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Washington Square: Newport’s Historic Center Still Draws A Crowd

Washington Square: Newport’s Historic Center Still Draws A Crowd

Thu, 21 Oct 2010 21:01:56NEWPORT –– Washington Square is in the heart of Colonial Newport, and home to some of the city’s most notable historic sites, many visible from Eisenhower Park.

Colony House, Newport, RI

In 1776, the Declaration of Independence was read from a balcony of the Old Colony House, Rhode Island’s first State House, built in 1739 by architect-builder Richard Munday.
The Brick Market, built in 1772 at 127 Thames St. as a town marketplace, today is the home of The Museum of Newport History.

The White Horse Tavern, constructed before 1673 at 26 Marlborough St., is one of the oldest tavern buildings in the United States.

The Friends Meeting House, at Marlborough and Farewell streets, was built in 1699. Quakers had first arrived in Newport in 1657.

Nearby, at 72 Touro St., the Touro Synagogue, the first synagogue in the country, was built in 1759.
The Florence K. Murray Judicial Complex, a brick Colonial Revival built in 1927, overlooks the Eisenhower Park and a statue of Oliver Hazard Perry.

Washington Square was Newport’s original town square, and the city has been leading an effort to improve the neighborhood for the past several years. The next phase will begin in the spring, according to Bill Riccio, director of public services for the City of Newport. He said the cost of all the improvements will be between $3.5 million and $4 million.

Washington Square has been improved with new cobblestones, blue slate sidewalks and antique lighting, and there have been infrastructure improvements, mainly financed with federal grants, Riccio said.

The Jane Pickens Theater, at 49 Touro St., was built in 1835 as the Zion Episcopal Church, designed by Bristol architect Russell Warren.
It was turned into a theater in 1919 and in 1970, it was renamed for Jane Pickens, a singer, actress and Newport socialite.

The theater is currently available for sale at a price of $1.425 million.

Four residential houses in the Washington Square neighborhood were listed for sale last week, ranging in price from $277,200 for a bank-owned house built in 1721 at 6 Coddington St., with three bedrooms and two full baths, to $649,000 for a new, 2,200-square-foot house to be built on Barney Street.
The listings include the 1759 Peleg Barker House at 11 Clarke St., which is zoned for commercial use and priced at $595,000, and an 1880 Colonial at 44 Clarke St., priced at $519,000.
POPULATION: (Newport, 2000) 26,475
MEDIAN HOUSE PRICE: (Newport, 2009) $360,000
cdunn@projo.com

While visiting historic Newport, consider making The Spring Seasons Inn your vacation getaway bed and breakfast.

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