Watch Hill is an affluent coastal village and census-designated place in the town of Westerly, Rhode Island. It sits at the most-southwestern point in all of Rhode Island. It came to prominence in the late 19th and early 20th century as an exclusive summer resort, with wealthy families building sprawling Victorian-style "cottages" along the peninsula. Watch Hill is characterized by The New York Times as a community "with a strong sense of privacy and of discreetly used wealth," in contrast with "the overpowering castles of the very rich" in nearby Newport.
Watch Hill Historic District
Watch Hill Harbor
|Area||629 acres (255 ha)|
|Architectural style||Late 19th and 20th Century Revivals, Bungalow/Craftsman, Late Victorian|
|MPS||Lighthouses of Rhode Island TR (AD)|
|NRHP reference #||85001948 |
|Added to NRHP||September 5, 1985|
The area was occupied by Niantic Indians in the 17th century, led by Harman Garrett. Colonists used the hill as an important lookout point during the French and Indian War and the Revolutionary War, hence the community's name. Some landmarks in the village include the Watch Hill Lighthouse, the first of which was built in 1745; 1880's The Flying Horse Carousel, the oldest operating suspended-horse carousel in the United States and a National Historic Landmark; the Ocean House hotel; and the 1916 Olympia Tea Room.
One point of interest in Watch Hill is the ruins of Fort Mansfield, an old coastal artillery post situated at the end of Napatree Point. It was one of a series of such forts constructed to guard the eastern entrance to Long Island Sound as part of the coastal defense network for New York City during the Spanish–American War. It was in operation between 1901 and 1909, then was closed down over the course of several years. The land was sold in 1926, and all the government buildings were demolished during the winter of 1928–29. The three concrete gun emplacements were left behind and remain there to this day, offering tunnels and underground rooms to explore. Occasionally at low tide, some remains can be seen of the Battery Connell.
Fort Road connected Watch Hill to Fort Mansfield, but the Hurricane of 1938 wiped it out and destroyed 39 houses, the Yacht and Beach Clubs, and a bathing pavilion. Fifteen people were killed and others survived by clinging to wreckage, as they were swept across the bay to Connecticut. Several breachways were created in Napatree Point after the hurricane passed. To this day, Sandy Point remains an island, rather than the northern extension of Napatree. The shortened Napatree Point is now a barrier beach without any roads or houses. It is open to the public, and offers bird watching and surf casting.
Watch Hill sits at the most southwestern point of Rhode Island on a stubby peninsula jutting into Block Island Sound. It includes a smaller peninsula known as Napatree Point, a 1.5-mile (2.4 km)-long sandy spit that extends west from the Watch Hill business district, and Sandy Point, which was once attached to Napatree Point. Both Napatree and Sandy Point shelter Little Narragansett Bay and have made Watch Hill a popular harbor around which the business district has grown.
Watch Hill is a two-hour drive from Boston and a three-hour drive from New York City. On clear days, there are views of Montauk, New York to the south and Block Island, Rhode Island to the southeast.
According to The New York Times, Watch Hill was historically home to "a select group of wealthy families" whose lives revolved around "golf and tennis at the Misquamicut Club, bathing and yachting at the Watch Hill Yacht Club, and tea and cocktails at Ocean House and Watch Hill's other grand hotels." Wealthy families built sprawling Victorian-style "cottages" along the peninsula. The village was known as "a somewhat staid and family-oriented community compared to glittering Newport, Rhode Island's other, more famous summer colony." Famous guests to the seaside resort included Albert Einstein, Douglas Fairbanks, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., Groucho Marx, David Niven and Jean Harlow. Stephen Birmingham described Watch Hill as "an Andorra of Victoriana on the New England shore."
For several generations, the community has maintained its "old-money summer colony" atmosphere, even as traditional summer communities have developed, namely Nantucket, Martha's Vineyard, and the Hamptons. New England traditions are evident in the popular hobbies of its residents, such as golf, sailing, and tennis, as well as the "privacy-loving, multigenerational families tucked into century-old shingled houses", with the majority being passed down in families for several generations. The New York Times notes that "Watch Hill impresses visitors with a strong sense of privacy and of discreetly used wealth—the rambling, old-fashioned, turreted and gingerbreaded Victorian summer houses with piazzas and softly rolling lawns have little in common with the overpowering castles of the very rich in Newport, a place rarely mentioned in Watch Hill even though it is barely 30 miles distant."
