Colt State Park
occupies on Poppasquash Neck adjoining the town of Bristol, Rhode Island
and includes trails, picnic groves, a public boat ramp, an observation tower and the open air Chapel by the Sea. The park lands were previously owned by Bristol industrialist Samuel P. Colt
. The park is situated alongside the East Bay Bike Path
connecting Bristol with East Providence
thumb | right | 300px | Colt State Park shoreline
In or around 1905, Samuel P. Colt purchased and consolidated the Chase, Church and Van Wickle farms. He built a summer house ("The Casino") on the grounds, as well as a stone barn to accommodate a prize herd of Jersey cattle
. The marble gates of the main entrance, modeled after the approach to the Petit Trianon
and unveiled in 1913, bear an inscription: "Colt Farm, Private Property, Public Welcome". A pair of life size bull statues, named Conrad and Pomeroy, guard the gate to the park.
Colt died in 1921, and the lands passed to his Industrial Trust Company. According to the previsions of Colt's will
, the farm remained open to the public. Over time, the grounds suffered from vandalism, and a number of statues were destroyed or stolen. Many of the statues were relocated to Linden Place for safe keeping.
In 1965, the State of Rhode Island
purchased Colt Farm, and on August 21, 1968, the lands were dedicated as Colt State Park by Rhode Island Governor John Chafee
. A statue of Chafee now stands in the park.