Any native Rhode Islander (of a certain age) remembers Rocky Point Park in Warwick, Rhode Island. Although it closed the year I was born, my parents used to talk about the amusement park by the water where they went on dates and spent summers hanging out with friends. This is not a story unique to me, either. For over 100 years, generations of Rhode Islanders made memories along the shores of Rocky Point, and for that, it remains a most sacred and revered memory in the 401.
While the most recent memories of Rocky Point consist of amusement rides, concession stands, and yes, the famous Shore Dinner Hall, the park was much more than that over the course of its lifetime. In its heyday, it hosted baseball games, Olympic tryouts, concerts, and even political campaign stops. The appearance of the park had also changed many times since its creation by Captain William Winslow in 1847, as time and time again the property was ravaged by storms, most famously the Hurricane of ’38.
After surviving wartime several times, the great depression, repeated storms, and various management issues, Rhode Island sadly lost Rocky Point to bankruptcy in the 1990’s. When bits and pieces of the Amusement Park went up for auction on a dreary spring day, it was devastating. While I am obviously an auction enthusiast, I can imagine it was heart wrenching for locals to see such nostalgic symbols of their childhoods sold off to the highest bidder. If you’ve read my articles before, you know I understand how personal (and therefore valuable) mementos of our childhoods can be to collectors. Whatever held value was bought, and before the bulldozers and wrecking balls came for the rest, many Rhode Islanders braved the fences and overgrowth to snatch a piece of that tangible history for themselves - no judgement here, folks!
Because of this, we occasionally see these Rocky Point keepsakes come up for auction, even almost 30 years after the park closed for good. If you loved Rocky Point, we have two items saved from the wreckers coming up for auction this June you might be interested in. Who remembers peevishly standing in front of the height sign, nervous about being banished to kiddie land rides for the day? Or how about Rocky the Lobster welcoming you to the dinner hall? They may not be much, but they are a small part of all that’s left of a Rhode Island icon.
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