11 Things You Didn't Know About The History Of Rhode Island
Founded in 1790, Rhode Island has a massive amount of history. You may think you know everything about our quirky little state’s past, but there may be a few interesting facts and firsts you weren’t aware of. Here are 11 facinating things from the history of our state that you might not have known about.
1. The first $1 United States note was issued in 1869, featuring a portrait of George Washington painted by Rhode Islander Gilbert Stewart in 1796.
2. Rhode Islanders can be proud we were the first state to officially abolish slavery, as early as 1652.
3. On April 30, 1952, the first toy commercial ever aired on television was for Pawtucket's own Mr. Potato Head. The iconic toy is still produced at Hasbro in Pawtucket, although of course now he is plastic instead of a real potato.
To see the whole commercial, check out this video from YouTube user VintageTVCommercials
4. In 1774, Newport hosted the first circus performance in the United States.
5. The first synagogue in the United States opened its doors in 1763. Touro Synagogue in Newport is still in operation today.
6. On December 20, 1790, the first American cotton mill began operation in Pawtucket. Samuel Slater invented the first water-powered cotton mill, and is credited with starting the Industrial Revolution.
7. On August 28, 1904, the first person in the U.S. was thrown in jail for speeding. Judge Darius Baker sentenced the offender for going a whopping 15 miles per hour through the streets of Newport.
8. The first outdoor polo match was held in Newport in 1876.
9. The first street in the United States to be powered with gas was Pelham Street in Newport. The first gas lamp was installed at One Pelham East by David Mellville in 1845.
10. In 1876, The Flying Horse Carousel opened in Watch Hill. It is the oldest in the United States and still going!
11. The first accidental nuclear explosion took place in Wood River in 1964. A worker at United Nuclear Corporation Recovery Systems accidentally put too much Uranium in a tank, resulting in an explosion and his demise.
We’ve got bragging rights to a lot of pretty awesome firsts here in Rhode Island, and some very interesting history. Did you learn anything new about our state?
OnlyInYourState may earn compensation through affiliate links in this article. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.