Gould Island (Rhode Island)

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File:Aerial view of Gould Island - 01.jpg
Aerial view of Gould Island
File:Gould Island in 1907 advertisement.jpg
A 1907 advertisement for the sale of Gould Island and a McKim, Meade and White building

Gould Island lies east of Conanicut Island in Narragansett Bay in the U.S. state of Rhode Island. The island is a part of the town of Jamestown, Rhode Island, and has a land area of 55.3 acres (22.4 ha).


Native Americans named the island "Aquopimokuk". In 1657 Thomas Gould, a colonist, purchased the island from the Native Americans. The island remained privately owned until the early twentieth century. Gould sold the island to Thomas Cranston. Later owners included the Carr family and Joseph Wanton, Jr., who lost the property for having Loyalist sympathies during the American Revolution. In 1778 during the American Revolution, Captain Wallace, a British naval leader, constructed "Owl's Nest", a military fort, on the island. In 1803 Caleb Gardner purchased the forfeited island. A lighthouse was built on the island in 1889 (it was demolished in 1960).

Several successive private owners owned the island throughout the nineteenth century. In 1909 Richard L. Howell purchased the island, and his daughter and son-in-law Percy D. Haughton inherited the island and Howell's McKim, Mead, and White house after Howell's death. Percy Haughton was Harvard College's football coach, and he used the island for training the football team.[1]

In 1919 the U.S. Navy acquired the entire island to expand its nearby torpedo station on Goat Island. The Navy requisitioned the island from the Haughton family. An airbase was constructed on the island in 1919 with hangars and a seaplane landing site for naval torpedo planes. The airfield was discontinued in the 1950s. As of 2009, the State of Rhode Island owns part of the island as a wildlife sanctuary. The Navy and Naval Undersea Warfare Center still own and utilize the remainder of the island.[2]


  1. "A GOULD ISLAND CHRONOLOGY And Some Associated Historical Notes" By Captain Frank Snyder (USN Ret Naval War College Professor) Jamestown Historical Society [1] (PDF)(Accessed January 4, 2009)
  2. Abandoned & Little-Known Airfields, [2] (accessed January 3, 2008)