Battery Belton is a reinforced concrete coastal gun battery located on Fort Adams in Newport, Rhode Island. The battery was built during the Endicott Period when the United States sought to increase its coastal defenses in case of potential attacks. The Endicott Period lasted from around 1890-1910 and Newport Harbor was a key place to protect, hence the establishment of Battery Belton. Construction on this coastal gun battery began in October of 1903 and was completed in 1905. The gun battery was officially acquired by the Coast Artillery and put into service on July 31, 1907.
Battery Belton is a two story gun battery. On the upper level of the building was where the two 3-inch M1903 guns were mounted. These guns where manufactured at the Watervliet Arsenal and they had a range of over 9 miles. They were both mounted on M1903 Pedestal mounts. On the lower level of the battery was where the magazines were. These magazines held the shells and powder needed to operate the guns. The projectiles used at Battery Belton were only about 20 pounds, so no shell or powder hoists was installed. Projectiles were manually moved from the magazines to the guns.
Battery Belton During WW1
When World War 1 began, the US sought to help its allies overseas in a variety of ways. On tactic was to remove guns at coastal gun batteries and ship them overseas. Many of the gun batteries in Rhode Island had their guns removed to be sent overseas. Uniquely, Battery Belton was not affected by WW1 and its guns remained throughoutout the war. Additionally, the 1920 disarmament program saw many more gun batteries lose their guns, but once again Battery Belton was not affected.
Battery Belton Abandoned
In 1925, orders were finally sent to have the guns at Battery Belton removed. On February 7, 1925 both guns and carriages were transferred to Fort Wetherill and mounted in Battery Crittenden. Following this action, Battery Belton was deactivated and abandoned.
What Remains Today?
Since being abandoned in 1925, Battery Belton feel into poor condition. The structure was crumbling and nature began envading on the historic war building. By the early 2000s, it was hard to see Battery Belton due to all the trees and vines growing around it. Fortunately, the managers of Fort Adams took action to save the overgrown and crumbling gun battery. Throughout the 2010s, many preservation efforts were taken to save Battery Belton. All the overgrowing nature was removed, the battery was painted, doors were restored, and a new fence was installed around the entire structure.
Today, the battery is in beautiful condition and it is a wonderful place to explore. Visitors are welcome to walk all around the structure and even within one of the old magazine rooms. It is amazing to see a battery in such pristine condition. Hopefully, more will be taken care of like this one!
Technically, this structure is listed on the National Register of Historic Places under Fort Adams State Park.
- Year Built: 1905
- Year Abandoned: 1925
- Original Function: Endicott Period coastal gun battery equipped with two 3-inch M1903 guns
- National Register of Historic Places: #70000014