Armories of the Valley

There are three historic armories in Northern Rhode Island that interpret local military involvement through their architecture, past use as National Guard sites and as headquarters for local Colonial militias.

 

Military parades, marching exercises and band practices were once held in these grand buildings. Peacetime public activities, such as social functions, health clinics, family events and community gatherings functioned.

 

Today, these fortresses are now revitalized community centers, historical society headquarters and venues for performing arts. Enjoy viewing these sites and their significance over the Veterans Day holiday.

 

 

The three Blackstone River Valley based armories are:

 

Pawtucket Armory, 172 Exchange Street (built 1894-1895) (seen above)

Located next to Tolman High School, the site is now a major arts and entertainment complex, featuring the Sandra Feinstein Gamm Theatre, renowned for the breakthrough live stage performances.

 

Woonsocket Armory, 350 South Main Street (built 1912)

Situated at the intersection with Providence Street (Route 104) the building continues to serve community residents as a local parish center. It is built similarly to the 1902 Westerly, RI Armory.

 

Glocester Armory, Dorr Drive, Chepachet village (built 1865)

This plain structure serves as the headquarters for the Glocester Light Infantry, one of the state’s earliest militia groups that regularly participate in the town’s Annual July 4th Ancient & Horribles Parade.

 

For particulars on each of these sites, it is suggested that the State Survey publications compiled by the RI Historic Preservation & Heritage Commission be consulted. The agency has produced 60 survey publications for each of the state’s 39 communities, for specific neighborhoods, and for thematic projects. Although the publications are out-of-print, they remain invaluable resources for researchers, history buffs, and residents.

 

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