A bit of Middletown history is in the middle of one of the busiest intersections in the state where East Main and West Main roads meet. Learn more about the Two Mile Corner stone here, the subject of this month's "Where Am I?" #WhereAmI #MiddletownRI
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“WHERE AM I?” ANSWER — MARCH 2022
MIDDLETOWN, R.I. (MARCH 7, 2022) – The year is 1825.
John Quincy Adams is sworn into office as the sixth President of the United States. Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 is performed for the first time in England and the main mode of transportation everywhere remains horses and foot traffic, with the invention of the automobile still at least 60 years away.
At this time, a new four foot tall piece of slate is installed where East Main and West Main roads meet, an area known today as Two Mile Corner.
On it, a southward pointing hand notes it’s two miles from Newport, while another directs travels to north and explains its nine miles to the Bristol Ferry in Portsmouth, which used to shuttle people across Mount Hope Bay to Bristol.
Although almost everything about the area has changed in the close to 200 years since, the Two Mile stone remains, a sign of Middletown’s past and connection to today.
“Whenever possible, we work hard to preserve Middletown history,” Town Administrator Shawn J. Brown said. “Our clerk’s staff does an amazing job keeping the official records of Middletown and the Middletown Historical Society is always looking for new ways to bring that history alive. Those are just two examples of the outstanding work we have happening here to help make Middletown what it is today while remembering our past.”
A big reason the stone has such a prominent place today is thanks to the state Department of Transportation.
During a major project to completely upgrade the Two Mile Corner intersection mostly in 2016 and 2017, the DOT took great pains to make sure the Two Mile stone was protected.
Depending on who you speak to, Two Mile Corner earned its nickname because it’s two miles from Newport City Hall or the Colony House that once was the Rhode Island Statehouse.
From the beginning of the project, Town Councilwoman M. Theresa Santos was adamant that the Two Mile stone be preserved and put back in place. As a lifelong Middletown resident, Santos has said it’s important to keep as much of the community’s past alive.
Recently, Santos said she was very pleased with the work DOT did to preserve the stone while the road improvement project was ongoing.
She said the Middletown Historical Society, for which she serves as treasurer, documented the process where the stone was wrapped, boxed and stored behind the old Paradise School on Prospect Avenue for safekeeping.
“They did a really nice job taking care of the stone and making sure it was put back where it needed to be,” Santos said. “They fixed that area up nicely and every time I drive by, it makes me happy that it’s still there. These things are important so we remember our history.”
Today, more than 52,000 vehicles pass the stone in a 48-hour period at Two Mile Corner, according to the latest state Department of Transportation traffic counts. That makes it the busiest area of state road on Aquidneck Island — and among the busiest in Rhode Island.
With those counts, Realtors and developers say Two Mile Corner is among the Top 10 most sought after intersections in the Ocean State, quite a change from close to 200 years ago when the Two Mile stone was first planted.
Document Link: https://www.middletownri.com/DocumentCenter/View/4070/WAI-Answer-March-2022