Jamestown, Rhode Island

Nestled within the serene surroundings of Fort Getty Park in Jamestown, Rhode Island, Battery Tousard stands as an enduring relic of the Endicott Period.

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Tom Riley (GoXplr Account)

About This Location

Nestled within the serene surroundings of Fort Getty Park in Jamestown, Rhode Island, Battery Tousard stands as an enduring relic of the Endicott Period, harkening back to a time when coastal defense was of paramount importance. This coastal gun battery, constructed in 1910, played a pivotal role in safeguarding the West Passage of Narragansett Bay as part of the Coast Defenses of Narragansett Bay. With a rich history dating back to the Endicott Period, Battery Tousard remains a testament to the nation's commitment to fortifying its coastal defenses.

Fort Getty: A Product of the Endicott Period

The origins of Fort Getty can be traced to the visionary initiatives of the Endicott Period. In 1885, President Grover Cleveland appointed the Board of Fortifications, a joint army, navy, and civilian board, to assess and address the nation's existing defenses. The board's findings, detailed in their 1886 report, painted a grim picture of the state of defenses and recommended a substantial $127 million construction program. This program encompassed the installation of modern reinforced concrete fortifications, as well as large caliber breechloading artillery and mortar batteries, in 29 strategic locations along the U.S. coastline. These efforts led to the large-scale modernization of harbor and coastal defenses across the United States.

Fort Getty was one of the fortifications conceived during the Endicott Period. Its construction commenced in 1901, with the primary objective of defending the West Passage of Narragansett Bay. As part of the Coast Defenses of Narragansett Bay, Fort Getty grew to encompass several key installations, including Battery Tousard, Battery House, Battery Whiting, and numerous support structures. Fort Greble, on nearby Dutch Island off Jamestown, also was built out during this time.

Battery Tousard's Birth and Armament

Battery Tousard, an integral component of Fort Getty, was established as a concrete coastal gun battery. Construction on this vital coastal defense battery began in July 1901, and by 1903, it was completed. On June 7, 1910, Battery Tousard was officially put into service, poised to protect the West Passage of Narragansett Bay. This was essential to protect due to the naval bases in the area along with the cities along the Narragansett Bay and up the Providence River.

This formidable battery was equipped with three 12-inch M1900 guns mounted on M1901 Disappearing carriages. These mighty guns had the capacity to launch 1,000+ pound projectiles over a remarkable distance of 10 miles. Battery Tousard was a two-story structure, with the upper level housing the guns, while the magazines and support rooms were located on the lower level. The transport of shells from the magazine level to the gun loading platform was facilitated by shell hoists. Initially, the battery was equipped with shell hoists that were later replaced with three Taylor-Raymond back delivery electric hoists in 1918. Electrical power was supplied through a dedicated emplacement power plant located within the fort grounds.

Times of Conflict: Battery Tousard's Role in World War I and II

With the onset of World War I, the U.S. began an extensive mobilization effort to support its allies in Europe. Coastal gun batteries saw their guns removed for service overseas. In the case of Battery Tousard, however, no such orders were issued during World War I. Battery Tousard remained unaltered, with its guns intact, throughout the conflict.

By the advent of World War II, the majority of Endicott Period batteries, including Battery Tousard, were deemed obsolete. On November 4, 1942, as part of the war's extensive scrap drive, orders were issued for the guns and carriages of Battery Tousard to be scrapped.

Battery Tousard Today: A Legacy of Coastal Defense

Battery Tousard's active service came to an end in 1942. By 1948, Fort Getty and most other U.S. coastal defenses had been disestablished. The grounds of Fort Getty were subsequently repurposed into a public park, offering a picturesque retreat for visitors. The park boasts a range of amenities, including a dock, campground, pavilion, beach, and restrooms, making it a popular destination during the summer months.

Visitors are invited to explore the surroundings of Battery Tousard, both above and below. While the doors remain locked, and stairways are fenced off, Battery Tousard stands as a striking historical structure that provides a glimpse into a bygone era of coastal defense.

Parking is convenient, with multiple parking areas at Fort Getty State Park. The park charges a daily parking fee of $20 per vehicle during the summer months, from Memorial Day to Labor Day. It operates from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily during this period. Additionally, the park welcomes dogs, provided they are leashed and their waste is responsibly managed, ensuring a pet-friendly historical exploration experience.

Battery Tousard, along with Fort Getty and its historical structures, continues to serve as a silent guardian and a poignant reminder of the nation's commitment to coastal defense during the Endicott Period.

Location Features

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1050 Fort Getty Road, Jamestown, Rhode Island

GPS Coordinates:
41.489750, -71.398806
Directions to location:
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Directions to parking area:
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Parking Notes:
There are many parking areas in Fort Getty State Park near Battery Tousard. There is no fee to park at Fort Getty State Park in the off-season. From Memorial Day to Labor Day, a $20 fee is charged for daily parking at Fort Getty Park. It is open from 7am-10pm daily.


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