100 - Gallery 1, Stop 1

100 - Gallery 1, Stop 1

Gallery 1, Stop 1: "Founders Hall"

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In 1819, using native fieldstone, the Town of Newport constructed the building you are in. It originally served as the community’s poor farm, and later, as a jail and home for youthful offenders. We are on Coaster’s Harbor Island, where Newport’s original settlers briefly stayed on their arrival in 1639. This building and the island property were transferred to the State of Rhode Island in 1851.

In the early 1880’s, it was turned over to the United States Navy which began the country’s first formal naval enlisted training station here in September of 1881 under the leadership of Commodore, later Admiral, Stephen B. Luce. We’ll share the story of the training center in an exhibit on the second floor.

Luce would go on to establish the Naval War College in this building in 1884. The College today is the world’s oldest operating institution of its kind…offering graduate and specialty education to mid-grade officers from the United States and countries around the world. More about that as your tour continues.