The waterfront was once lined with huge Victorian hotels. However, fire and hurricanes destroyed almost all during the 20th century. The two remaining hotels are the Ocean House and the Watch Hill Inn; both went through major renovations during the 2000s. The Ocean House was originally opened in 1868; it was torn down in 2005, then completely rebuilt and reopened in 2010. The Ocean House today consists of both hotel rooms and condominiums. It is the only Forbes Five-Star and AAA Five Diamond Hotel in Rhode Island and has been described by The New York Times as a place which "conjures up another age, when women wore white gloves to tea and golf was a newfangled pastime." Celebrities have holidayed at the hotel, including Hugh Jackman and Regis Philbin.
The village is listed as a census-designated place. Watch Hill Historic District is a 629-acre (255 ha) historic district in the village that is listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. As a state-charted Fire District (1901), the Watch Hill area is authorized to tax residents to fund their volunteer fire department, but the bulk of property taxes go to the town to fund municipal services and schools.
Notable current and former residents of Watch Hill include:
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The Association of Fundamental Baptist Churches in the Philippines (AFBCP) is an organization guiding cooperative ministries of fundamental Baptists on the islands of the Philippines.
The Association of Fundamental Baptist Churches shares a common early history with the Convention of Philippine Baptist Churches. Both bodies are an outgrowth of the first mission work on the islands. The work began in 1900 with Eric Lund (a Swedish missionary working with the American Baptist Missionary Union) and Braulio Manikin (a Filipino converted during Lund's work in Spain) on the island of Panay. Neither national organization actually existed at the time of the split.
In 1927, Dr. Raphael C. Thomas was told to give up making evangelistic trips and concentrate his work solely to the hospital in Jaro. This Dr. Thomas refused to do, choosing rather to resign from his work with the American Baptist Foreign Mission Society and return to the United States. In August of that year, a group met in Watch Hill, Rhode Island at the invitation of Marguerite Doane (1868–1954; daughter of hymn writer William Doane). Out of this meeting came a new agency for sending and supporting missionaries - the Association of Baptists for Evangelism in the Orient (now Association of Baptists for World Evangelism). Dr. Thomas returned to the Philippines in 1928, settling in Manila. The first church established by ABEO and Thomas was the First Baptist Church of Manila.
World War II brought much devastation to Baptist missionary work in the Philippines, and much reorganization was required. The Association of Fundamental Baptist Churches was formed in 1948. A Philippine Association of Baptists for World Evangelism was organized in 1957 for the purpose of sending missionaries to Borneo. They now have about a dozen missionaries in southeast Asia.
The Association of Fundamental Baptist Churches and the Association of Bible Believing Churches of the Philippines reconciled at a convention held in 1997. Together, they have over 2000 churches in the Philippines. Bethel Baptist Hospital is a non-profit institution affiliated with the Association. The Association participates in the International Partnership of Fundamental Baptist Ministries, and is a member of the Far Eastern Council of Christian Churches, and the International Council of Christian Churches. Rev. Arleen D. Fidel as of 2004, serves the body as chairman.County Route 48 (Suffolk County, New York)
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The National Weather Service Boston/Norton, Massachusetts is a local office of the National Weather Service (NWS), run under the auspices of the NWS' Eastern Region. This Weather Forecast Office (WFO) is responsible for monitoring weather conditions throughout most of Southern New England. The Southern New England Weather Forecast Office provides warning and forecast services for most of Massachusetts, Northern Connecticut, all of Rhode Island, and Cheshire and Hillsborough counties in Southern New Hampshire. However, Cheshire and Hillsborough counties in New Hampshire was transferred to the NWS WFO in Gray, Maine effective on December 3, 2014 at 8 AM EST. Besides public weather services, WFO Norton (BOX) provides marine, aviation, fire weather, and hydrological forecast services. Additional hydrologic information is provided by the co-located Northeast River Forecast Center (NERFC).
Although it serves Boston and the surrounding areas, the WFO is actually located at Norton, a city in Bristol County, which is located around 40 miles (64 km) south of Boston.
Public warnings and forecasts are issued for thirty-eight "zones" (which are counties or portions of counties) across portions of New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and all of Rhode Island. Warnings are issued for a wide range of phenomena that include tornadoes, severe thunderstorms, flash floods, coastal floods, high winds, and winter storms. Public forecasts cover a range from the next couple of hours to the next seven days.
