GREAT FRIENDS MEETING HOUSE


A Brief History: The Great Friends Meeting House is located at 21 Farewell Street in Newport Rhode Island. The Great Friends Meeting house is the oldest remaining house of worship in Rhode Island. The grounds that the Meeting House was built on was first purchased by Nicholas Easton in 1639. He built a house with barns stables and outbuildings. Easton’s first house went up in flames in 1641, but he built another. This house and property was then given to Newport’s Friends upon his death in 1676. The main home most likely became the Friends’ first permanent place of worship. The new meeting house was built in 1699. The new meeting house was built as a reflection of their status in the Newport community. It was the largest building in Newport and was even depicted on maps at the time. In 1705 and 1709 the building was expanded and again in 1807, 1857 and 1867. Although there Quakerism was in a downfall these expansions were built so that the New England yearly meeting could be held there.


After the New England yearly meeting stopped in 1905, the building was used as a recreation center. The Martin Luther King Center, a social services agency met in the house. In the 1970’s the house was restored and was presented to the Newport Historical Society by it’s owner Sydney L. Wright.


Haunted History: Visitors have claimed to have heard a full conversation going on between multiple males and then just fade away. People have also claimed to have seen a few men in period clothing standing outside of the house and then disappear.