Jamestown Historical Society

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The View from East Ferry

On the 75th anniversary of the Recreation Center in 2017, the JHS mounted a permanent exhibit at the building celebrating the event.  The building was built in 1942 by the USO as a place where the 1,000+ service personnel stationed in Jamestown could gather. It was purchased after the end of World War II by the town. 

Photographs show what the East Ferry looked like at various times in the island’s past. An 1880s picture of the Gardner House, the hotel that stood on the Rec Center site from 1883 to 1941, contrasts with a 1942 snapshot of the brand new USO. .Aerial views from the 1930s and 1950s show the waterfront with and without the Rec Center building.


Pictures of seven of the ferries that sailed from the ferry wharf in front of the Rec Center are posted along the west wall. Quarterboards from the ferryboats Beaver Tail, Conanicut, and Hammonton hang on the walls along with a large wooden schedule showing the times that the boats left from Jamestown and Newport.

Become a JHS Member

Help preserve & share the history of Jamestown, RI. Maintain the Museum, the Windmill, the Meetinghouse and the Conanicut Battery. Preserve the Society’s collection of documents, photographs and artifacts.