Corner of Marlborough and Farewell Streets, Newport , RI 02840
Great Friends Meeting House is a meeting house of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) built in 1699 in Newport, Rhode Island. The meeting house, which is part of the Newport Historic District, is currently open as a museum owned by the Newport Historical Society. It is the oldest surviving house of worship in Rhode Island and features wide-plank floors, plain benches, a balcony, a beam ceiling, and a shingle exterior. Significant additions were made in 1730, 1807, 1857, and 1867.
The Quaker community in Newport largely controlled the culture and politics of the town in the 17th and 18th centuries, and many Quakers lived nearby in the historic "Easton’s Point" section of Newport, where their houses have survived. The meeting house was used as a house of worship until the New England Yearly Meeting of Friends departed in 1905. The local African American community used the building as a community center until the 1970s when architect Orin M. Bullock restored the building, and in 1971 its owner Mrs. Sydney L. Wright donated the structure to the Newport Historical Society.