Rocky Point 7 - After the Storm

Saving Rocky Point

In less than a year after the Hurricane of 1938, plans were made to rebuild Rocky Point Park.  In 1939, Thomas F. Wilson and a few others formed an organization that began building a great dining hall large enough to seat 3500, and they restored the mechanical equipment of the huge covered swimming pool. When the project of restoration ran into difficulties there was talk that the park would be divided into house lots.  When this failed, representatives of the petroleum industry sought to use Rocky Point to locate its oil tanks.  The Harringtons rejected this, as they feared it would be detrimental to the beauty of Warwick Neck and, instead, attempted to operate the park on a reduced scale in 1940-41.

Mainly due to restrictions placed upon them by World War II, the Harringtons were forced to curtail their activities and the park was not reopened to any great extent until 1945.  At that time, it was sold to the Studley Land Company.  In 1947, ownership passed to Rocky Point, Inc. under the leadership of Frederick Hilton, Joseph Trillo, and Vincent Ferla.  In 1949, Vincent was joined by his brother, Conrad, who remained with Rocky Point through a number of changes in ownership and was known as “Mr. Rocky Point.”

The big news of the time was that Rocky Point was coming back to life.  The 1938 Hurricane had left eighty "abandoned and battered" acres in its wake and the amusement park hadn't functioned since that time, serving only as a summer camp.  In 1948, shortly after Vincent Ferla, a Providence businessman, acquired the park, the amusement section was opened and many concessions moved in.

Rocky Point's opening on the first Sunday in June 1948 was the cause of a mammoth traffic jam as over 35,000 patrons swarmed into the park.  At 4 p.m., bumper-to-bumper traffic extended along Warwick Avenue to Cranston and the effects were felt as far north as Allen’s and New York Avenues in Providence.



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