Talk:Block Island

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First header[edit]

My understanding that nudity on public beaches is illegal in Rhode Island. Does anyone have further information about this?

As a Rhode Islander, as far as I know, all public nudity is illegal and there are no sanctioned nude beaches. Also, I have never heard of public nudity at Black Rock beach. However, all reports indicate Black Rock is an isolated beach. As such, it is possible that some people have decided nudity should be allowed there.

While nudity on beaches is likely illegal in Rhode Island, you will hear from many on the Island that Black Rock is a nude beach. Note that despite going there a few times every summer for many years now I have never seen anyone in the nude, it is nonetheless considered the Island's nude beach. Do people get arrested for nudity on Black Rock Beach? (----)

I can confirm that Vail Beach, just to the East of Black Rock, is also clothing optional, at least from what I've seen. Both Vail and Black Rock are extremely remote and lightly used, so nobody is likely to complain, no matter what the law says, and enforcement would probably not be worth the effort. This page about the history of Moonstone Beach, RI provides some interesting details. Jehochman Talk 23:02, 23 June 2007 (UTC)

Cleanup[edit]

Maybe this article should be cleaned up? Here's some official sites to start from to get some legit citations http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=Block+Island&btnG=Google+Search Deliverance 19:25, 3 February 2007 (UTC)

Block Island vs. Chester, MA?[edit]

The comparison of a town at the foothills of the Berkshires to Block Island is, in my opinion, substantially flawed - Western Massachusetts is also influenced by the climate differential that comes from being at an elevation much higher than the island.

While its a good point to be made, perhaps a town that would be better to compare it to would be one, while still inland, maybe slightly closer to the close. Example: Providence, RI - record high of 107, record low of -12.

Raj Fra 04:15, 14 January 2007 (UTC)

Chronology[edit]

It that long a chronology really necessary? It looks out of place.
Newark777 22:11, 9 February 2007 (UTC)


This chronology was copied, and posted by an unknown third party, from the writings of Robert M. Downie, Block Island historian, who wrote the history books "Block Island --- The Sea" (1998) and "Block Island --- The Land" (1999).


I agree that it's out of place and seems stylistically non-encyclopedic. My preference would be to work the truly significant dates into the article text and delete the separate chronology section. Any takers? -- Rydra Wong 04:05, 24 February 2007 (UTC)

Block Island is a unique place, with ups and downs in its history. When the chronology is actually read in totality, some of that “specialness” becomes easily apparent --- as do ironies and idiosyncrasies. All of which readers can discern on their own from these basic facts, without having to plow through tedious paragraphs of explanatory prose. The chronology was written by an expert, so leave it as is.


And the uniqueness of Block Island won't be damaged by making the article more like the rest of Wikipedia. If anything, it will help people learn more about Block Island since it will be in the same format and held to the same standards as all of the other articles. The chronology was also written for a book, not for an encyclopedia. Furthermore, as Rydra Wong pointed out, many of the entries in the chronology are simply not necessary. For example: "First postmaster appointed; office in his bedroom." Who cares? If anything, as any islander knows, the real event in history would not be the appointment of a postmaster, but the delivery of mail to people's houses. I can try to clean this up a bit in the next few days.. HebrewHammerTime 07:59, 16 July 2007 (UTC)

To the second poster above, please sign your posts with four twiddles, like this ~~~~. The chronology list should be converted into one or more narrative paragraphs. Take a look at some of the other geographic articles, such as Sheerness, a featured article candidate. Jehochman Talk 13:37, 20 July 2007 (UTC)

Recent incorrect edits[edit]

I have reverted some incorrect edits:

"Rough waters" -- Scotch Beach, Mansion beach, and State beach are not rough. They are perfectly safe for swimming on any day when there is no storm or hurricane nearby (like any other beach). I have lived next to them my whole life.

Cannot walk to the bottom of Mohegan Bluffs - This is wrong. You can still go down there. (And an alternate route should be noted if you can't- just go to Vail or Black Rock)

This article needs to be revised.[edit]

This article has been tagged for cleanup since May of 2006. The chronology section does not make for a encyclopedic article and contains information of questionable value in an encyclopedic format. An obvious example is: Two US aircraft carriers are named “Block Island”; the 1st sank 7 U-boats. While this is interesting trivia, I don't feel it belongs in the article even if the salient information contained in the chronology section was folded back into the history section. I urge the unsigned user who evidently owns a copy of the out of print Robert M. Downie book which is apparently being used as the source of the chronology to work with other editors to improve the article. I request that anyone serious about the editing task ahead create an account and properly sign their edits and comments. I realize that Block Island is a unique and interesting place (I've visited twice) but the current article reads like a tourist brochure rather than the encyclopedic article it should be. -- Rydra Wong 00:54, 11 July 2007 (UTC)

