Newport, Rhode Island, the seat of New-port County. It is 20 miles (32 km) south of Providence on the island of Rhode Island in Narragansett Bay. Newport is a summer resort noted for opulent mansions, music festivals, and yachting. Tourism and light manufacturing are the chief economic activities. Newport and Jamestown bridges link the city with the mainland.
Touro Synagogue (1763), the oldest synagogue in the United States, is a national historic site. The Old Stone Mill is of early origin, and was once believed to have been built by Vikings in the 11th century. Of Newport's many mansions, the most magnificent is “The Breakers,” built in 1895 for Cornelius Vanderbilt by the architect Richard Morris Hunt. (For a picture, The Naval War College and the International Tennis Hall of Fame and Tennis Museum are here.
Newport was settled in 1639 by William Coddington and other religious refugees from Massachusetts. The town became the home of many Quakers, Jews, and others seeking religious liberty. Newport developed as one of the leading ports and slave trade centers in the colonies, but it declined in commercial importance after the American Revolution. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the city was a resort for the very wealthy. Until 1900 Newport was a joint state capital (with Providence). The closing of the Newport Naval Base in 1974 severely hurt Newport's economy.