Johnston, Rhode Island

Johnston is a town in Providence County, Rhode Island, United States. The population was 28,769 at the 2010 census. Johnston is the site of the Clemence Irons House (1691), a stone-ender museum,[3] and the only landfill in Rhode Island. Incorporated on March 6, 1759, Johnston was named for the colonial attorney general, Augustus Johnston.[4][5]

Johnston, Rhode Island
Location in Providence County and the state of Rhode Island.
Location in Providence County and the state of Rhode Island.
Coordinates: 41°49′36″N 71°29′41″W / 41.82667°N 71.49472°WCoordinates: 41°49′36″N 71°29′41″W / 41.82667°N 71.49472°W
CountryUnited States
StateRhode Island
 • TypeMayor-Council
 • MayorJoe Polisena
 • Town CouncilRichard Delfino, III (D)
Anthony A. Verardo (D)
David J. Santilli (D)
Robert V. Russo (D)
Robert J. Civetti (D)
 • Total24.4 sq mi (63.1 km2)
 • Land23.7 sq mi (61.3 km2)
 • Water0.7 sq mi (1.8 km2)
318 ft (97 m)
 • Total28,769
 • Density1,213.9/sq mi (469.3/km2)
Time zoneUTC−5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC−4 (EDT)
ZIP Code
Area code(s)401
FIPS code44-37720[1]
GNIS feature ID1220073[2]


According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 24.4 square miles (63 km2). 23.7 square miles (61 km2) of it is land and 0.7 square miles (1.8 km2) (2.91%) is water.


Neighborhoods in Johnston: Thornton (includes part of Cranston), Graniteville, Hughesdale, Morgan Mills, Manton, Simmonsville, Pocasset, West End, Belknap, and Frog City.


Clemence Irons House, a rare stone-ender, built in 1691 in Johnston, Rhode Island

The area was first settled by English settlers in the seventeenth century as a farming community. In 1759 the town officially separated from Providence and was incorporated on March 6, 1759. Johnston was named for the current colonial attorney general, Augustus Johnston, who was later burned in effigy during the Stamp Act protests in 1765 and then fled Rhode Island as a Tory during the American Revolution in 1779.[5] The first house of worship in Johnston opened when the Baptist Meeting House in Belknap was constructed in 1771. During the American Revoluation Rhode Island's only gunpowder mill was constructed in Graniteville, and the town hosted American General John Sullivan for a dinner in 1779 upon his departure from Rhode Island to fight in New York. In 1790 the Belknap School, the first public school in the town, was founded. In 1791 the Providence and Norwich Turnpike (today's Plainfield Pike) was chartered.[6]


Historical population
Census Pop.
Est. 201529,247[7]1.7%
U.S. Decennial Census[8][9]

At the 2000 census,[1] there were 28,195 people, 11,197 households and 7,725 families residing in the town. The population density was 1,191.4 per square mile (459.9/km²). There were 11,574 housing units at an average density of 489.1 per square mile (188.8/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 96.66% White especially Italian Americans (46.7%), 0.65% African American, 0.13% Native American, 1.08% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 0.55% from other races, and 0.88% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.89% of the population.

There were 11,197 households of which 27.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.9% were married couples living together, 11.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.0% were non-families. 26.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.47 and the average family size was 3.02.

Age distribution was 20.9% under the age of 18, 6.3% from 18 to 24, 30.0% from 25 to 44, 23.9% from 45 to 64, and 18.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41 years. For every 100 females, there were 88.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 84.9 males.

The median household income was $43,514, and the median family income was $54,837. Males had a median income of $40,210 versus $29,314 for females. The per capita income for the town was $21,440. About 6.8% of families and 8.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 9.0% of those under age 18 and 13.6% of those age 65 or over.

In 2000, 46.7% of Johnston residents identified themselves as being of Italian heritage. This was the highest percentage of Italian Americans of any municipality in the country.[10]


The town is governed by a mayor (currently Joe Polisena) and a five-member town council.[11]


The Johnston Public School System has four elementary schools, one middle school and one high school. Johnston Senior High School is a 2005 Rhode Island Department of Education Regents' Commended School.[12]

In 2008, the Johnston School Committee decided to close both Graniteville and Calef Elementary schools. Students affected by the closures were transferred to Brown Avenue Elementary School and Winsor Hill Elementary School. This decision was not without controversy, as school officials, parents and teachers complained of inadequate staffing, increased neighborhood traffic and lack of attention for special-needs students.[13]


Johnston has one local weekly newspaper, the Johnston Sun Rise.[14] The paper is complimentary, and can be found in many Johnston businesses.