I (Poindexter Propellerhead 11:30, 20 July 2007 (UTC)) am restoring the following statement, with mixed feelings, after reverting deletions from this page:

Rydra Wong, which seems to be short for "Write or Wrong," is simply wrong. When the original bell from the Block Island aircraft carrier is rung as funeral processions pass by, approaching the cemetery, no one who hears the pealing over the nearby stonewalls, fields, and harbor thinks the World War II aircraft carriers are mere "trivia" as Ryda Wong states. Somehow she or he is an expert on the island after only two visits. There must be some place you have been to more than twice, so save your comments for those locations, please. (Unsigned comment by User:65.219.214.188)
My main problem with this comment is that it is a personal attack (a fairly bad one at that). Beyond that, it doesn't even really make sense. I'm an islander and don't know what the hell this person is talking about. Whatever it is, it certainly has no relevance to Block Island the island. Maybe it would be relevant to articles dealing with the Block Island aircraft carrier, but even then I would say it is fairly irrelevant. HebrewHammerTime 11:52, 20 July 2007 (UTC)

<<removed: personal attacks>> They have both revealed themselves in their comments as the fundamental problem with society.

Don’t they know that just last month, in late June 2007, the survivors of the two World War II aircraft carriers named “Block Island” visited Block Island to an enthusiastic, well-publicized reception at the ferry dock, and elsewhere on a tour of the island. The island is still talking and writing about it.

Everyone on the island knows also that the World War II bell in the park by the cemetery, saved from the last “Block Island” aircraft carrier 35 years ago, is rung when the bodies of those who fought in the country’s past wars are wheeled by to their final resting place. The tradition started at the funeral of the Capt. Rob Lewis, a veteran of World War II and probably the most well-known and beloved islander of the late-1900s.

<<removed: more personal attacks>> (unsigned comments by User:205.231.151.140, as pared back slightly by Poindexter Propellerhead 23:08, 21 July 2007 (UTC))

Hello to all. Please refrain from bickering. This talk page is for discussing improvement to the article. Please find a source, and add your material to the article. Then discuss the changes here if necessary. Jehochman Talk 16:08, 21 July 2007 (UTC)
I have a couple of comments for 205.231.151.140/65.219.214.188. (1) Please refrain from personal attacks, incivility, or assumptions that other editors are not acting in good faith. (2) Perhaps things have changed since you last spent significant time on the island? Your IP addresses are in the Berkshires, so I'm just throwing that out as a possibility.
As for the immediate dispute, there is an article devoted to the ships named Block Island, so it might make sense to have a heading for them, with a link to that article. I have difficulty seeing why they should be discussed at any length here, for the same reason that I would not put content about the USS Arizona on the Arizona page. And that's not to cast any aspersions on the memory of those who went down with the Arizona, not at all! It's just a matter of keeping on-topic. Poindexter Propellerhead 23:08, 21 July 2007 (UTC)

There are more beaches than what's listed in the article[edit]

For instance, there's Ballard's. Yes, it's privately owned, but everyone uses it. As a Rhode Islander, I feel that this is lacking.

This is certainly true, there are a number of more minor beaches missing (although Ballards is admittedly not minor, I just deeply dislike Ballards and refuse to write anything about it in a positive context. Therefore, I won't write anything at all since this is supposed to be neutral). Some other beaches could be Vail, Coast Guard, and Dories Cove. But the real question is whether having a ton of small beaches is worth it, especially considering some of them (dories cove for example) is really not worth going to unless you live next to it. HebrewHammerTime 08:02, 16 August 2007 (UTC)


History vs Chronology[edit]

To the anonymous editor who reverted my changes: Please read the history I wrote and compare it to the chronology. I included nearly everything from the chronology. In fact, that's the primary source for all of that material. The other references I included were extra information I looked for to supplement the chronology. If you want more events from the chronology in the history, then by all means add them! I added about 75% of what the chronology had, leaving out claims I couldn't substantiate with a secondary source because I don't own that book. My goal was to model Block Island's history more along the lines of Newport, Rhode Island. With enough research, Block Island's history could even be as large as Martha's Vineyard's. I hope that we can work together in achieving this, rather than having an edit war. HebrewHammerTime 09:12, 1 November 2007 (UTC)



The chronology is good, accurate, and concise --- with an emphasis on accuracy. The edits that Hebrew Hammer made are tedious, unnecessary, and sometimes completely wrong (for instance, no lighthouse ever burned on Block Island as HH claims).

