1.   Historical note

2.   Scope and content

3.   Provenance

4.   Processing note

5.   Inventory

6.   Subjects

    List of finding aids

    R.I.H.S. Library page

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 Narragansett Pier Railroad Company Records

 Railroad company, Narragansett, R.I.

 Records, 1868-1942. Bulk, 1902-1926.

 Size: 0.5 linear feet

 Catalog number: MSS 483 sg 34

 Processed by: Rick Stattler, June 1996

©Rhode Island Historical Society

Manuscripts Division


Historical note:

            The Narragansett Pier Railroad Company was incorporated in 1868, led by the Hazard and Sprague families, and began operations in 1876. It operated an eight-mile connecting railroad from the New York, Providence and Boston Railroad stop at Kingston, Rhode Island to the shore at Narragansett Pier. It handled both freight and passengers.

            In 1911, the line was leased to the Rhode Island Company for 99 years, against a guarantee of 4% dividends. During World War I, the United States government assumed control of most mass transit, and failed to pay these dividends. In 1919, the Narragansett Pier Railroad regained control of the line from the Rhode Island Company, which had gone into receivership, the same week that the line was released from Federal control. At this point, the line's profitability was seriously compromised by competition from a trolley line and bus service.

            By 1921, the company was in financial trouble, and needed cash grants from the towns of South Kingstown and Narragansett to remain in operation. It was debating whether to replace its three steam-driven locomotives with gasoline- or electric-powered ones. In 1925, the company began to operate a bus service from Providence to Wakefield, in addition to its rail service.

            Four generations of the Hazard family remained closely connected with the railroad for the time covered by this collection. Rowland Hazard III (1881-1945) resigned as president in 1928 due to ill health; in 1941, his brother Thomas P. Hazard (1892-1968) held the post. The company was sold to American Associates in 1946 for $25,000.


"Money Talks", article in Railway Age, 5/20/1921

Henwood, James N.J. A Short Haul to the Bay: A History of the Narragansett Pier Railroad (Brattleboro, Vt.: Stephen Greene Press, 1969).

Letter in this collection, N.T. Bacon to Interstate Commerce Commission, 6/3/1920

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Scope and content:

            The bulk of this small collection consists of scattered correspondence of railroad presidents Rowland G. Hazard II (1855-1918) and his sons Rowland Hazard III (1881-1945) and Thomas P. Hazard (1892-1968), dated from 1902 to 1942. No records of stock shares or finances have been found, and even the correspondence files are only partial. There are also copies of treasurer's reports from 1925 to 1930, and a few scattered items from the nineteenth century.

            The 1921 correspondence file is of particular interest for its discussion of electrification plans and references to the recently ended federal control of the line. Also, in the 1941 file is a June 18 letter from Sumner Gerard, soliciting Hazard's support as a captain of industry for a covert national anti-union campaign that operated under the title of "Committee for Constitutional Government."

            The Baker Library at the Harvard University Business School holds four boxes of records from the company and its affiliates. The California State Railroad Museum and Library holds 25 photographs of the company's locomotives dating from 1931 to 1962.

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            These papers were donated by the Hazard family as part of the Hazard Family Papers in 1985. They had been deposited in 1975.

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Processing note:

            This collection is part of the Hazard Family Papers, which were processed with support from the Rhode Island Committee for the Humanities, the Beinecke Foundation, and the extended Hazard Family.

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Series 1: Correspondence.

Box 1, folder 1. 1902-1911, letter book. Letters by Rowland G. Hazard as president.

Box 1, folder 2. 1905-1906, letters received. Not a complete file.

Box 1, folder 3. 1911-1914, loose letter copies. Sent on behalf of Rowland G. Hazard.

Box 1, folder 4. 1918-1921, copies of correspondence re federal control and scheduling.

Box 1, folder 5. 1921, alphabetical file. A-H, misc.

Box 1, folder 6. 1921, alphabetical file. I-R, misc.

Box 1, folder 7. 1921, alphabetical file. S-Z, misc.

Box 1, folder 8. 1921, meeting notices.

Box 1, folder 9. 1926

Box 1, folder 10. 1927-1929

Box 1, folder 11. 1937-1942.

Series 2: Miscellaneous

Box 1, folder 12. Agreements, 1879-1902

Box 1, folder 13. Balance sheets, 1938-1941

Box 1, folder 14. Incorporation, 1868; by-laws, 1875

Box 1, folder 15. Minutes, 1926

Box 1, folder 16. Reports, 1893-1900

Box 1, folder 17. Reports, 1925-1930

Box 1, folder 18. Miscellaneous, 1876-1903:

            Published correspondence between Rowland G. Hazard and Elisha R. Potter, 1876

            Receipt from Asa Steadman, 1881

            Blank mortgage bond, 1895

            Annual meeting notices, 1897, 1902, 1903

            Proposed electric car schedule, 1901

            Instructions for running trains, 1902

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Committee for Constitutional Government

Gerard, Sumner

Hazard, Rowland III (1881-1945)

Hazard, Rowland G. II (1855-1918)

Hazard, Thomas P. (1892-1968)

Railroads - Rhode Island

Trade-unions - Law and legislation

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