Ferry Meadows neighborhood built to boost tourism

Ferry Meadows neighborhood built to boost tourism

Area is focus of society’s historic house tour Saturday

BY ROSEMARY ENRIGHT AND SUE MADEN


Maintop, 12 Union St., was built in 1887 as part of the Gardner House hotel complex. This picture was taken circa 1916.
Maintop, 12 Union St., was built in 1887 as part of the Gardner House hotel complex. This picture was taken circa 1916.
Just 378 people lived on the island in 1870 — mostly farmers — and the population was shrinking.

Although steamboats had been traversing Narragansett Bay for more than 25 years, the only ferries to Jamestown depended on the wind. So, the town decided it needed steam ferries to survive, which led to the Jamestown & Newport Ferry Company in 1872. The town retained 51 percent of the stock and sold the rest.

John Howland, whose farm included the land south of Narragansett Avenue between the waterfront and Green Lane, traded his seaside property for 5 percent of the budding company. That’s where the ferry wharf was built. Howland then sold the land southwest of the wharf to a consortium of men who thought cottages near the ferry landing would attract summer visitors. The men laid out Union, Lincoln, Friendship and Brook streets. They platted 70 lots along them, each about 5,000 square feet, and called the development “Ferry Meadows.”


Betty, 17 Conanicus Ave., is one The Three Sisters, a trio of shingled cottages built by Patricky Horgan to resemble the Queen Anne design. The homes were named after Horgan’s daughters. This picture was taken in 1976. 
JAMESTOWN HISTORICAL SOCIETY
Betty, 17 Conanicus Ave., is one The Three Sisters, a trio of shingled cottages built by Patricky Horgan to resemble the Queen Anne design. The homes were named after Horgan’s daughters. This picture was taken in 1976.
JAMESTOWN HISTORICAL SOCIETY
Hotels, rental cottages and summer homes sprouted. Stephen Gardner, the first captain of the steam ferry, purchased land on the north side of Union Street and built the village’s first hotel there in 1883. Patrick Horgan, a Newport entrepreneur, bought 11 lots along Conanicus Avenue. He erected the Thorndike Hotel in 1889 between Union and Lincoln streets, then built three rental cottages on the next block.

Every house on Saturday’s tour was built on the old Howland farm from 1886-97.

If you want to go

What: Jamestown Historical Society annual house tour

When: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday

Where: 12 Union St., 10 Lincoln St., 26 Friendship St., 17 Conanicus Ave.

Cost: $20. Tickets are available in advance from the Jamestown Historical Society’s website. They also can be purchased Saturday at 12 Union Ave.

Questions: Call 423- 0784

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