Folks, I think the paragraphs are better than the list, per Wikipedia's manual of style. I recommend restoring the paragraphs, removing the chronology, and then fixing any mistakes or omissions. Reverting back and forth isn't productive and may result in users being blocked, the page being protected, and loss of fun for all. Let's avoid that by working together cooperatively. Cooperation is easy and fun. If people disagree on facts, we compare references and see who has the most reliable information. - Jehochman Talk 14:27, 1 November 2007 (UTC)
Excuse me? My source for the lighthouse burning on Block Island is the United States Coast Guard. I think that's a fairly trustworthy source. To quote the reference: "1857: The 1857 tower, which was moved further inland, was destroyed by fire." ( [1] -- This information is listed under "Block Island (North) Light" I looked into the claims in that history very carefully, and learned a lot about Block Island in the process. As I said before, I have no doubt that we can improve this history together if we both find good references and facts. (For example, history about some of the older buildings would be great (Spring House, that old church by Fresh Pond) HebrewHammerTime 15:14, 1 November 2007 (UTC)

Just one short note on the Shipwrecks section. There are three subs that have sunk in the BI vicinity. The USS Bass (SS-164) was used as a target for torpedo tests in 1945 and sunk approximately seven miles southeast of the Old Harbor. It lies broken in two in 155 feet of water. It is a popular dive spot along with the U-853. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Lamac19 (talkcontribs) 17:05, 25 December 2010 (UTC)




Many years ago I talked to the US Coast Guard about their error regarding a fire at a Block Island Lighthouse, and they never corrected their web site. No lighthouse on Block Island ever had a fire, and certainly none ever burned down. (The 1857 lighthouse was torn down on purpose because a sand dune built up, obscuring the light from the lens.) The person self-proclaimed as "HebrewHammer" shows the faults of letting "anyone" change the contents of Wikipedia sites. Ask the Coast Guard, for instance, to provide proof of their claim, and you will find no answer forthcoming. The Block Island Wikipedia site was fine until HebrewHammer began ruining it with his limited knowledge and persistent abuse. This is an idiot.—Preceding unsigned comment added by 216.227.123.202 (talk) 00:46, 6 November 2007 (UTC)

Right, I'm an idiot for going and researching topics about Block Island and then writing them in the wikipedia article. Simply put, I am perfectly willing to believe that the Coast Guard is incorrect, however you really need to provide some kind of source for that statement. Maybe an email, or a book. There has to be someone saying the coast guard is wrong on this in writing somewhere, and the only source I can find that doesn't mention the lighthouse burning down is [2]. This website doesn't cite any edited sources, though, so I don't know how trustworthy it really is.
I'm perfectly willing to work with you to improve this article because I want it to be as good an article as all of the other destinations on Wikipedia (Why should Newport or Martha's Vineyard have a better article than us?), but I'm not going to work with you if you just go and call me an idiot after I completed research on the topic to verify the claims in the chronology. (And add new ones. If you read my history, you'll see that I added to the chronology as well)
Now the bad news is that I am currently away from my university's library, but when I get back there in a month I can check out some of their books. From an online search of their catalog, they seem to have a few books about lighthouses that might offer some clues. I'll also be on Block Island soon, so I can check out their catalog too.
With that said I am reverting back to my history, but I am leaving out the part about the fire until it can be verified. HebrewHammerTime 08:00, 6 November 2007 (UTC)

Making Block Island like the rest of the world is the last thing we want to do. Keeping easy to digest facts in Wikipedia, that are accurate, is far better than reading tedious paragraphs; and even all the better if some facts are considered quirky. For instance, that is precisely why people go to Block Island for vacations, for the individuality of the place, and not to Hartford, Connecticut. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 65.219.212.86 (talk) 14:52, 1 November 2007 (UTC)

But this is an encyclopedia. This isn't an advertisement, this isn't a brochure, it's supposed to be an article about what Block Island is like. And if you find my writing tedious, then why don't you try to improve it? Creating a chronology just destroys it and results in people thinking Block Island's article isn't as good as other ones. HebrewHammerTime 15:14, 1 November 2007 (UTC)


Leave the "encyclopedic chronology" alone; it is charming, informative, and eminently useful. A chronology is nothing but a list, and encyclopedias are full of them; this chronology is better, though, than any regular list. Add your own facts if you wish, but don't make errors. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 65.219.212.86 (talk) 15:30, 1 November 2007 (UTC)

