NORTH KINGSTOWN – There is a rich history where the Quonset Business Park is growing by leaps and bounds.
Much of it is of a proud, patriotic nature dating to World War II when a mighty military presence ruled the North Atlantic. The names are significant in American history: The Quonset Point Naval Air Station, the Davisville Naval Construction Center at Camp Endicott – birthplace of the Seabees – and a fleet of aircraft carriers including the USS vessels Essex, Wasp, Lake Champlain, Antietam, Cabot, Intrepid and Tarawa.
From the 1950s to the ‘70s, the base was home to Antarctic Development Squadron Six.
Long before the war, it was the birthplace of an Italian family’s American dream of prosperity. It was the Romano Farm and Vineyard, a 370-acre spread bounded by Post and Newcomb roads and Camp Avenue.
More than 30 years ago, while working at another newspaper, I interviewed then-State Senator John Romano and his brother Ernest at the site of the former farm. As they walked, they reminded one another of where certain trees had stood, where the rear piazza was located.
They described how, beginning in 1908, their grandparents, parents and uncles started a vineyard that, at its peak, produced 100,000 gallons of wine a year from Concord, Clinton, Delaware and Catawba grapes.
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