Conanicut Friends Meeting
The Conanicut Friends Meeting was established by the Newport Quaker Monthly Meeting in 1684. The original meetinghouse was considerably north of the present meetinghouse, which lies 100 yards south of the windmill on Windmill Hill. The current meetinghouse is a simple rectangular building, built at the same time as the windmill in 1787 and shingled in a manner similar to the larger structure.
At the begining of the 19th century, the Quaker community in Jamestown became too small to sustain the meeting and the building fell into disuse. When the Meetinghouse was reopened in the early 1900's for summering Philadelphia Quakers, it was afforded an "indulged" status to offer worship and Quaker services without the responsibilities of committee work (Finance, Ministry and Council, etc) that is expected in year-round Religious Society of Friends' Meetings.
The size of our Meeting has waxed and waned over the years, but the Jamestown Quaker community hopes to keep the Meetinghouse and the spirit of Quakerism in silent worship in that simple place as a part of the life of the island, as well as in its history.
Preservation as an Historic Building
The meetinghouse was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972, and in 1976-1977, with matching funds from the Rhode Island Preservation Society, the Conanicut Meeting repaired the building. Further restoration was completed in 1997 with a grant from the Champlin Foundations. In September that year, title to the meetinghouse was transferred to the Jamestown Historical Society, with the provision that the meetinghouse would be open to the Conanicut Meeting for worship during the summers.
During 2017, the Meetinghouse is open 1-4pm on June 24 and 11am-4pm on September 23 (Smithsonian Museum day). Quaker meeting is every Sunday from May 7 to October 15 at 10:30 and is open to all. Feel free to walk the grounds unless a meeting for worship is in session.