I'm really trying to see things your way, but I simply can't. Take a look at this article: New Haven, Connecticut (specifically, New Haven, Connecticut#Towns_created_from_New_Haven. I think this article's history section provides a really good example of when a list is useful in a history section. Writing that list in paragraphs wouldn't make any sense. But the rest of the information in there, for example when New Haven was founded and facts about Eli Whitney and Samuel Colt are given in a prose format, even though the article contains many dates. If you have any counter examples of reasonably good articles showing a chronology effectively, please post them. I've been trying to find some, and simply put, I can't find any articles about geographical locations containing chronologies other than Block Island. HebrewHammerTime 15:59, 1 November 2007 (UTC)
And PS. You're bumping up against WP:3RR. HebrewHammerTime 16:00, 1 November 2007 (UTC)


A great source for history of Block Island, I've found, is Livermore's "A History of Block Island", published 1877 and can be read now at archive.org — Preceding unsigned comment added by Ecointer (talkcontribs) 17:14, 24 August 2011 (UTC)

North Light Fire[edit]

After doing some research, it appears that the anonymous user was correct in that North Light never burnt down. It deteriorated to the point of being replaced 3 times, but never due to fire. —Preceding unsigned comment added by HebrewHammerTime (talkcontribs) 15:09, 8 January 2008 (UTC)

Merge New Shoreham with Block Island?[edit]

I think that both New Shoreham and Block Island should be one article. Yes, there is only one town on Block Island - New Shoreham - but, to me, to have two articles talking about the same thing is a bit redundant. Thus, both these articles should be merged. --Daniel Blanchette (talk) 22:16, 13 June 2008 (UTC)

Block Island is an island. New Shoreham is a town on the island. These are not the same thing. --Xaliqen (talk) 10:16, 9 March 2010 (UTC)
I disagree; they are the same thing. Consider: there aren't separate articles on Nantucket (the town) and Nantucket (the island); or Manhattan (the borough) and Manhattan (the island); or Staten Island (the borough) and Staten Island (the island), or on Sri Lanka (the island) and Sri Lanka (the country). The geography, history, industry, etc. of New Shoreham are indistinguishable from those of Block Island. If they should be separate articles, how do you decide what goes in one and what in the other? At present, demographics is in the New Shoreham article and everything else is in the Block Island article, but that's pretty artificial and not well-motivated. AJD (talk) 05:47, 18 June 2010 (UTC)
(To be clear, New Shoreham isn't just "a town on the island"; it's the town whose territory consists exactly of that of the island. AJD (talk) 05:48, 18 June 2010 (UTC))
They are very much the same thing. The articles should be merged. -- HebrewHammerTime (talk) 13:42, 4 July 2010 (UTC)
I request more verifiable information before a merge is considered. Islanders commonly consider the town and island as separate in everyday speech, de-facto legal definitions notwithstanding. Though, the name New Shoreham is rarely used in casual interactions (unless referencing a specific entity or organisation the name of which is, in part, comprised of the aforesaid title). If the merge is to be considered, the prevalence of such names in the popular lexicon should be examined and explained where appropriate. --Xaliqen (talk) 22:34, 22 August 2010 (UTC)

the sale of alcohol on block island[edit]

I came to this article after I noticed that you can purchase wine and beer at the grocery store, which is not possible in the rest of the state. I thought there might be an explanation for this. Does anyone know why New Shoreham is the exception? 68.9.130.10 (talk) 03:26, 27 May 2009 (UTC)

Llamas?[edit]

Is the "they also shot every llama" quote spam? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 84.30.90.145 (talk) 21:31, 11 September 2012 (UTC)

B.I. Pottery[edit]

I certainly don't claim to be a wealth of knowledge on Block Island, put I would like to add my two cents here:

My family spent months in Galilee every summer of my childhood; I practically grew up at Sand Hill Cove and Georges. When I think of Block Island (which was my favorite event of each summer, second only to Georges' crab cakes), to be perfectly honest, I think of that beautiful blue pottery you guys have out there. Isn't that a trademark of the island? I could've sworn that my Mom always said you could only get that brand (maybe it was homemade?) on the island.

Again, I'm no authority on the B.I., so I very well could be wrong, but I just thought it was worth mentioning. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Xanderbug (talkcontribs) 20:17, 16 July 2009 (UTC)

I don't think this is unique to Block Island. HebrewHammerTime (talk) 13:38, 4 July 2010 (UTC)

QE2 Accident[edit]

The QE2 accident listed under Incidents didn't happen in Block Island waters. The ship ran aground off of Cuttyhunk near Martha's Vineyard, which is approx. 25 miles from Block Island. The article gives the wrong impression as to the location of the accident and should be deleted. 98.225.195.83 (talk) 04:14, 30 September 2012 (UTC)