Jamestowners & Their Military Neighbors

Living in the Center of a Bay Surrounded with Military Activity

This summer’s exhibit in the Jamestown Historical Society museum at 92 Narragansett Avenue is Jamestowners and the Military on Narragansett Bay.  The new exhibit builds on last year’s history of the forts on Jamestown to show in greater detail how living in the center of a bay with so much military activity affected the day-to-day life of Jamestown residents.

Where Jamestowners Work

In the early 20th century, the Naval Torpedo Station on Goat Island in Newport and its torpedo testing facility on Gould Island – which is part of Jamestown – employed approximately 20 percent of Jamestown’s work force.  Seaplanes, sometimes moored at Potter’s Cove, dropped test torpedoes in the East Passage.  At the beginning World War II, army and navy installations occupied over 400 acres in the town.

Museum Schedule

Visit the museum this summer and learn more about Jamestown’s military past and what Jamestowners did during World War II. 

The museum is open on weekends from 1 to 4 in the afternoon until June 19. The museum opens officially for the summer season on June 19.  Throughout the summer, it will be open from 1 to 4 each Wednesday through Sunday. 

From Labor Day to Columbus Day, October 10, we return to the weekend-only schedule. 

The society welcomes anyone interested in being a docent at the museum and greeting our visitors.

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Library Exhibit – June 2017

Decorative Tiles in the JHS Collection


Eighteen tiles are on display at the library.  Six of them were created by Constance Armbrust.  They celebrate both the Episcopal Church, St. Matthew’s (three tiles) and the Catholic Church, St. Mark’s, as well as, Beavertail Light House and a view of the East Ferry area.

We do not know who created four of the tiles: Town Hall -1883, the Library between 1972 and ’93, the horse drawn Steam Fire Engine and the Windmill in 1787.  If you know anything about who might have done these, we would love to know.

There are two tiles by Evelyn Rhodes; The Jamestown Bridge 1940-1990 and the Mackeral Cove Beach Pavilion 1928-1938. We have one tile each by artists  A.J. Shepardson, (map of the island), Frank Caswell, (Ferryboat – Govenor Carr), Don Miller, (Beavertail Light,) J.P. Champlin, (Central Baptist 1867- 1976),  June Webb, (Conanicut Marina),  and Jillian Barber, (Newport-Pell Bridge).