Hunting for abandoned places in Rhode Island? You’re in the right place. Below are 15 of my favorite abandoned places across the tiny, yet historic state.
Abandoned Places In Rhode Island
1. Fort Wetherill
President Grover appointed the Endicott Board in 1855. It was responsible for determining whether the United States’ coastal defenses were up to the mark. It was made up of members of the Army, Navy, and civilians. Their findings were unfavorable. The Endicott Period began as a result of this discovery, during which various coastal defenses were built across the country. In this chronology, Fort Wetherill was built on the location of the former Fort Dumpling.
Many of the sites are gated off, however it appears that this is primarily for appearance, as paths lead to fence holes that are rarely repaired. Due to all of the water-related events in the summer, the park is popular and crowded, but in the off-season, one can explore almost unabated. The Fort’s interior is currently closed to the public.
Since Fort Wetherill is now a state park, this is one of the few abandoned places in Rhode Island that is completely legal to explore.
2. Enchanted Forest Amusement Park
On August 15, 1955, the “Enchanted Forest” amusement park in Ellicott City, Maryland, opened its doors. Envision a 50-acre plot of land dedicated to myths and legends!
The park was packed with various concrete constructions, attractions, and characters to entertain guests. The park was inspired by well-known children’s rhymes and stories. Slides, animatronic figures, a small petting zoo, and a display of antique cars were among the attractions. Every summer, roughly 300,000 people visited the once-popular attraction.
The park was totally shut down by the early 1990s. Nature’s rules were the only ones that were in play. Cinderella’s castle was abandoned in the middle of the forest, broken.
The Enchanted Forest theme park’s remaining sculptures have been relocated from their original location. They’re presently at Clark’s Elioak Farm in Ellicott City, at 10500 Clarksville Pike. The park site today consists primarily of rubble and the ruins of a fake volcano beside a lake, which has also been mostly demolished.
Despite the decay, the Enchanted Forest is one of the most unique abandoned places in Rhode Island, with plenty of nature overtaking what’s left behind.
3. Fort Mansfield
Adrian Block, a Dutch navigator, gave Napatree Point its name in 1614. Because of its highly wooded appearance, he named the short land spit protruding out from Watch Hill “Nap of Trees” after sailing up Long Island Sound (which was completely torn away in the Great Gale of 1815).
The southernmost point of continental Rhode Island is Napatree. The 1.5-mile peninsula comprises a barrier beach that was previously home to a well-armed coastal defense facility at the turn of the twentieth century, as well as a small colony of summer cottages along the dune crest facing the ocean between the 1920s and 1930s. Napatree is particularly known for a sad loss of life during the hurricane of 1938.
The still brooding, slowly disintegrating remnants of the Fort Mansfield cannons at the end of the point, some tagged with graffiti and subject to the continuous impacts of nature’s reclamation by wind and water, provide a quiet experience for those strolling the paths of Napatree Point today.
The Watch Hill Conservancy and the Watch Hill Fire District work together to safeguard the land’s integrity, collaborating with government agencies to keep an eye on the endangered birds that make the point home. Volunteers have labored to maintain the fortifications’ ruins on a regular basis. The Fire District has also put up fencing and taken other efforts to prevent access to the ruins.
4. Crook Point Bascule Bridge
Dawson, a coal town in the early 1900s that was abandoned after two tragic mining explosions killed hundreds of people, has only one road in and out. The cemetery is the town’s only remaining relic, and the small dirt road leads to it.
The victims of the mining catastrophes in 1913 and 1923, many of them young immigrants seeking a better life in the United States, are buried in this lovely resting place. Hundreds of skewed white crosses and rusted iron gates litter the land at the base of various buttes.
The bridge is held in high regard by the general public, and it is acknowledged as a landmark. It’s arguably one of New England’s most photographed bridges. Unlike previous bridges that have been decommissioned and then dismantled, this one appears to have won over the hearts and minds of the locals.
The Creek Point Bridge is one of the easier-to-find abandoned places in Rhode Island. The bridge towers over the river and is easily visible from the nearby road.
5. Belton Court
Belton Court is a historic estate on Middle Highway in Barrington, Rhode Island that has been abandoned. Frederick Stanhope Peck, a merchant and Rhode Island political figure, had the 55,000 square-foot estate erected as his country retreat. Belton Court was constructed in 1905 and became the home of the Zion Bible College in 1985. The site was sold to a developer when Zion Bible College moved out in 2008, but it hasn’t been touched in recent years.
The mansion is now covered in graffiti and shattered glass, while the dorms and property have deteriorated. The land is monitored by the Barrington Police Department, and it is not open to the public. Melon Court is one of the more popular abandoned places in Rhode Island, hence the increase in police presence.
6. The Superman Building
The Superman Building, also known as the Industrial National Bank Building, is the highest structure in Providence and Rhode Island. The 428-foot structure was constructed in 1927 and was designed in the fashionable Art Deco style of the period. On October 1, 1928, the building became available for rent.
