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Rhode Island is a state of many firsts. First to take action against British rule, first synogogue, and the first successful water-powered cotton mill.
Despite the name, most of Rhode Island is in fact on the mainland. Rhode Island, smallest of the 50 states, covers an area of 1,214 square miles. Its distances North to South are 48 miles and East to West 37 miles.
The era know as The Industrial Revolution started in Rhode Island with the development and construction in 1790 of Samuel Slater's water-powered cotton mill in Pawtucket. Rhode Island is densely populated and highly industrialized.
It is a major center for jewelry manufacturing. Electronics, metal, plastic products, and boat and ship construction are other important industries. Non-manufacturing employment includes research in health, medicine, and the ocean environment. Providence is a wholesale distribution center for New England. The Quonset hut was invented at Quonset Point a key naval reserve base.
Fishing ports are at Galilee and Newport. Rural areas of the state support small-scale farming, including grapes for local wineries, turf grass, and nursery stock. Tourism generates over a billion dollars a year in revenue.
Newport became famous as the summer capital of high society in the mid-19th century. Touro Synagogue (1763) is the oldest in the U.S. Other points of interest include the Roger Williams National Memorial in Providence, Samuel Slater's Mill in Pawtucket, the General Nathanael Greene Homestead in Coventry, and Block Island.
Polo was played for the first time in the United States in 1876 near Newport. Rhode Island was home to the first National Lawn Tennis Championship in 1899. The state was home to the first open golf tournament. The event occurred in 1895. Rhode Island is home to the Tennis Hall of Fame.
George M. Cohan was born in Providence in 1878. He wrote, "I'm a Yankee Doodle Dandy," "You're a Grand Old Flag," and a wide variety of other musical entertainment.
The White Horse Tavern was built in 1673 and is the oldest operating tavern in the United States. New England's oldest Masonic Temple in Warren was built in the 18th century with timbers from British frigates sunk in Newport Harbor during the Revolutionary War. The Touro Synagogue is the oldest synagogue in North America. Built in 1763 the synagogue houses the oldest torah in North America.