"Number, Please" Switchboard Telephone OperatorsLeft to right: Nancy Peters, Shirley Whitehead, Maxime VonShade Clark, Jennie Clarke, Ellen "Midge" Matoes Wright, Eva VonShade, Genevieve Matoes Currie, Bess Sheehan, Millie Cullen, Harriet Beers, Dorothy Matoes Nunes....
Governor Carr pennant from the maiden voyage, February 1927Above the Ferry Room door in the Jamestown Museum is the pennant flown on the Governor Carr on the ferryboat’s maiden voyage in February 1927. The Governor Carr carried passengers and vehicles across the East...
Manuel Nerona's Ferry MailboxNewport IIManuel Neronha Sr. was born in 1907 and came to Jamestown as a child. As soon as he was old enough, he went to work for the Jamestown & Newport Ferry Company. Except for a few years in the 1940s, he worked on the Jamestown...
Historical Collection & Archives
Ferry Boats & Bridges
Getting to Conanicut Island is important to Jamestown. Ferryboats were in service for over 300 years. The first bridge to connect Jamestown was built across the West Passage in 1940. The Newport-Pell bridge across the East Passage in 1969. A large part of the collection is the history of the ferryboats and
effects of the bridges.
Jamestown Summer Resorts
The Resort Era began with the introduction of the steam ferries in 1873. Hundreds of visitors came each summer escaping the congested cities looking for accommodations in hotels, rental cottages, summer camps and boarding houses. Items in our collection include signs, menus, hotel account books, over 1000 photographs of the summer “cottages” and hotels.
Our collection of Jamestown postcards roughly span the years 1900 to present day. The importance of postcards cannot be under estimated as it gives us a wealth of knowledge about how our neighborhoods and town looked and may be in some cases, our only record.
Colonial records include the original signed pre-purchase agreement among the men who acquired the islands from the Narragansett, a bill for the building of the second Beavertail Lighthouse in 1755, several Quaker marriage contracts, and documents about the town’s preparations for the American Revolution.
Until the late 20th century, the military – sensitive to its strategic location in Narragansett Bay – maintained forts and other installations on the island. Flags, signs, and records of the use of local forts for detention of prisoners of war, as well as photographs of the military at the various installations, record the federal government’s influence.
Papers and periodicals in the local history collection at the Jamestown Philomenian Library are included in the catalog. Programs from events, records of student awards, and articles about real estate transaction and artistic endeavors give insight into the public life of the town.