If you’re driving around Ocean Drive, one of the best stopping points along the way is Fort Adams State Park. With beautiful views of downtown and Narragansett Bay, this Fort is filled with history and culture.
Construction on the Fort that is there today did not begin until 1824. Prior to this, a smaller fort, with 17 cannons, was used during the War of 1812. Made of granite, brick and shale, the new Fort Adams was constructed over thirty-three years and cost over three million dollars. It was built as a major coastal defense system, in a location that was able to shelter ships when violent storms hit, and was considered a proper site for the Navy. When first completed it was able to mount 468 guns and house 2,400 men during war times.
In order to protect from land and sea attacks, Fort Adams was built with various tenailles, bastions and redoubts to protect from land attacks and bomb proof casemates, housing two cannons, helped protect from sea attacks. Over time, with advances in artillery, strengthening the fort was necessary. In the 1880’s, improvements to the outside of the fort, including new batteries, occurred, while internal improvements occurred around 1906.
Fort Adams was active during the Civil War, Indian Wars, Mexican War, Spanish-American War and both World Wars. It was most active during World War II when the entire state was a military district, manufacturing various war materials and having a chain of coastal defenses. The army used the Fort until 1953 when the Navy took charge. The land and building surrounding the Fort were used for Naval Housing and a summer White House for President Eisenhower.
You can tour the Fort year round. The tour showcases the following: the Officers and family quarters, a scenic overlook to view the Harbor and Bay, and underground tunnels. The tour teaches guests about Fort Adam’s past, with American History and military culture, and discusses the architecture and future plans for restoration. For more information, click here.