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East Greenwich, Rhode Island facts for kids

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East Greenwich, Rhode Island
Historic District in downtown East Greenwich
Historic District in downtown East Greenwich
Location in Kent County and the state of Rhode Island.
Location in Kent County and the state of Rhode Island.
Country United States
State Rhode Island
County Kent
Incorporated 1677
 • Type Town Council and Manager
 • Total 16.71 sq mi (43.3 km2)
 • Land 16.58 sq mi (42.9 km2)
 • Water 0.14 sq mi (0.4 km2)
200 ft (61 m)
 • Total 14,312
 • Density 863.2/sq mi (333.3/km2)
Time zone UTC−5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 401
FIPS code 44-22240
GNIS feature ID 1220085

East Greenwich is a town and the county seat of Kent County, Rhode Island, United States. The population was 14,312 at the 2020 census. East Greenwich is the wealthiest municipality within the state of Rhode Island. It is part of the Providence metropolitan statistical area and the Greater Boston combined statistical area.

Formed as Greenwich in 1677, it was named for Greenwich, England. It was renamed Dedford in 1686 but reverted to its original name in 1689. In 1741 the more rural western three-quarters of the town was set off as West Greenwich, the remaining quarter of it thenceforth being called East Greenwich. Until 1854, it was one of the five state capitals for Rhode Island. The General Assembly, when meeting in East Greenwich, used the local courthouse, which is today the town hall. East Greenwich Village is located in the northeastern part of the town and extends north about 0.93 mi (1.5 km) into the city of Warwick, Rhode Island. The town is now known for its waterfront, renowned school district, and downtown restaurant/shopping district.


East Greenwich was founded in 1677 by the General Assembly in an attempt to solidify land claims against those of Connecticut and the Narragansett Proprietors. The Assembly designated 5000 acres to the new town and provided lots to settlers who would agree to live there. Locals quickly took the assembly up on this offer, and the quick establishment of the town helped hold back plans of Connecticut in pushing their border eastward. East Greenwich was therefore the only Rhode Island town established by an act of government, not commercial interests. In 1687, the Narragansett Proprietors attempted to settle land north of Wickford which overlapped with the land of East Greenwich; however, the Massachusetts governor Sir Edmund Andros, who had authority to settle the dispute, ruled in favor of the existing East Greenwich settlement.

In the 18th century, the government released previously reserved waterfront property in small lots. Beginning in 1711, the local government granted these lots to any person who would pay one shilling and promise to build a commercial building of a minimum size. By 1725, a community had developed, complete with a schoolhouse and a graveyard. However, citizens of the town complained that attending town meetings was too difficult due to the size of the town, which prompted the splitting of West Greenwich into its own town in 1741. The town erected a courthouse when East Greenwich was designated the shire town of the newly formed Kent County, which had been separated from Providence County in 1750.

In its colonial days, the town was also home to followers of Jemima Wilkinson, an ex-Quaker who later defected to the New Light Baptists. After she suffered from a severe illness, Wilkinson believed that she had died and that her body was now possessed by an entity which she called the "Publick Universal Friend". Her followers financed a meetinghouse within the town.


20 percent of the land in East Greenwich consists of undeveloped woods and farmland, although development continues to bring this proportion down.


Many restaurants, bars, and clubs sit on the waterfront. East Greenwich Cove also has ample boat parking. There is also a public dock good for fishing and eating, and a dock with a small beach. Across from the coast is Goddard Memorial State Park, which has many beaches including Sandy Point and has easy access from East Greenwich Cove.

Scalloptown Park has been completed at the southern end of Greenwich Cove, built atop the old town landfill. However, it is not part of historical Scalloptown, which was another name for the waterfront in earlier times. Home to a poor community of squatters in the late nineteenth century to the earliest twentieth century, Scalloptown became a community untethered from the rest of East Greenwich. In contrast to the other villages in East Greenwich, Scalloptown consisted primarily of poor whites and African Americans. The true Scalloptown goes from the town dock down past the clubs to Fin's Marina.

Legend of The Greenwich Voyager

In the Spring of 1791, US Navy Captain Joseph Jonathan (of Providence, Rhode Island) and his crew captured a group of high-class extortionists attempting to flee the United States. According to the Legend, Jonathan defected from his post upon returning from the battle and made off with almost 18,000 oz. of 21K gold. Without the evidence stolen by Jonathan, the extortionists were released from police custody. The events that followed are still unclear, but Jonathan was discovered dead in his home alongside all 7 members of the extortionist crew. According to the legend; the gold, which today would be valued at $19.5 million, is buried somewhere in the Frenchtown area, where Jonathan lived. His home was located inside of Goddard Memorial State Park in the North Eastern section, and it is believed by some that a description of the location of the gold is in that general vicinity. The legend warns that if the gold, which the town of East Greenwich is literally built upon, is moved, the town will crumble and all who live in it will turn against he who unearthed the gold.


Historical population
Year Pop. ±%
1708 240 —    
1730 1,223 +409.6%
1748 1,044 −14.6%
1755 1,167 +11.8%
1774 1,663 +42.5%
1776 1,664 +0.1%
1782 1,609 −3.3%
1790 1,824 +13.4%
1800 1,775 −2.7%
1810 1,530 −13.8%
1820 1,519 −0.7%
1830 1,591 +4.7%
1840 1,509 −5.2%
1850 2,358 +56.3%
1860 2,882 +22.2%
1870 2,660 −7.7%
1880 2,887 +8.5%
1890 3,127 +8.3%
1900 2,775 −11.3%
1910 3,420 +23.2%
1920 3,290 −3.8%
1930 3,666 +11.4%
1940 3,842 +4.8%
1950 4,923 +28.1%
1960 6,100 +23.9%
1970 9,577 +57.0%
1980 10,211 +6.6%
1990 11,865 +16.2%
2000 12,948 +9.1%
2010 13,146 +1.5%
2020 14,312 +8.9%
U.S. Decennial Census

As of the United States Census of 2000, there were 12,948 people, 4,960 households, and 3,541 families residing in the town. The population density was 781.0 people per square mile (301.5/km2). There were 5,226 housing units at an average density of 315.2 per square mile (121.7/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 96.64% White, 0.69% African American, 0.06% Native American, 2.50% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.29% from other races, and 0.82% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.90% of the population.

There were 4,960 households, out of which 36.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 61.5% were married couples living together, 7.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.6% were non-families. 24.2% of all households were made up of individuals, and 9.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.58 and the average family size was 3.12.

In the town, the population was spread out, with 27.5% under the age of 18, 4.6% from 18 to 24, 26.6% from 25 to 44, 27.7% from 45 to 64, and 13.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females, there were 93.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.5 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $98,063, and the median income for a family was $130,221. Males had a median income of $101,578 versus $90,934 for females. The per capita income for the town was $58,593. About 2.5% of families and 4.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 4.1% of those under age 18 and 7.0% of those age 66 or over.

In 2012–2016, according to the Rhode Island Department of Labor, the median family income was $142,648, the highest in Rhode Island.

East Greenwich and the adjacent Warwick neighborhoods of Cowesett and Potowomut are served by several media outlets: East Greenwich News (daily) East Greenwich Patch (daily), The East Greenwich Pendulum (weekly), The North East Independent (weekly) and East Greenwich magazine (monthly).

National Historic Places

Clement Weaver House Daniel Howland House in East Greenwich RI
Clement Weaver House, a historic stone ender, built 1679, is one of the oldest homes in Rhode Island.

Adjacent Towns

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See also

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