A Short History of the
Gaspee Days Committee
|Believe it! Gaspee Days
has been celebrated since 1774
when George Washington
himself paid just over 3 Shillings to view the fireworks in
Williamsburg, Virginia in observance of the second anniversary of the
Burning of the Gaspee.
In the early years after the Revolution, those daring patriots that
took part in the destruction of the Gaspee
rode in carriages of honor at early
Parades and other celebratory events. At the US Centennial
celebrations c1872-1876, large Festivals
were held by the people of Rhode Island which honored this event. The
last recalled early Gaspee Parade was
held c1907, but for a long time people all but forgot about this
important point in our Nation's history.
In 1965 David
Stackhouse, chairman of
Heritage Committee, and a small group of interested
citizens from the Pawtuxet Village
area became convinced
that the "First Blow for Freedom" had been kept secret for far too long
and that a fitting annual observance should be held to commemorate our
state's participation in the struggle for independence. The Gaspee Days
Committee was established by this group to assure a continued
celebration in recognition of our brave forefathers.
The first modern Gaspee Day Parade
place in June, 1966. Since that time, all sorts of different celebrations have been
produced, some successful, some long-gone;
but the Gaspee Days Parade has
been the core event since 1966 and has grown in size over the years to
the present two-hour spectacle. Now, most people in the
surrounding communities cannot envision life without the annual Gaspee
The Gaspee Days Committee has made every effort to provide a schedule that is both entertaining and informative to all ages. Always foremost is our desire to acquaint the public with an event that is as much a part of our national heritage as Paul Revere's ride and the Battles of Lexington and Concord. The Burning of the Gaspee was the first link in the chain of events that led directly to the Declaration of Independence.
The committee has been the recipient of the George Washington Honor Medal from the Freedoms Foundation, and the first Certificate of Merit from the Rhode Island Bicentennial Commission. Gaspee Days is listed by Discover America as one of the top twenty tourist events in the United States.
In 1992 the City of Warwick gave title of the historic Aspray Boat
to the Gaspee Days Committee for use as a community center and meeting
house. The boathouse is located along Pawtuxet Cove in a small
park in the center of Pawtuxet Village. Through the volunteer efforts
members of the Gaspee Days Committee, the International Brotherhood of
Electrical Workers, and other community-spirited union activists the
extensive renovations necessary were completed.
Please join us along with the State of Rhode Island and the cities of Cranston, Warwick, and Providence in celebrating each anniversary of America's "First Blow for Freedom"TM.
|Go to more extensive files on the History of the Gaspee Days Committee|