Located within Providence, Rhode Island, is the Roger Williams National Memorial. The memorial rests on the lot that signifies the location of the original colony of Providence, and stands as a beautifully landscaped park. The memorial exists to honor Roger Williams, who is considered the father of Rhode Island.
Roger Williams was a religious freedom enthusiast who was kicked out of Massachusetts because of his religious beliefs. Upon his persecution, he migrated to a nearby region to settle the lands with new ideals, and this land became known as Rhode Island. The new colony represented a safe zone where everyone could come to worship without judgment, something that was very rare at the time, in 1636. Williams’ ideas were revolutionary, and helped to develop the laws that we currently follow concerning religious rights.
While the park is quite small, in fact considered the 20th smallest national park in the country, it is big in spirit and significance. Williams’ ideas about free worship without repercussions from the state are well deserving of a memorial, and it reminds visitors of the struggles of our ancestors.
A visitor’s center lies within the bounds of the memorial, offering information about this man. There is an exhibit on display that references the area’s history, as well as a video that is regularly played. The video discusses the life of Roger Williams, as well as the process of founding Rhode Island. Those interested in exploring other historic sites in the area can also find information here, as the visitor’s center offers details about other monuments in Providence.
After spending some time in the visitor’s center, guests move on to exploring the outdoor area of the memorial. The park is well known for its scenic landscaping, and showcases the common area of this original settlement. It also contains the site of the fresh water spring that they used to obtain fresh water, an interesting historical artifact.