Welcome to: Rhode Island
Rhode island is famous for being the smallest state in the Union, but this little seaside slice of America packs a ton of history. Originally settled by Native Americans from the Narragansett tribe, Rhode Island was the last of the original thirteen colonies to become a state. It joined the Union on May 29, 1790.
Today Rhode Island is home to a number of America’s oldest and most historic sites, from libraries to taverns. The White Horse Tavern has been slinging beer since 1673 and the Redwood Library is the oldest community library still in its original building. It has been operating in the Ocean State since 1747.
Rhode Island proved fertile ground for the seeds of our modern day shopping experience. The very first discount department store, Ann & Hope, opened in Newport in 1953 and inspired a whole wave of the big box department stores we are used to today.
Rhode Island can also claim a strong connection to the First Amendment. Puritan minister Roger Williams founded the colony of Rhode Island after he was kicked out of Massachusetts for having radical ideas. Some of these so-called radical ideas caused Thomas Jefferson and John Adams to both acknowledge Williams as a thought-leader on American principles like freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and freedom of public assembly.
Maybe it’s not surprising then that native Rhode Islander and patriotic Broadway songwriter George M. Cohan was inspired to write classics like “I’m a Yankee Doodle Dandy” and “You’re a Grand Old Flag.”
Our favorite thing about Rhode Island though is its short, sweet and inspiring state motto: HOPE.