Norman Bird Sanctuary is a 325-acre (1.32 km2) bird sanctuary, nature preserve, environmental education center, and museum at 583 Third Beach Road in Middletown, Rhode Island overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.
Smith–Gardiner–Norman Farm Historic District
|Location||583 Third Beach Rd., Middletown, Rhode Island|
|Area||129 acres (52 ha)|
|Architect||Clarke and Howe|
|Architectural style||Federal, Colonial Revival|
|NRHP reference No.||08000234|
|Added to NRHP||June 16, 2008|
In 1949, the Norman Bird Sanctuary was founded through a bequest in the will of Mabel Norman Cerio. The Sanctuary comprises the largest area of preserved open space in Newport County. There are 325 acres and 7 miles of hiking trails. The refuge contains hay fields, woodlands and ridges overlooking the ocean and ponds. Hanging Rock, a prominent local landmark, is located within the sanctuary overlooking the ocean. There is also a Visitor's Center and gift shop, and a 19th-century barn museum featuring displays about the wildlife for children and adults.
The property of the Norman Bird Sanctuary has an agricultural history dating to the early 18th century, when a large tract of land was purchased by Isaac Smith, a descendant of one of the area's first settlers. The main farmhouse on the property is a typical Colonial-era farmhouse, five bays wide with a large central chimney, and dates to about 1755. The property, then 200 acres (81 ha), was auctioned to pay debts in 1782; the purchaser was Benjamin Gardiner. In 1898 George Norman, a Newport businessman, purchased the farm, then reduced to about 129 acres (52 ha), and it was his daughter Mabel who modernized the house and gave it a more Colonial Revival appearance. This core portion of the sanctuary was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2008.
- "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
- http://www.normanbirdsanctuary.org/ (May 18, 2010)
- "NRHP nomination for Smith-Gardiner-Norman Farm Historic District" (PDF). Rhode Island Preservation. Retrieved 2014-10-20.
- Official Norman Bird Sanctuary Wildlife Refuge website
- The Scenic Third Beach Project—includes a map of the Norman Bird Sanctuary and surrounding area