For many years, the building was a popular destination, and in 1998, Bank of America purchased it and became the primary tenant. The property was sold in 2008, and Bank of America did not extend its lease in 2012.
The structure has been unoccupied since April 2013. The structure has extensive deterioration and is in grave danger. In recent years, there have been several events and excursions held in the structures. The Superman Buildings is one of the most unassuming abandoned places in Rhode Island, not many people would think an entire skyscraper could be vacant.
7. Pawtucket-Central Falls Train Station
The Pawtucket/Central Falls station is a decommissioned railroad station in the cities of Pawtucket and Central Falls, Rhode Island. New Haven Railroad trains used to stop at the station, which was built in 1915 and inaugurated in 1916. There are two island platforms and four courses in this game.
The station structure was decommissioned in 1959 due to its deterioration. The platforms remained open after the station closed until 1981, when a new station in Attleboro, MA was built to service the area.
The station is not open to the public, and a new project is being planned for the site. Despite the plans, the site is still in a state of decay, and offers great photographic opportunities.
8. Providence River Crane
The Providence River Crane is one of Rhode Island’s newer abandoned structures. For many years, the 114-foot crane barge sat in the Providence River, but it was neglected. The barge was inspected by the Coast Guard in 2014, and it was determined that it needed to be repaired and that it had the potential to sink. In 2017, the barge and a portion of the crane did sink.
Mark Ginalski, the crane barge’s owner, refused to take action and avoided any fines related to the crane barge’s maintenance and removal. Ginalski died in 2020, but the submerged crane barge in the Providence River still exists.
Because it is only a few dozen yards off-shore, the upper half of the crane can be seen from the banks of the Providence River. The crane, like many other aging urban infrastructures in Rhode Island, will remain in the river for the foreseeable future.
9. Rocky Point Amusement Park
Rocky Point Park was an amusement park in Warwick, Rhode Island, on the Narragansett Bay shore. Rocky Point was in business from 1847 to 1994.
The amusement park was a popular family destination since it featured a variety of rides, including two roller coasters, as well as numerous food sellers, a music space, and other amenities. Rocky Point’s financial status deteriorated in the early 1990s, and it closed in 1997. Many of the rides were auctioned off after the event ended.
In 2011, a state park was established on the waterfront land. Beautiful views, walking trails, green space, and a few abandoned vestiges of old rides may all be found in the current state park.
10. Brenton Point Stables
The Bells, formerly one of Newport’s most opulent homes, now remains in decay near Brenton Point State Park on The Ocean Drive in Newport, Rhode Island.
The mansion, once known as The Reefs, was constructed in 1876 for copper magnate Theodore Davis. The Budlong family bought the house after he died in 1915. When the Budlongs divorced in 1928, the house became a point of contention in their divorce, and it was never occupied again.
During WWII, gunnery soldiers who manned anti-aircraft gun emplacements were accommodated at the home. In 1961, the house was set on fire and demolished in 1963.
Brenton Point Park’s Brenton Point Stables is located near the back of the park. Brenton Park is currently a popular spot for kite flying. Huge sea monster kites float gently in the breeze as you walk through them. It almost looks like a scene from a film.
This is the first time you’ve ever seen kites like this. A tiny truck is parked nearby. It appears to be a food truck that has been modified to look like a kite rental vehicle.
All that is left today is a deteriorating stone stable and carriage house. On public park property, the deteriorating structures can be found. Since the stables are on public property, its among the more popular abandoned places in Rhode Island.
11. The Milk Can
In 1931, “The Milk Can” was an ice cream shop with the same name. The thirty-two-foot-tall bottle was constructed at a time when every roadside company was looking for a unique approach to encourage passing motorists to stop and spend money; a time when contemporary zoning and signage rules hadn’t yet stifled ambitious entrepreneurs’ creativity.
This was referred to as “roadside vernacular architecture” in the past. This type of roadside architecture is known as “Mimetic architecture,” which refers to structures that are designed to resemble other structures.
In 1947, Joseph Mariani bought the building from Charles Plante. Mr. Mariani expanded the firm to include quick-service items such as burgers and fried clams. In 1950, he erected a kitchen ell and canopy, and in 1960, he added a patio. When Mr. Mariani’s wife died in 1968, he was unable to concentrate on his business. In the 1980s, the RIDOT planned to use the land it sat on for the Route 99 exit ramp, therefore the building sat derelict.
It is now in ever-worsening condition, and any preparations for rehabilitation appear to have come to a halt. However, with fresh development along the nearby stretch of roadway, there is still hope for the historic structure.
12. Black Point Ruins
The Davis family built this 21-room home in 1895, nestled between Scarborough Beach and Black Point. It had five bedrooms, a kitchen with a laundry room and pantry, living rooms, and servants’ quarters.
