Great Friends Meeting House

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Friends Meetinghouse
Newport Friends Meetinghouse.JPG
Meetinghouse in 2008
Great Friends Meeting House is located in Rhode Island
Great Friends Meeting House
Great Friends Meeting House is located in the US
Great Friends Meeting House
Location 30 Farewell St
Newport, Rhode Island
Coordinates 41°29′31.23″N 71°18′46.98″W / 41.4920083°N 71.3130500°W / 41.4920083; -71.3130500Coordinates: 41°29′31.23″N 71°18′46.98″W / 41.4920083°N 71.3130500°W / 41.4920083; -71.3130500
Built 1699
Part of Newport Historic District (Rhode Island) (#68000001)
Added to NRHP November 24, 1968[1]

Great Friends Meeting House is a meeting house of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) built in 1699 in Newport, Rhode Island. The meeting house, which is part of the Newport Historic District, is currently open as a museum owned by the Newport Historical Society. It is the oldest surviving house of worship in Rhode Island and features wide-plank floors, plain benches, a balcony, a beam ceiling, and a shingle exterior. Significant additions were made in 1730, 1807, 1857, and 1867. The meeting house was built on land owned by Nicholas Easton who donated his land in the 1670s and likely his house for the first Quaker meeting house which was located nearby on Farewell Street before the current meeting house was built in 1699.

The Quaker community in Newport largely controlled the culture and politics of the town in the 17th and 18th centuries, and many Quakers lived nearby in the historic "Easton's Point" section of Newport, where their houses have survived. The meeting house was used as a house of worship until the New England Yearly Meeting of Friends departed in 1905. The local African American community used the building as a community center until the 1970s when architect Orin M. Bullock restored the building, and in 1971 its owner Mrs. Sydney L. Wright donated the structure to the Newport Historical Society.

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