Quonset Point

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Coordinates: 41°35′42″N 71°24′54″W / 41.595°N 71.415°W / 41.595; -71.415

Quonset Point in the 1960s

Quonset Point, also known simply as Quonset, is a small peninsula in Narragansett Bay in the U.S. state of Rhode Island. It is contained entirely within the town of North Kingstown. Its name is widely known from the Quonset hut, which was first manufactured there. "Quonset" is a Native American word likely meaning "small long place".[1]

Quonset Point was the location of Naval Air Station Quonset Point, a large United States Navy base. The peninsula is now used for industrial purposes and is partially abandoned. A major industrial tenant is a hull-fabrication and outfitting facility for Electric Boat Corporation.

Rhode Island Route 403 is a freeway branching from Route 4 that serves the area; Quonset is also served by a railroad spur from Amtrak's Northeast Corridor. The Providence and Worcester Railroad which provides freight service along this stretch of the Corridor delivers freight to the Seaview Railroad { http://www.inrailgroup.com/seaview/index.html } which provides local freight service within the industrial park. The section of the Northeast Corridor between Quonset Point/Davisville and the junction with the P&W's main line at Boston Switch in Central Falls, R.I. has recently been upgraded to handle 19-foot (5.8 m) high auto carriers. [2]

Port of Davisville[edit]

In 2009, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) decided that the Port would be home to the Okeanos Explorer, a one-of-a-kind research vessel devoted entirely to exploring unknown parts of the world's oceans. It’s a former Navy surveillance ship acquired by the NOAA and converted into a deep sea research vessel.[2]

Transportation[edit]

The Quonset Business Park offers an extensive mix of transportation opportunities:

•The Port of Davisville offers 4,500 feet (1,400 m) of berthing space, consisting of two Piers (each 1,200 feet (370 m) in length), a bulkhead, 29 ft (8.8 m) channel draft, on-dock rail and a 14-acre (57,000 m2) lay down area;

•The Quonset Airport, managed by the Rhode Island Airport corporation and operated by AvPorts is a general aviation facility with a 7,500 ft (2,300 m) runway, a staffed control tower and an Instrument Landing System;

•Rail service within the Park is provided by Seaview Transportation Co., Inc. and consists of approximately 14 miles (23 km) of track in two branches;

•The Quonset Business Park benefits from convenient access to Interstate 95 (4 miles) via a 4-lane limited-access highway.

•Ferry service to and from Oak Bluffs, Martha's Vineyard is provided by Rhode Island Fast Ferry, Inc. which operates a high-speed ferry out of the Business Park.

•The Rhode Island Public Transportation authority currently has bus stops at Electric Boat, The Gateway (Kohl's)and on Post Road on the border of the Quonset Business Park.[3] ĈĈ

Ferry dock[edit]

The ferry dock at Quonset Point is the main terminal for the Martha's Vineyard Fast Ferry Millennium to Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts. A shuttle bus leaves every hour before the ferry departs; and after the ferry arrives, a bus travels to the Providence Airport (T. F. Green State Airport) and the Kingston Amtrak Train Station.

Air Show[edit]

The Rhode Island Air Show is held annually by the Rhode Island National Guard and is perhaps the most well known event to take place on Quonset Point. The event began in 1991 as a relatively minor aviation exhibition but grew in attendance each year with the USAF Thunderbirds performing every even year and the USN Blue Angels performing every odd year, the Rhode Island National Guard also displayed their locally based C-130J Hercules aircraft and UH-60 Blackhawk Helicopters in combined forces demos. Military aircraft demonstrations that have been featured in the past have included the F-22 Raptor, F-16 Fighting Falcon, A-10 Thunderbolt II, F-15E Strike Eagle, EA-6B Prowler, and F/A-18C Hornet while civilian performers have included Sean D. Tucker, John Klatt, and Michael Goulian as well as the GEICO Skytypers. Attendance in 2011 was so high that the show was sold out after parking locations filled up. The 2012 show yielded a similar audience and each previous year had a normal attendance of over 200,000. However in 2013 the show was officially canceled due to Federal Budget Cuts, this caused all USAF units to cut aviation support to public events and the grounding of both the USN Blue Angels and USAF Thunderbirds, show organizers considered continuing the event as an all-civiian air show featuring aerobatic acts with the GEICO Skytypers being the headlining act however the National Guard stated that a show that exclusively featured civilian performers could not take place at a military installation, no such event took place in 2013.

In October 2013 internet rumors have surfaced about a possible 2014 show and how the Air National Guard was rounding up sponsors and performers for the event to return in 2014 with at least one major returning jet team to be featured, the USN Blue Angels which were supposed to headline in 2013 had already released their 2014 schedule which did not include Quonset while the USAF Thunderbirds which had headlined at the last show in 2012 had not yet released their schedule and a spokesperson for the team said that plans for the 2014 season were still underway.

In early December 2013 the Thunderbirds released their 2014 schedule which also did not include Quonset however show organizers are still planning to hold a conference regarding the event later in December. Without involvement by the Blue Angels or Thunderbirds it is still unlikely that a show will take place at Quonset again.

Other Events[edit]

Quonset Point in the 1960s from an aerial shot.

During the 1950s, Quonset Point was home port for the aircraft carriers, the USS Antietam, USS Tarawa, and the USS Leyte.

During the 1960s and early 1970s, four aircraft carriers used Quonset Point as their home port. The carriers were the USS Lake Champlain, the USS Essex, the USS Wasp, and the USS Intrepid.

BASE: Advancing a Post-Military Landscape An extensive photographic survey of the Quonset Point & Davisville Naval Bases completed in 2000 by Erik Carlson & Erica Carpenter.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Native American placenames of the United States, by William Bright, Edition: revised Published by University of Oklahoma Press, 2007, pg. 406 ISBN 0-8061-3598-0, ISBN 978-0-8061-3598-4, [1]
  2. ^ Kuffner, Alex (October 27, 2009). "Davisville is home port for NOAA research ship Okeanos Explorer". The Providence Journal. Retrieved July 15, 2011. 
  3. ^ Information provided by Quonset Development Corporation