The WFO BOX also issues marine forecasts, warnings, and advisories for the coastal waters from the Merrimack River, Massachusetts to Watch Hill, Rhode Island.
The aviation community is also served by the WFO BOX. In addition to Logan International Airport, this WFO prepares aviation forecasts for eight other airports across Southern New England.
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Route 78, also known as the Westerly Bypass is a two-lane arterial boulevard and expressway between Stonington, Connecticut to Westerly, Rhode Island. The route is about 4.6 miles (7.4 km) long and begins at Connecticut Route 2 in Stonington, crossing into Rhode Island at the Pawcatuck River, where it continues as an expressway to U.S. Route 1 in Westerly. The route was constructed in 1979, after a sixteen-year delay. The designation was to become part of the Orient Point–Watch Hill Bridge, but this plan was later dropped. The route was given the memorial name of Veterans Way in 2004.Russell McVinney
Russell Joseph McVinney (November 25, 1898—August 10, 1971) was an American prelate of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as Bishop of Providence from 1948 until his death in 1971.Sandy Point Island
Sandy Point Island (more commonly referred to as Sandy Point) is a 35-acre island in Little Narragansett Bay, lying mostly in Westerly, Rhode Island and partly in Stonington, Connecticut. Once an extension of Napatree Point, Sandy Point is now a mile-long island that serves as an important nature preserve and recreation site. Sandy Point is the westernmost piece of land in the state of Rhode Island.Tina Barney
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The third Revenge was a schooner in the United States Navy during the years preceding the War of 1812.Watch Hill
Watch Hill may refer to:
in EnglandWatch Hill (Cockermouth), a 254 m Marilyn and Wainwright Outlying Fell near Cockermouth in the Lake District
Watch Hill (Whitehaven), a 172 m hill near Whitehaven in the Lake District
Watch Hill Castle, a medieval fortification in Greater Manchesterin the United StatesWatch Hill, Rhode Island
Watch Hill, New YorkWatch Hill Light
The Watch Hill Lighthouse in Watch Hill, Rhode Island has served as a nautical beacon for ships since 1745, when the Rhode Island colonial government erected a watchtower and beacon during the French and Indian War and Revolutionary War. The original structure was destroyed in a 1781 storm, and plans were discussed to build a new lighthouse to mark the eastern entrance to Fishers Island Sound and to warn mariners of a dangerous reef southwest of Watch Hill.
President Thomas Jefferson signed an act to build the lighthouse in 1806, and construction was completed in 1807. The first lighthouse stood 35 feet (11 m) tall.
In 1827, a rotating light was installed to differentiate it from the Stonington Harbor Light in Connecticut. Erosion forced it to close in 1855 and move farther away from the bluff edge. The next lighthouse opened in 1856 and remains as the present structure, standing 45 feet (14 m) tall.
The steamer Metis crashed off Watch Hill in 1872, killing 130 people. In 1873, lighthouse keeper Captain Jared Starr Crandall was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal for rescue operations involving the Metis. In 1879, Capt. Crandall's widow Sally Ann (Gavitt) Crandall became the first woman lighthouse keeper there. A United States Life-Saving Service station was built next to it where it operated until the 1940s, but it was destroyed in 1963.
In 1907, the steamer Larchmont collided with a schooner, killing 200 people four miles from the lighthouse. The Hurricane of 1938 caused severe damage to the structure. The Leif Viking ran aground a few hundred feet from it in 1962; there were no injuries, although the ship was stranded for nine days. The light was automated in 1986 and leased to the Watch Hill Lightkeepers Association.Weekapaug, Rhode Island
Weekapaug is a census-designated place in southern Washington County, Rhode Island, part of the town of Westerly, Rhode Island.William Howard Doane
William Howard Doane (February 3, 1832 – February 23, 1915) was a manufacturer, inventor, hymn writer, choral director, church leader and philanthropist. He composed over 2000 church hymns. More than seventy patents are credited to him for innovations in woodworking machinery. His philanthropy led to the renaming of the Granville Academy, as the Doane Academy, a boys’ and girls' private preparatory school associated with Denison University in Granville, Ohio, where he was a major benefactor.
Municipalities and communities of Washington County, Rhode Island, United States
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