Rhode Island Recreation Facilities
Rhode Island officially the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States. It is the smallest in area, the eighth least populous, and the second most densely populated of the 50 U.S. states. Its official name is also the longest of any state in the Union. Rhode Island is bordered by Connecticut to the west, Massachusetts to the north and east, and the Atlantic Ocean to the south via Rhode Island Sound and Block Island Sound. It also shares a small maritime border with New York. The state capital and most populous city in Rhode Island is Providence.
On May 4, 1776, the Colony of Rhode Island became the first of the Thirteen Colonies to renounce its allegiance to the British Crown, and it was the fourth among the newly independent states to ratify the Articles of Confederation on February 9, 1778. The state boycotted the 1787 convention which drew up the United States Constitution and initially refused to ratify it; it was the last of the original states to do so, on May 29, 1790.
Rhode Island's official nickname is "The Ocean State", a reference to the large bays and inlets that amount to about 14% of its total area. Rhode Island covers 1,214 square miles (3,144 km2), of which 1,045 square miles (2,707 km2) are land.
In recent years, the presence of the word plantation in the state's name became a sufficiently contested issue that the General Assembly voted on June 25, 2009 to hold a general referendum determining whether "and Providence Plantations" would be dropped from the official name. Advocates for excising plantation asserted that the word symbolized an alleged legacy of native disenfranchisement for many Rhode Islanders, as well as the proliferation of slavery in the colonies and in the post-colonial United States. (Rhode Island abolished slavery in 1652, but the law was not enforced and, by the early 18th century, it was "the epicenter of the North American slave trade", according to the Brown Daily Herald.) Advocates for retaining the name argued that plantation was simply an archaic synonym for colony and bore no relation to slavery. The referendum election was held on November 2, 2010, and the people voted overwhelmingly (78% to 22%) to retain the entire original name.
Rhode Island is nicknamed the Ocean State and has a number of oceanfront beaches. It is mostly flat with no real mountains, and the state's highest natural point is Jerimoth Hill, 812 feet (247 m) above sea level.
A rare type of rock called Cumberlandite is found only in Rhode Island (specifically in the town of Cumberland) and is the state rock. There were initially two known deposits of the mineral, but it is an ore of iron and one of the deposits was extensively mined for its ferrous content.
Rhode Island is vulnerable to tropical storms and hurricanes due to its location in New England, catching the brunt of many storms blowing up the Eastern Seaboard. Some hurricanes that have done significant damage in the state are the 1938 New England hurricane, Hurricane Carol (1954), Hurricane Donna (1960), and Hurricane Bob (1991).
In 1636, Roger Williams was banished from the Massachusetts Bay Colony for his religious views, and he settled at the top of Narragansett Bay on land sold or given to him by Narragansett sachem Canonicus. He named the site Providence, "having a sense of God's merciful providence unto me in my distress." Eventually, it became a place of religious freedom where all were welcome.
Brown University was founded in 1764 as the College in the English Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. It was one of nine Colonial colleges granted charters before the American Revolution, but was the first college in America to accept students regardless of religious affiliation.
Rhode Island was also heavily involved in the Industrial Revolution, which began in America in 1787 when Thomas Somers reproduced textile machine plans which he imported from England. He helped to produce the Beverly Cotton Manufactory, in which Moses Brown of Providence took an interest. Moses Brown teamed up with Samuel Slater and helped to create the second cotton mill in America, a water-powered textile mill. The Industrial Revolution moved large numbers of workers into the cities, creating a permanently landless class who were therefore also vote less. By 1829, 60% of the state's free white males were ineligible to vote. Several attempts were unsuccessfully made to address this problem, and a new state constitution was passed in 1843 allowing landless men to vote if they could pay a $1 poll tax.
IN 1842 the legislature drafted a state constitution, removing property requirements for American-born citizens but keeping them in place for immigrants, and retaining urban under-representation in the legislature.
During the American Civil War, Rhode Island was the first Union state to send troops in response to President Lincoln's request for help from the states. Rhode Island furnished 25,236 fighting men, of whom 1,685 died. On the home front, Rhode Island and the other northern states used their industrial capacity to supply the Union Army with the materials that it needed to win the war. The United States Naval Academy moved to Rhode Island temporarily during the war.
In 1866, Rhode Island abolished racial segregation in the public schools throughout the state.
Rhode Island has abolished capital punishment, making it one of 19 states that have done so. Rhode Island abolished the death penalty very early, just after Michigan, the first state to abolish it, and carried out its last execution in the 1840s. Rhode Island was the second to last state to make prostitution illegal. Until November 2009 Rhode Island law made prostitution legal provided it took place indoors. In a 2009 study Rhode Island was listed as the 9th safest state in the country.
In 2011, Rhode Island became the third state in the United States to pass legislation to allow the use of medical marijuana. Additionally, the Rhode Island General Assembly passed civil unions, and it was signed into law by Governor Lincoln Chafee on July 2, 2011. Rhode Island became the eighth state to fully recognize either same-sex marriage or civil unions. Same-sex marriage became legal on May 2, 2013, and took effect August 1.
