Rocky Point 5 New attractions

One of the most important stops along the old Warwick Railroad line was at Rocky Point, the greatest amusement park in New England during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  The park drew such great crowds that the R.I. Suburban Railroad added a spur to the tracks to take merrymakers directly to the park.  In 1900, according to a document from the Office of the Clerk of the Common Pleas Division of the Supreme Court within or for the County of Kent, a strip of land, 50 feet wide, was used by the Rhode Island Suburban Railway Company to run tracks to Rocky Point.  The tracks started on the northern boundary line of land formerly belonging to Anne B. F. Woods, daughter of Governor John Brown Francis, and extended for 585 feet taking up a total of 21,200 square feet on to Rocky Point.  The stop became so significant to the line that in the early 1900s it became the car barn for the trolleys on that line.  Long time trolley conductor, William P. Delacour told Providence reporter Caleb M. Burbank in 1961 that after he traveled through Shawomet, River View, Longmeadow and Grant’s station, “he turned on the bay ward switch to Rocky Point Junction and Highland Beach and then to Col. Harrington’s famous Rocky Point.”

Tens of thousands of patrons of the trolley found the ride to Rocky Point as exhilarating and fun-filled as the stay at the amusement center.  Rocky Point, thanks to the Warwick Railroad and the trolley, became accessible to everyone, young and old, rich or poor and the park prospered, as did the trolley line.

In time, the automobile and bus brought about an end to the trolley car.  By the 1930s, streetcar companies found the long lines to the suburbs were not economically feasible and the streetcars were operated only on an intra-city basis in Providence.

Many of the patrons of Rocky Point in the early 20th century recall some of the highlights of those years at the park.  One individual whose memories helped recall those years was the late Joseph Fitzpatrick.

Joe Fitz remembers

Joe Fitzpatrick, who later was the stage manager at the Theatre at Rocky Point, remembers the fine bathing beach between the baseball field and the dining hall and has especially fond memories of the Rocky Point Theatre.  He recalled that the theatre had five dressing rooms for its performers and many of the top vaudeville stars performed at the park.  Rocky Point was able to take advantage of the Providence ordinance that barred vaudeville in that city on Sundays.  Top name acts on the Keith circuit, which came to Providence's Keith-Albee Theatre played at Rocky Point, as Warwick had no such ordinance.

The Movies

In the years preceding World War I, the motion pictures were beginning to come into their own. As Rocky Point usually had the newest films, people came from miles around.  It was not uncommon for chauffeur-driven Rolls Royce or Packard limousines to drive up with their passengers on a regular basis. Admission was 10 cents, but the best seats in the center aisle cost an additional nickel.


The Rock Café at Rocky Point.  Since the mid-nineteenth century, Rocky Point has meant many things to many people.  It has met the needs of those on a Sunday school picnic or those seeking more formal dining at the Rock Café.

From the Henry A. L. Brown Collection.


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