Welcome to Bristol, RI
Bristol, Rhode Island is a typical New England waterfront town. The town center is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Bristol is a charming historic port town with a waterfront area that has commercial enterprises, civic buildings, churches and mills. There area several slave-traders’ mansions that tell the history of Bristol’s development since its founding in 1680.
Bristol was sold for £1100 to four Boston investors by the names of Byfield, Walley, Oliver, and Burton. It remained a part of Massachusetts until the Crown transferred it to the Rhode Island Colony in 1747.
During the American Revolutionary War, the British Navy bombarded Bristol twice. On October 7, 1775, a group of ships led by Captain Wallace and the HMS Rose sailed into town and demanded provisions. When refused, Wallace shelled the town, causing a great deal of damage. The attack was stopped when Lieutenant Governor William Bradford rowed out to the Rose to negotiate a cease-fire. A second attack took place on May 25, 1778 but this time approximately 500 British troops marched through the main street and burned 30 barracks and houses, taking some prisoners to Newport.
The official and historic Celebration, Patriotic Exercises, was established in 1785 by Rev. Henry Wight of the First Congregational Church and Veteran of the Revolutionary War. The Civic, Military and Firemen’s Parade is organized by the Bristol Fourth of July Committee. The Celebration officially starts with Flag Day on June 14. Over the next weeks there are free outdoor concerts at Independence Park, Orange Crate Derby races, a firefighters’ muster, Fourth of July Ball, Drum & Bugle Corps. Show and many other activities and events. The Celebration concludes on July 4 with the annual parade, “The Military, Civic and Firemen’s Parade”, which is viewed by over 200,000 people from Rhode Island and around the world. These long lasting celebrations give Bristol its nickname, “America’s most patriotic town”.