WJAR NBC News Channel 10 broadcasts in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. The news station is set in Providence, Rhode Island.[15]

WLNE-TV ABC 6 Rhode Island News Channel broadcasts in Rhode Island and Massachusetts.[16]

WPRI-TV 12 Fox 64 Providence Eyewitness News Channel broadcasts in Rhode Island and Massachusetts.[17]

New England Cable News channel ("NECN") is a cable news station based in Boston which covers all of New England's news.[18]


Insurance company FM Global is based in Johnston.

In 2018, Providence-based Citizens Bank opened a $285 million corporate campus in the town. The project encompasses 425,000 square feet and employs around 3,000 people.[19]

Notable people


  1. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  2. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. October 25, 2007. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  3. ^ "Clemence-Irons House, 1691". Historic New England. Archived from the original on October 3, 2006. Retrieved September 7, 2006.
  4. ^ Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. Govt. Print. Office. p. 170.
  5. ^ a b "Johnston Historical Society -- Johnston History". Johnston Historical Society. Retrieved October 30, 2006.
  6. ^ "Town of Johnston Timeline". Johnston Historical Society. Retrieved November 8, 2013.
  7. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2015". Archived from the original on June 2, 2016. Retrieved July 2, 2016.
  8. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on May 12, 2015. Retrieved June 4, 2016.
  9. ^ Snow, Edwin M. (1867). Report upon the Census of Rhode Island 1865. Providence, RI: Providence Press Company.
  10. ^ "Italian Ancestry". ePodunk. Retrieved May 8, 2006.
  11. ^ "Elected Officials". Town of Johnston. Retrieved April 6, 2017.
  12. ^ "Johnston Senior High School SALT Visit Team Report" (PDF). Rhode Island Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. October 21, 2005. Retrieved December 13, 2010.
  13. ^ Reynolds, Mark (January 31, 2008). "Johnston school problems cited". The Providence Journal. Archived from the original on February 3, 2008. Retrieved February 6, 2008.
  14. ^ "Johnston Sun Rise". Beacon Communications. Retrieved October 5, 2007.
  15. ^ "WJAR NBC News Channel 10". WJAR. Archived from the original on July 25, 2008. Retrieved October 13, 2007.
  16. ^ "ABC 6 News". WLNE-TV. Retrieved October 13, 2007.
  17. ^ "WPRI 12 Eyewitness News". WPRI-TV. Retrieved October 13, 2007.
  18. ^ "New England News". NBCUniversal. Retrieved December 13, 2010.
  19. ^ Amaral, Brian. "Citizens Bank unveils $285M Johnston campus, complete with robot security guard". Retrieved 5 June 2019.

External links

Beacon Communications (publisher)

Beacon Communications is a privately owned newspaper publisher serving the suburban Rhode Island cities of Cranston, Johnston and Warwick.

Begun in 1969 by John Howell and Anthony Ritacco, as a vehicle to purchase the Warwick Beacon, the company was called Southern Rhode Island Publications until 1987. Howell took sole possession of the company in the 1980s, with Richard Fleischer coming on as the general manager.

Brown Avenue Historic District

The Brown Avenue Historic District is a rural historic district in Johnston, Rhode Island, USA. The district encompasses a rural and agricultural landscape centered on a 1-mile (1.6 km) stretch in the midsection of Brown Avenue, which runs between Hartford Avenue (United States Route 6) and Greenville Avenue (Rhode Island Route 5). There are five farmsteads, with the Dame Farmstead at its center, whose farmhouses date to the late 18th century. A number of these farms are no longer in production, and part of the district is in Snake Den State Park.The district was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.

Clemence–Irons House

The Clemence–Irons House (also known as the Edward Manton House) is a historic house at 38 George Waterman Road in Johnston, Rhode Island. It was built by Richard Clemence in 1691 and is a rare surviving example of a "stone ender", a building type first developed in the western part of England and common in colonial Rhode Island. The house is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and is a historic house museum owned and operated by Historic New England. It is open Saturdays between June and mid-October.

Cornell-Randall-Bailey Roadhouse

The Cornell—Randall—Bailey Roadhouse (also known as the Log Gift and Curtain Shoppe) is an historic building located at 2737 Hartford Avenue (United States Route 6) in western Johnston, Rhode Island. The oldest portion of this 2-1/2 story wood frame structure was built in the late 18th century by Samuel Steere, and was substantially enlarged for use as a tavern in 1821 by Daniel Cornell. Business at the tavern declined when railroads rendered the highway less important, and the building was adapted for use as a bordello and gambling house in the early 20th century. In the 1970s it was converted for use as a gift shop.The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on May 10, 1984.

