Who doesn’t love a good mystery? Especially one that involves espionage, secret symbols, code words, significant ties to early Colonial history … and is located right in our back yard. At the March Varnum Continentals Member Dinner meeting, we’ll get an insider’s look at the mysterious Newport Tower, the 28-foot high remains of a round stone tower in Newport’s Tuoro Park. In colonial times, the tower had been used as a windmill (owned by RI’s first Governor, Benedict Arnold), a munitions storage facility by the British, and a lookout point by the Americans. But what are its origins?
Theories about the tower’s origins are far-flung, ranging from Medieval Templars to 15th-century Chinese sailors. Nordic and Portuguese explorers are also theorized to be builders of the tower. But Jim Egan of the Newport Tower Museum has his own theory that the tower is the remains of an old fort, built in the late 1500s to be the city-center of a thriving colony, Elizabethan England’s gateway to North America.
Mr. Egan also presents evidence that the tower was built to exacting astronomical alignments that allow the tower to function as a grand time-keeping device, complete with a camera obscura or calendar room.
About the speaker: Jim Egan has worked as a professional photographer in Providence for 30 years. He invented and marketed a line of photographic tools. Jim is a member of the New England Antiquities Research Association and the Renaissance Society of America.
To use a word coined by Buckminster Fuller, Jim considers himself a “comprehensivist,” someone who studies the interrelationships between various fields of study, in this case, mathematics, optics, astronomy, and history. For more information, go to newporttowermuseum.com. Be sure to view the videos on the site.
LOCATION: Varnum Memorial Armory Museum, East Greenwich, RI.
DATE: Monday, March 14, 2016
TIME: 5:30 p.m. (social hour); 6:30 p.m. (dinner followed by program)
MENU: St. Patrick’s Day Favorites (Corned Beef and Cabbage Dinner) plus Coffee & Pastries
Please RSVP by FRIDAY, MARCH 11, to Scott Seaback at 401-413-6277 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.