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Slate Rock monument.

Plymouth Rock of Rhode Island Blown Up Here

Field review by the editors.

Providence, Rhode Island

You've heard of Plymouth Rock in Massachusetts, the Pilgrims' sturdy stepping stone from the Old World onto the New. But you probably haven't heard of Slate Rock in neighboring Rhode Island. For years it ran a close second in both age and popularity to its more famous cousin. Then Rhode Island destroyed it.

Slate Rock was where Roger Williams first set foot on what would eventually be called Rhode Island, after he'd been kicked out of Massachusetts. This was only 16 years after Plymouth Rock, and nearly as important if you value separation of church and state (which Williams did). Massachusetts, however, remained the rock destination of choice for tourists, particularly after it enshrined Plymouth Rock within a fancy neoclassical marble canopy. Rhode Island reportedly decided to do something similar, and in 1877 began clearing land around its rock -- with dynamite. An overzealous charge accidentally blew Roger Williams' rock to atoms.

Rhode Island waited another 30 years before it finally built a rock attraction for tourists. It's a simple monument, marking the exact place where Slate Rock had been, now several blocks from the shoreline. "Below this spot," begins the text on one of its plaques, "then at the water's edge, stood the rock." No mention of the dynamite.

Plymouth Rock of Rhode Island Blown Up Here

Roger Williams Landing Place Monument

Williams St., Providence, RI
Roger Williams Landing Place Monument. I-195 exit 3 westbound. At the end of the ramp turn right onto Gano St. Drive north three blocks and turn left onto Williams St. The monument will be in the little park on the right side of Williams St. The inscription is on the left side of the monument.
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Nearby Offbeat Places

Furnished Tomb of General HawkinsFurnished Tomb of General Hawkins, Providence, RI - < 1 mi.
Big Kodiak BearBig Kodiak Bear, Providence, RI - < 1 mi.
The Gun TotemThe Gun Totem, Providence, RI - < 1 mi.
In the region:
Peter Toth Indian Head, Narragansett, RI - 27 mi.

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