The Newport Bridge, later renamed to honor Senator Claiborne Pell, opened in1969, linking the Newport to Jamestown, and ultimately to mainland Rhode Island. In 1973, shortly before leaving the Presidency in disgrace, Nixon pulled the Navy out of Newport. This had terrible financial consequences for the city. Historically, Newport was a city renowned for its traditional architecture with quaint colonial houses and Gilded Age mansions. Its location along the coast was an ideal and picturesque setting. With all of its natural beauty and attractions,Newport suffered economically due to the loss of the Navy. Concerned Newporters,aware of the national and regional economic downturn, experimented with ways to increase tourism in Newport. One such event was Monumenta, an outdoor sculptural exhibit that opened in Newport in August of 1974. Monumenta began as a modest idea and rapidly escalated into a citywide outdoor sculpture exhibit. William Crimmins, a local Middletown resident and schoolmaster, was the catalyst behind the idea. It was an idea that some would applaud and some would scorn.
Patrella, Diane M.
"Newport and Monumenta: The Ambition, Controversy, and Legacy of Contemporary Sculpture,"
Newport History: Vol. 76
, Article 12.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.salve.edu/newporthistory/vol76/iss256/12