CAROLYN'S COMPOSITIONS

November 28, 2010

Rhode Island Part 2


CAROLYN COMPOSITIONS

At about 3:45 p. m. today, November 28, 2010, Lois Kalata became the 80,000th visitor to Carolyn’s Compositions. Congrats, Lois! 

RHODE ISLAND Part 2

(Click on Rhode Island: Part 1 to read the first part.)

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     I learned a disheartening uniqueness about my natal state while watching a part of a Tyra Banks show in mid-November. It’s the first time I’d heard that Rhode Island had the distinction of being the only state outside certain Nevada counties where indoor prostitution is not considered a crime. In fact, sixteen year old girls are allowed to work in clubs as long as they were home by 11:30 p. m.

     As evidence mounts demonstrating how damaging inappropriate sexual behavior it is to young psyches, action is being taken to protect these victims. To allow sixteen year olds to dance in clubs for—well, older men—flies against this progress.

     I will address these issues in a later post. Suffice it to say here that I am pleased the Rhode Island state legislature took some action to confront the problem. On November 2, 2010, the governor signed a bill making indoor prostitution a misdemeanor crime with penalties.  

COURT CASE

     In 1673, Thomas Cornell was convicted and hung for murdering his mother based on the testimony of her ghost. (see link to Killed Strangely at the end of this post).

STATUARY and MEMORIALS

     Rhode Island has some unique statuary in addition to the landscaped topiary “statues” on the grounds of the many mansions.

     The oldest known monument dedicated to United States veterans is in Cumberland: Nine Men’s Misery. Constructed in 1676, it honors nine colonists who were tortured and killed by the Narragansett Indian tribe in Pierce’s Fight during the King Philip’s War.

     On December 18, 1899, an eleven foot tall, five hundred pound, gilded bronze statue known as the Independent Man was placed on top of the dome of the State House in Providence. Its bronze came from a statue of Simon Bolivar, which was not artistic enough for New York’s Central Park, and was therefore removed. The statue, which stands two hundred seventy eight feet above the ground, was temporarily removed between August 9, 1975 and July 20, 1976, to be repaired and to receive a new gold leaf coating.

     My alter-ego,  Cochran Cornell the Cantankerous Cockroach, will write an expanded post on another statue. He’s quite upset that a lowly termite is celebrated in a fifty-eight foot long statue on top of Rhode Island’s New England Pest Control Building in Providence. Why, Cochran wants to know, is the termite elevated to nine-hundred twenty eight times its actual size, when his ilk, the cockroach, is such a superior representation of the bug world? It is an unusual city icon located in Providence.

     Another memorial item is a monument found in Adamsville. It honors the state bird, the Rhode Island Red, a famous poultry breed. It is the largest chicken-related monument in the world except for the Eiffel Tower.

     I wonder—don’t they have any big chickens in Rhode Island? I’ve discovered them all over the eastern part of the United States, even in my current home-town (see link to Big Chicken Stolen…the Big Chicken Hunt at the end of this post).

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THE SMALLEST STATE

     Texas is described as being about 165 times larger than Rhode Island and, which measures forty-eight miles north-south and thirty-seven miles east-west.

     The state covers 1,214 square miles…well, there is controversy. Another description states that Rhode Isalnd covers 1,045 square miles square miles (not including Narragansett Bay), or 1,545 square miles square miles (including Narragansett Bay).

     With 1,048,319 people (year 2000), it is the forty-third most populous state. These people live on forty percent of its land. The rest of the land is forestland.  

THE STATE NAME

     Rhode Island originally referred only to Acquidneck Island. A colonial settlement on the island was located in the area of Newport on the southern end of the island.

     There are several versions of how Rhode Island was named.

     In 1524 Giovanni da Verrazzano spotted an island near the mouth of the Narragansett Bay. He likened it to the Greek island, Rhodes. Later, the pilgrims who colonized the area decided to apply the moniker Rhode Island to Acquidneck Island.

     In a 1625 account of Adriaen Block’s travels, he described an island of reddish appearance (in 17th century Dutch, een rodlich Eylande ). Dutch maps labeled it Roode Eylant—Red Island. Theoretically, the red color came from wither red autumn foliage or the red clay that was on portions of the shore.

     Roger Williams made use of the name in 1637, the earliest known time it was used. It became official in 1644 with the words Aquethneck shall be henceforth called the Ile of Rods or Rhod-Island

     Although the state adopted the name Rhode Island, most of its land is on the mainland.

     Meanwhile, theologian Roger Williams sought a refuge for religious freedom, having been forced out of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. He advocated religious freedom, separation of church and state, abolition of slavery, and equal treatment to Native Americans. He founded the Providence Plantations (now known as the City of Providence)—Providence referring to the divine providence, and plantations referring to a British term for a colony, meaning people leave one place and are planted in another.

     The state’s official name, Rhode Island and the Providence Plantations, is derived from the merger of two colonies, Providence Plantations on the mainland (founded by Roger Williams,) and Rhode Island.

     No beloved state is without a nickname. The a.k.a. for Rhode Island (the common shortened version of the state name) is The Ocean State—due to its geographical configuration that includes several bays and inlets.

STATE FLAG

     The state flag has a circle of thirteen gold stars, representing the first thirteen states, placed on a white field. The stars surround a gold ship’s anchor. The state motto, Hope, is on a blue ribbon below the anchor.

STATE MISCELLANEY

Rhode Island became the 13th state on May 29, 1790.

The Quonset hut was invented at Quonset Point, a naval reserve base.

Jerimoth Hill is the state’s highest point at 812 feet above sea level.

There are fifteen state parks and ten state beaches.

State Motto: Hope

State Song: Rhode Island, It’s for Me

State Bird: Rhode Island Red Hen (May 3, 1954)

State Flower: Violet

State Tree: Red Maple

State Mineral: Bowerite (semi-precious stone related to jade)

State Folk Art Symbol: The Crescent Park Carousel in East Providence

Unofficially:

State Soil   Narragansett

State Shell: Quahog. Native Americans used this clam shell for money. Quahogs are now used to make quahog chowder.

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ADDITIONAL READING:

Rhode Island: Part 1

KILLED STRANGELY: A NEW ENGLAND MURDER STORY

BIG CHICKEN STOLEN IN LIGONIER TOWNSHIP (PA): The “Big Chicken” Hunt

Change the Name of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations?

IS THIS “CHEERS?”

LIZZIE BORDEN—A REENACTMENT

 Two Photographers Named Cornell

YOU MEAN THIS NEW ENGLANDER IS A WESTSYLVANIAN?

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3 Comments »

  1. Sorry Carolyn, but as long as prostitution is a “misdemeanor” it will continue in the state. The “gentlemen” who pay to see the “dancing” pay enough to make it profitable for the girls. Until its banned and made illegal period it will continue. Also, don’t you love the phrase “indoor prostitution”???? So they can do if they remove the roof????

    Comment by Fran Welts — November 29, 2010 @ 7:21 am | Reply

  2. There were some comments that indicated that the “action” taken was probably not efffective, but only a beginning.

    Yeah—indoor prostitution is a great term.

    It will be interesting to write the post on this issue. Wanna help???? It would be fun to have a co-writer!

    Carolyn

    Comment by carolyncholland — November 29, 2010 @ 8:47 am | Reply

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