Colonial America
Things to See & Do in Rhode Island
Touro Synagogue National Historic Site
Located in Newport, Touro Synagogue, dedicated in 1762, is the oldest synagogue in the United States and the only one that survives from the colonial era. The congregation was founded in 1658 by Sephardim, descendants of Marranos who fled the Inquisition in Spain and Portugal and who were themselves seeking a haven from religious persecution in the Caribbean. The synagogue was designed by noted colonial architect Peter Harrison and is considered one of the finest examples of 18th century architecture in America. It was designated a National Historic Site in 1946. Today, it continues to serve an active congregation.
Roger Williams National Memorial
Roger Williams National Memorial commemorates the life of the founder of Rhode Island and a champion of the ideal of religious freedom. Williams, banished from Massachusetts for his beliefs, founded Providence in 1636. This colony served as a refuge where all could come to worship as their conscience dictated without interference from the state. The Memorial is located on a common lot of the original settlement of Providence and includes 4.5 acres of landscaped park.
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