Perry Davis, the family patriarch, had made a fortune marketing a product called “Perry Davis’s Vegetable Pain Killer,” a mixture of opium and alcohol that claimed to cure cholera, colic, dysentery, and a variety of other ailments. This painkiller is thought to be the first to be advertised on a national level as a treatment for chronic pain.
After 40 years, the property was sold to the Castiglione brothers, who transformed the mansion into Cobb’s by the Sea, an expensive restaurant. A boiled lobster would set you back $1.75, and fillet mignon would set you back $2.25.
The house was sold again in 1952, but this time it was left abandoned, which attracted vandals and arsonists.
The mansion was demolished after three fires. Finally, the Department of Environmental Management bought the land in 1974. All that is left today are the stone ruins of the outer construction.
Of all the abandoned places in Rhode Island, Black Point ruins is among the most beautiful. Its got an excellent view of the waterfront and is a popular place for both explorers and photographers alike.
13. Bridge Mill Power Plant
The Bridge Mill Power Plant, located at 25 Roosevelt Avenue in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, is a historic hydroelectric plant. On the west side of the Seekonk River, it is a red brick building with portions that are two and three stories tall. A conduit that delivers water to the facility from the Pawtucket Falls Dam is obscured by an ashlar granite retaining wall.
The facility is divided into three sections: a gatehouse that regulates the flow of water into the powerhouse, which houses five turbines. When the water levels were too low for hydroelectric power generation, a boiler house contained a steam generation facility that was utilized to create power. Built in 1893, this is likely Rhode Island’s best-preserved 19th-century hydroelectric power station.
Gravity Renewables purchased Bridge Mill Power Plant in 2014 and added it to its portfolio of hydropower assets in New England. The falls still provide electricity to almost 600 houses. Although it is now privately owned, its still a cool building to check out if you’re in the area.
14. Battery Tousard
Fort Getty is a town park on Conanicut Island in Narragansett Bay near Jamestown, Rhode Island. It served as a military fort from 1900 to World War II. The site was later acquired by the Town of Jamestown, who opened it as a park, principally a campground.
History The building of Fort Getty began in 1901 to protect Narragansett Bay’s West Passage as part of the Narragansett Bay Coast Defenses (renamed Harbor Defenses in 1925). Colonel George W. Getty, who served in the Mexican-American War, the American Civil War, and afterward, was honored with the fort’s name. The fort’s three gun batteries were finished by 1905, but were not recognized until 1910 for an unknown reason.
They were Battery Tousard (305 mm) with three 12-inch M1900 guns on disappearing carriages, Battery House (152 mm) with two 6-inch M1900 guns on pedestal mounts, and Battery Whiting (76 mm) with two 3-inch M1903 guns on pedestal mounts.
Battery Tousard was named after Louis de Tousard, an engineer and artillery officer who was heavily involved in the early fortifications of the United States. Major General James House, who commanded Fort Wolcott in Newport in 1811, was the inspiration for Battery House. Levi Whiting, an artillery officer in the War of 1812, was honored with the designation Battery Whiting.
The former Fort Greble is located near the fort and is only a short boat trip away from Fort Getty Park. There are also RV hookups available at the park. There are 83 seasonal RV sites and 24 tent sites as of 2015. Parts of the gun batteries have been buried, but others are still visible. There is a dock near the point of Beaverhead, as well as a pavilion that is frequently used for birthdays, graduations, and weddings.
15. Battery 213
In Beavertail State Park in Jamestown, Rhode Island, there is an abandoned World War II coastal artillery battery known as Battery 213. The battery’s construction began on February 19, 1942, and ended on June 30, 1943. On December 23, 1943, the structure was sold to the Coast Artillery for $239,623.00.
It was incorporated into Fort Burnside. It was created as part of a plan to replace Endicott Period Batteries that had become obsolete. Only 45 of the planned 87 World War II batteries were constructed. Many didn’t complete their work until after the war.
A 175-foot-long reinforced concrete magazine housed shell rooms, powder rooms, conference rooms, and general storage rooms in Battery 213. The magazine’s two 6-inch M1905 rapid-fire guns, which were positioned on either end of the magazine, were fed from it.
These guns were mounted on M1 Shielded Barbette Carriages and had a range of 15 miles, capable of firing 105-pound armor-piercing projectiles. Only six of the M1905 rapid-fire cannons are currently operational and on exhibit. One can be found in Fort Columbia in Chinook, Washington.
After WWII, Battery 213 was decommissioned in 1948. The battery is easily accessible because it is located just off Beavertail Road on the west side. The concrete cannon pads on either end of the magazine are still there, and the magazine is still buried beneath a pile of dirt.
Go out and explore!
That concludes our list of abandoned places in Rhode Island, but that doesn’t mean that’s all there is to find. Take the back roads, follow train tracks, and find some places for yourself. There are plenty of places I kept off this list so get out there and explore.