whispering pines conference center

401 Victory Highway, West Greenwich, RI 02817 | (GPS 27 Loutitt Lane West Greenwich, RI 02817)

W. Alton Jones Campus | wpines@etal.uri.edu401-874-8100

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History Archives

Too Strange To Be Made Up

Strange Happenings   During its 50 years of operation by URI, the campus has been caught up in some rather strange events. Perhaps the most famous of these occurred in 1976 when then-Governor Phillip Noel planned to visit the campus to speak at a meeting of the Providence Newspaper Guild. As the governor’s helicopter was […]

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$5 Per Acre

Establishing Hianloland Farm   In the late 1920s, William Easton “Faddie” Louttit and his wife Sophia Robley Louttit acquired several adjacent farms west of what is now Route 102 for about $5 per acre and established Hianloland Farm. Additional acquisitions in the 1930s brought the farm’s total acreage to about 2,500. Named for the rolling […]

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A Dedication and An Alumni College

URI’s Alumni Bulletin: August 1964   A balmy April 18 with false summer in the air was the day for a double celebration at URI. In the morning the W. Alton Jones Campus in West Greenwich was dedicated. Secretary of the Interior Stewart L. Udall and Mrs. W. Alton Jones, who with her late husband […]

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The Gang that Always Liked Ike

Eisenhower’s Favorite Few   For a window into a president’s soul, look at his closest personal friends. Dwight D. Eisenhower liked to decompress with a circle of wealthy businessmen who sometimes called themselves “the Gang.” Among these friends were William E. Robinson, a New York Herald Tribune executive and later president of Coca-Cola; Ellis D. […]

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George Wheatley

From Hianloland Farm to the W. Alton Jones Campus   Several years prior to the sale of Hianloland Farm by the Louttits, George Wheatley was hired as a part-time helper at the game farm, and by 1953 he took over as its manager[…] “One day Easton asked me to come over to the farm where […]

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The Jones Years

An Overview   When the property became too much for the Louttit family to maintain, it was put up for sale in 1954 and purchased by oil company executive William “Pete” Alton Jones. Continuing to call it Hianloland Farm, he used it as a private hunting and fishing resort. Jones got us up at 6 […]

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Woodvale Farm

It all began with six farmers In 1709, the lands that make up what is now West Greenwich were purchased by thirteen wealthy farmers, six of whom acquired the collection of plots that would become the W. Alton Jones Campus. The rocky soil – little more than glacial till left over from the last ice […]

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A Generous Man and An Untimely Death

W. Alton Jones (1891-1962)   As president of Cities Service Co., Jones could be considered the original “frequent flier,” traveling as much as 150,000 miles per year. Whenever he traveled, he always carried large sums of money with him, usually including a $10,000 bill in a gold money clip and another $75,000 in cash in […]

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A Royal Visitor

His Majesty, Mahendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev, the King of Nepal   Eisenhower never slept at Whispering Pines, even though the master bedroom in the house is now called the Eisenhower Suite. Instead, the president flew back to Fort Adams or the Newport Naval Base each night. But his visits were apparently quite memorable, even […]

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President Eisenhower Visits

A Fostered Friendship The highlight of the Jones years was four visits to the property by President Dwight D. Eisenhower. An important supporter of the Republican Party, Jones had met and become friendly with the president in the early 1950s, and he even purportedly purchased property in Texas adjacent to a farm owned by Eisenhower […]

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