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The Towers – a Narragansett Icon

The Towers – a Narragansett Icon

The Towers, once a part of the Narragansett Pier Casino, have long been an integral element of Narragansett. Constructed between 1883-1886, the casino, designed by McKim, Mead & White, was the center of the thriving resort, and almost instantly became the centerpiece of Narragansett’s social activity. The casino was one of America’s most prestigious resorts in its heyday – the 1890s. During a time when 19 resorts graced Narragansett, guests of the casino resort enjoyed beach-going, billiards, tennis, cards, bowling, shooting, boating, and beautiful reading rooms, shops, restaurants, and a theater all on the property.

September 12, 1900 – “the darkest day in the history of the Pier.” The prestigious Narragansett Pier Casino burned to the ground (except for the granite foundation and walls of its magnificent porte-cochere archway, The Towers). The fire broke out in the nearby Rockingham Hotel and eventually consumed most of the village center. In a few hours, the wind-whipped flames desolated the center of town. The shingled casino burned to the ground.

But Narragansett rallied and persevered. On July 8, 1905, a new casino, designed by McKim, Mead & White like its predecessor, opened. And by 1910, The Towers had been renovated. It was severely damaged again by fire in 1965. Around this time, the state of Rhode Island acquired the Towers building and gave it to the town of Narragansett. Since then, the Towers have been restored.

It has been battered cruelly by many nor’easters as well as the devastating hurricanes of 1938, 1954, and 1991 (each of which decimated surrounding structures). On every occasion, the Towers held fast, acquiring an almost-magical reputation for indestructibility – truly Narragansett’s good luck symbol.

The Towers have become one of the state’s most prominent landmarks, and was added to the National Register of Historic Places on November 25, 1969. Today the Towers serve as a beautiful, historic event venue, as well as a key landmark for Narragansett.

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