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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USO 75TH ANNIVERSARY

In World War II, there were three forts on Conanicut Island:  Fort Wetherill, Fort Getty, and Fort Burnside, which included all of what is now Beavertail State Park.  Over 1,000 men and women were stationed at the forts.  With so many service personnel on the island, Jamestown needed more recreational facilities.  The United Service Organizations, Inc., (U.S.O.) built what is now the Recreation Center and dedicated it on February 28, 1942.  After the war ended, the Town of Jamestown bought the building for $30,000.