Rocky Point 4 The trolley brought crowds

The years 1914 and 1915 were especially severe for fires in Warwick.  In 1914, Rocky Point was again the scene of a serious blaze as six buildings were destroyed.  The Conimicut Volunteer Company quickly responded and, despite being hampered by falling electric wires, was able to save a number of buildings on the amusement park's Midway.

Base ball for all ages

In addition, Rocky Point was growing rapidly as an amusement center and it continually added new attractions, even making provisions for "base ball," (always spelled as two words in the nineteenth century), the new craze sweeping the country.  These early games were anything but pitchers' duels as many of the scores were in double-digit numbers.

By the closing years of the nineteenth century, the "new game," introduced by the Knickerbockers Club in New York, had become popular in Warwick.  Within a few years, there were over 200 teams playing amateur ball and many of them made their way to Rocky Point.

The clang of the trolley

Most of the patrons of the park in the early 20th century were coming by trolley.  There was often extreme overcrowding on the cars, very poor heating in the winter and inadequate ventilation in the summer.  Despite these shortcomings, the trolley provided an escape from the bonds that had tied mill workers earlier.  With inexpensive and relatively fast transportation, workers no longer had to live in the vicinity of their employment and could travel further to seek higher wages and better working conditions.  In addition, the trolley provided the means for workers to leave their hot, crowded homes in the summer for a day of pleasure at Warwick's shore resorts.  This demand for transportation resulted in a 1/2 mile line built from Grant's Station, below Longmeadow, to Rocky Point, and another from Buttonwoods to Westcott.  In the summers, "bloomers," or open cars, were in use and thoroughly enjoyed as a great adventure by large crowds who looked forward to a twenty-minute ride on the trolley from Arctic to Oakland Beach via Tollgate Road and Apponaug.

When the trolley was at its peak, there was a natural alliance between the proprietors of the trolley lines and the owners of the amusement parks.  The electric streetcar lines very often advertised the attractions of the parks and, on occasion, contributed their own personnel to help build and maintain the resorts.  The parks, in return, encouraged people to come by trolley and often included trolley schedules. The powerful drawing cards of the concerts, clambakes, dances and popular amusements increased the need for more trolley cars in the summer. Two of the resorts that prospered greatly by the trolley in the early twentieth century were Rocky Point and Oakland Beach.


The Shore Dinner Hall in 1870.  Louis H. Humphrey is the gentleman with the high hat.  Note the price of a Shore Dinner

Henry A.L. Brown collection


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