events.
McKim, Mead & White, architects of the earlier Newport Casino and a growing number of stylish cottages in Atlantic coastal resorts, was at the time well on its way to becoming the most prominent and influential American architectural firm of the era. The Narragansett Casino has been recognized by scholars as one of the firm’s finest achievements.
The main building of the Casino including stores (rented out for income), dining rooms, cafes, parlors, a billiard room, a reading room, and an assembly hall used both as a theatre and a ballroom. The Towers served as the monumental main entrance to the Casino, with
After its completion, the Casino changed the tone of Narragansett Pier and became the center of social life for the summer colony. People were expected to appear –and be seen – at lunch or dinner or evening dances. The Casino was popular with well-to-do, fashion conscious visitors. However, those of more modest income or temperament associated the Casino with extravagant pretentious or frivolous behavior.
On 12 September 1900, called by one man “the darkest and saddest day the pier has ever experienced” a great fire started in the Rockingham Hotel, north of the Towers, and swept the Exchange Street area. It destroyed the Casino, leaving only the stone Towers. The ruins were repaired in 1908-9 under the direction of Providence architect J. Howard Adams. The Towers remained vacant until 1924, when it was leased from the Sherry Casino Company and opened as a ballroom. The 1930’s brought the great depression, and the Towers remained vacant until 1963, When a snack bar was opened on the ground floor of the east tower.
The Towers burned again in 1965. The State of Rhode Island
Narragansett Historical Society Sallie Wharton Latimer, President Board of Trustees Leona McElroy Kelley Marjorie J. Vogel Lynne D. Anderson Douglas M Vogel Patricia French Knowles Bethanne Dressel-Hostetter
Dedicated June 11, 1989 The Honorable Claudine Schneider The United States House of Representatives Antoinette F. Downing Chairwoman, Rhode Island Historical Preservation Commission Timothy P. Haxton President, Narragansett Town Council
The National Register of Historic Place, 1969
The 100th Anniversary of the Narragansett District Incorporation, 1888-1988
Location. 41° 25.819′ N, 71° 27.304′ W. Marker is in Narragansett, Rhode Island, in Washington County. Marker is on Ocean Road. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 35 Ocean Rd, Narragansett RI 02882, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 4 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Honor Roll Town of Narragansett World War (approx. 0.7 miles away); Carter Jackson Monument
Categories. • Entertainment • Notable Buildings •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on August 5, 2014, by Sandra Hughes of Killen, Usa. This page has been viewed 348 times since then and 11 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. submitted on August 5, 2014, by Sandra Hughes of Killen, Usa. 8, 9. submitted on August 28, 2015. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.