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Fort Adams

Fort Adams Aerial View

 

 

 

Location: Newport, RI  Map

Tel. (401) 847 2400

Open: sunrise- sunset daily

 

 

 

History of Fort Adams

Fort Adams is a defensive fortress situated in Newport, Rhode Island in United States. It is a massive historic stronghold abandoned for more than half of a century. Many parts of this fortress were not touched by reconstruction and it still keeps its original feeling of past decades.

 

First coastal fortifications were erected here in a single night of April 6th 1776 during American Revolution. These were simple earthworks that protected Colonial American soldiers and their artillery. They didn't wait too long for an enemy. On April 7th at 5 am 24 gun frigate H.M.S. Glasgow with a hospital ship attempted to make it inside a harbour. Colonel Richmond of the Rhode Island militia drove the enemy away with 35 shots fired from cannon. Just three days later on April 10th this point became again crucial in attacking and driving away two ships of the British Royal Navy, H.M.S. Scarborough and H.M.S. Cimetar. This allowed the state of Rhode Island to remain free of British rule and proclaim independence on Mayth 1776.

 

More permanent military fortifications of the current Fort Adams were constructed here in July 4th, 1799 and designed by an architect Major Louis de Tousard of the Army Corps of Engineers. It held only 12 cannons for its defences. The first commander of the citadel was Captain John Henry. A construction of a massive began in 1824 and lasted for about three decades. A postcard pictured on the left is its appearance in the last years of its use. It was completely abandoned in 1953 by the army, although it as inhabited for a while. Commanding officer's quarters once housed President Dwight D. Eisenhower who came here during his summer vacations from 1958 to 1960. Today it open to the public and it is under protection of Fort Adams State Park. Newport Jazz Festivals and Newport Folk Festival are occasionally held here.

 

 

In 1953, the Army transferred ownership of Fort Adams to the Navy, which still uses some of the grounds for family housing. In 1965, the fort, and most of the surrounding land, was given to the state of Rhode Island for use as Fort Adams State Park. In 1976, Fort Adams was declared a National Historic Landmark, in recognition for its distinctive military architecture, which includes features not found in other forts of the period. In 1994, the Fort Adams Trust was formed, which provides guided tours at the fort and oversees ongoing restoration work at the fort.

President Dwight D. Eisenhower lived at the former commanding officer's quarters (now called the Eisenhower House) during his summer vacations in Newport in 1958 and 1960.

From the early 1950s until the mid-1970s Fort Adams fell victim to neglect, the elements and vandalism.

Through the efforts of State Senator Eric O'D. Taylor, in the 1970s Fort Adams was cleaned up and open for tours and was used for the filming of the PBS television miniseries The Scarlet Letter. The tour program was cancelled about 1980 due to budget cutbacks by the State of Rhode Island.

Since 1981, the Fort Adams grounds have been host to the Newport Jazz Festival, and the Newport Folk Festival.

In the early 1990s, Fort Adams was subjected to an environmental remediation program which made the fort safe for public access. About this time, the Fort Adams Trust was formed to oversee public programs and restoration of the fort.

In 1995 the Fort Adams Trust began giving tours at the fort from May to September. Since that time, the fort has had several areas of the fort restored as well as having its land defenses cleared of overgrowth.

In 2012, the park was the official venue for the America's Cup World Series in Newport.

 

 

 

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