Around Town

Recognizing Rhody History

URI’s campus earns a spot on the national list of historic landmarks


In January, URI’s main campus was officially recognized as a historic district by the National Park Service. Taking up approximately 29 acres, the new University of Rhode Island Historic District contains 17 buildings and structures that span the university’s 130-year history.

Among the buildings included in the district is The Watson Farmhouse, the oldest structure on campus. Originally built around 1796, it was purchased by URI in 1888 and converted into a women’s dormitory. Another is the Robert L. Carothers Library, which was originally spread across seven on-campus locations upon its founding in 1892, before moving to its current location in 1964. The district also includes monuments like the Old Ben Butler Civil War cannon and the WWI Memorial Gateway, built in 1928 to honor the 23 URI students who lost their lives during the war.

“This was a major milestone for URI,” says J. Vernon Wyman, a URI graduate and current Assistant Vice President of Business Services, who worked with the Rhode Island Historical Preservation and Heritage commission to nominate URI for the National Register. “These buildings tell a compelling story.”