One of America’s leading Colonial seaport cities, it may come to no surprise that you’ll find a bevy of buildings and landmarks that are America’s “oldest” or “first” right here in Newport. Some are well known: The White Horse Tavern (1673) is the oldest tavern building in continuous use in the U.S., Touro Synagogue (1759) is the oldest in synagogue the western hemisphere, and the Redwood Library & Athenaeum (1745) is the oldest circulating library in continuous use in the country. But there’s some more obscure firsts that get less attention, like Newport being home to the nation’s first public roller-skating rink, the first circus, the first gas-illuminated streetlights in the U.S. and the first auto race. Other “firsts” have blossomed into internationally recognized stalwarts of sport. For example, in 1895, the first U.S. Open was played at Newport County Club, hosted by the USGA. (Golf’s first Amateur Championship was played simultaneously). In 1899, first National Lawn Tennis Championships were played at the Newport Casino -- which became today’s U.S. Open. The first international polo match was played here, a tradition that continues here today, and in more modern times, Newport hosted the first ESPN X-Games. For a complete list, click here.
Photo: Billy Black