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Harbor Area

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From Washington Square to Memorial Boulevard, Thames Street to Bellevue Avenue

Newport's harbor area (known locally as the Historic Hill Section) includes the original core of Newport, on a broad slope rising from the heart of its harbor (and now from the tourist hubbub along Thames Street). It is bounded by Thames Street (sensibly pronounced as it is spelled), Touro Street to the north, Bellevue Avenue to the east, and Memorial Boulevard to the south. Across its middle, only roughly parallel to Thames, runs Spring Street, named for the spring close by the site of the Colony House that provided the city's first water supply. Between the major arteries crossing and bounding the section, narrow streets run with the slope, attempting a gridiron configuration, but one or more sides of the rectangle are invariably skewed—the skewing making subtle shifts in what is conceptualized as straight and thereby animating the views. Here and there minor cross streets make it through one or two blocks before giving up. Overall, the aspect of the harbor area is that of the Point, and so is its history of colonial prosperity, then gradual shabbiness and dilapidation, and, finally, rediscovery and restoration. Where the Point is an enclave, a little separated from the city, the Hill is bounded by tourists and traffic, mostly moving around, but also filtering through it. Again, this section of Newport is best seen by walking, and in season; to tour by car is virtually impossible. So the routing ignores the direction of a few one-way streets.

Writing Credits

Author: 
William H. Jordy et al.

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