Rhode Island has some of the highest taxes in the country, particularly its property taxes, ranking seventh in local and state taxes, and sixth in real estate taxes
A Pew survey of Rhode Island residents' religious self-identification showed the following distribution of affiliations: Roman Catholic 43%, Protestant 27%, Jewish 1%, Orthodox 1%, Jehovah's Witnesses 1%, Buddhism 1%, Mormonism 0.5%, Hinduism 0.5%, Islam 0.5% and Non-religious 23%. The largest denominations are the Roman Catholic Church with 456,598 adherents, the Episcopal Church with 19,377, the American Baptist Churches USA with 15,220, and the United Methodist Church with 6,901 adherents.
The Jewish community of Rhode Island is centered in the Providence area, and emerged during a wave of Jewish immigration predominately from Eastern Europeans shtetls between 1880 and 1920. The presence of the Touro Synagogue in Newport, the oldest existing synagogue in the United States, emphasizes that these second-wave immigrants did not create Rhode Island's first Jewish community; a comparatively smaller wave of Spanish and Portuguese Jews immigrated to Newport during the colonial era.
Health services are Rhode Island's largest industry. Second is tourism, supporting 39,000 jobs, with tourism-related sales at $4.56 billion (adjusted to inflation) in the year 2000. The third-largest industry is manufacturing. Its industrial outputs are submarine construction, shipbuilding, costume jewelry, fabricated metal products, electrical equipment, machinery, and boatbuilding. Rhode Island's agricultural outputs are nursery stock, vegetables, dairy products, and eggs.
Rhode Island's taxes were appreciably higher than neighboring states, because Rhode Island's income tax was based on 25% of the payer's federal income tax payment. Former Governor Donald Carcieri claimed that the higher tax rate had an inhibitory effect on business growth in the state and called for reductions to increase the competitiveness of the state's business environment. In 2010, the Rhode Island General Assembly passed a new state income tax structure that was then signed into law on June 9, 2010 by Governor Carcieri. The income tax overhaul has now made Rhode Island competitive with other New England states by lowering its maximum tax rate to 5.99% and reducing the number of tax brackets to three. The state's first income tax was enacted in 1971.
The East Bay Bike Path stretches from Providence to Bristol along the eastern shore of Narragansett Bay, while the Blackstone River Bikeway will eventually link Providence and Worcester. In 2011, Rhode Island completed work on a marked on-road bicycle path through Pawtucket and Providence, connecting the East Bay Bike Path with the Blackstone River Bikeway, completing a 33.5 miles (54 km) bicycle route through the eastern side of the state. The William C. O'Neill Bike Path (commonly known as the South County Bike Path) is an 8-mile (13 km) path through South Kingstown and Narragansett. The 14-mile (22.5 km) Washington Secondary Bike Path stretches from Cranston to Coventry, and the 2-mile (3 km) Ten Mile River Greenway path runs through East Providence and Pawtucket.
Notable firsts in Rhode Island
Rhode Island has been the first in a number of initiatives. The Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations enacted the first law prohibiting slavery in North America on May 18, 1652.
Slater Mill in Pawtucket was the first commercially successful cotton-spinning mill with a fully mechanized power system in America and was the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution in the US. The oldest Fourth of July Parade in the country is still held annually in Bristol, Rhode Island. The first Baptist Church in America was founded in Providence in 1638. Ann Smith Franklin of the Newport Mercury was the first female newspaper editor in America (August 22, 1762). Touro Synagogue was the first synagogue in America, founded in Newport in 1763.
The first act of armed rebellion in America against the British Crown was the boarding and burning of the Revenue Schooner Gaspee in Narragansett Bay on June 10, 1772. The idea of a Continental Congress was first proposed at a town meeting in Providence on May 17, 1774. Rhode Island elected the first delegates (Stephen Hopkins and Samuel Ward) to the Continental Congress on June 15, 1774. The Rhode Island General Assembly created the first standing army in the colonies (1,500 men) on April 22, 1775.
On June 15, 1775, the first naval engagement of the American Revolution occurred between a Colonial Sloop commanded by Capt. Abraham Whipple and an armed tender of the British Frigate Rose. The tender was chased aground and captured.
Later in June, the General Assembly created the first American Navy when it commissioned the Sloops Katy and Washington, armed with 24 guns and commanded by Abraham Whipple, who was promoted to Commodore.
Rhode Island was the first Colony to declare independence from Britain on May 4, 1776.
Pelham Street in Newport was the first in America to be illuminated by gaslight in 1806.
The first strike in the United States in which women participated occurred in Pawtucket in 1824.
Watch Hill has the nation's oldest flying horses carousel that has been in continuous operation since 1850.
The motion picture machine (a machine showing animated pictures) was patented in Providence on April 23, 1867.
The first lunch wagon in America was introduced in Providence in 1872.
The first nine-hole golf course in America was completed in Newport in 1890.
The first state health laboratory was established in Providence on September 1, 1894.
The Rhode Island State House was the first building with an all-marble dome to be built in the United States (1895–1901).
The first automobile race on a track was held in Cranston on September 7, 1896. The first automobile parade was held in Newport on September 7, 1899 on the grounds of Belcourt Castle.
The first NFL night game was held on November 6, 1929 at Providence's Kinsley Park. The Chicago (now Arizona) Cardinals defeated the Providence Steam Roller 16–0.
In 1980, Rhode Island became the first state to decriminalize prostitution indoors, but indoor prostitution was outlawed again in 2009; see Prostitution in Rhode Island.
Rhode Island is the only state to still celebrate Victory over Japan Day. It is known locally as "VJ Day" or simply "Victory Day"
Rhode Island Recreational Facilities Listing
Arboretums & Botanical Parks
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