Fort Adams State Park


Near the eastern entrance of Narragansett Bay stands one of the oldest and most elaborately engineered coastal fortifications in the U.S. Constructed 1824-57, Fort Adams was named in honor of the 2nd president of the U.S., John Adams. The fort contains a number of features that are uncommon or unique in U.S. military architecture, in large part because the supervising engineer, Lt. Col. Joseph Totten, used the construction project as a field school to train young engineer officers. He also took the opportunity to conduct scientific experiments to develop data about the resistance of native shale, granite, and other materials to enemy fire.

Activity Details

Activity Type:Trips and Destinations
Discipline:Civil
Topic(s):Structures
Grade:K-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12
Time:Full day

Fun Fact:Among Fort Adams' unusual features are underground listening galleries. These dirt-floored tunnels with masonry walls and ceilings led underground to various parts of the exterior earthworks. The purpose of the tunnels was to try to detect the sounds of enemy miners digging under the fortification in hopes of destroying it with explosives.