Daniel Angell House

The Daniel Angell House is an historic house at 15 Dean Avenue in Johnston, Rhode Island, United States. The oldest portion of this 1-1/2 story wood frame structure was built c. 1725, although it was long attributed to Daniel Angell (1744-1810). The house has an irregular front facade, seven bays wide, with two doors occupying the third and fifth bays. The western part, likely the oldest portion of the house, has a large chimney centered on five bays. The relatively unusual construction practices used in the house's construction, as well its remarkable state of preservation, make it a valuable resource in the study of Rhode Island colonial architecture.The house was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975.

Deborah Fellela

Deborah A. Fellela (born November 16, 1956) is an American politician and a Democratic member of the Rhode Island House of Representatives representing District 43 since January 2007.

Eddy Homestead

The Eddy Homestead is a historic house at 2543 Hartford Avenue (United States Route 6) in rural western Johnston, Rhode Island. This 1-1/2 story vernacular wood frame house is super cool. Also is estimated to have been built in the late 18th or early 19th century, and is a well-preserved example of a period farmhouse. It is a floor plan distinctive to western Rhode Island, where the cooking fireplace is located in one of the front rooms, rather than the more typical placement at the rear of the house. The house was in the Eddy family for most of the 19th century.The house was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1986.

Edwin H. Farnum House

The Edwin H. Farnum House is an historic house at the junction of Putnam Pike (United States Route 44) and Collins Street in Johnston, Rhode Island. It is a two-story wood frame structure, five bays wide, with a large central chimney. It was built c. 1765, either by Stephen Angell or his son Daniel, and enlarged about 1795 by Edwin Farnum. The main entry exhibits Federal styling probably added by Farnum, with 3/4 length sidelight windows and a segmented fanlight above. The right-side bays on the first floor have been replaced by a 20th-century bay window.The house was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.

Frank Lombardo

Frank S. Lombardo, III (born July 12, 1958) is an American politician and a Democratic member of the Rhode Island Senate representing District 25 since January 2011.

Johnston Senior High School (Rhode Island)

Johnston Senior High School (JHS) is a public high school located in Johnston, Rhode Island, USA. It is part of the Johnston Public School System and has approximately 900 students in grades 9 through 12. The school colors are Columbia blue and white and the school mascot is the Panther. In 2005, JHS was named a Rhode Island Department of Education Regents' Commended School. The 2018-2019 school year principal is Dennis Morrell; assistant principals are Michael Mancieri and Dr. Donna Pennacchia.

Mathewson Farm

The Mathewson Farm is an historic farm on 544 Greenville Avenue in Johnston, Rhode Island. It is an agricultural remnant of the formerly rural village of Belknap. The centerpiece of the farm complex is a late 18th-century farmhouse with vernacular Federal styling. Surviving outbuildings of the farm include a barn from the early 20th century, a henhouse, and a silo. This property was developed as a farm by William Mathewson in the 1790s, and was actively farmed by his descendants until the 1940s.The farm was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2001.

Noel Acciari

Noel Acciari (born December 1, 1991) is an American professional ice hockey forward for the Boston Bruins of the National Hockey League (NHL).

Ochee Spring Quarry

Ochee Spring Quarry is an historic quarry in Johnston, Rhode Island. Located on a privately owned outcrop of land behind 787 Hartford Avenue (United States Route 6), the quarry was a source of steatite (soapstone), a relatively soft stone easily workable into containers. Native Americans are known to have used this quarry. A study of the site conducted in the mid-1980s concluded that the quarry was probably worked in an organized manner, to produce containers in a variety of size. Items made from this quarry have been found across southern New England.The quarry was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.

Samuel Ward King

Samuel Ward King (May 23, 1786 – January 20, 1851) was the 15th Governor of Rhode Island from 1839 to 1843.

King was born in Johnston, Providence County, Rhode Island to William Borden King and Welthian Walton.

He attended Brown University but did not graduate. He became a medical doctor and worked as a surgeon during the War of 1812.

In 1820 King was elected town clerk of Johnston. He became a Whig when the party was founded, and was a presidential elector in 1832. In 1838 he was elected to the Rhode Island Senate. He first became governor in 1839 when the legislature failed to grant a majority of votes to the three leading contenders. He was elected to three other terms.

During his administration as governor of Rhode Island he took a strong stand against the expanded voting franchise that led to the Dorr Rebellion in 1841 – 1842. President John Tyler refused to send in Federal troops at Governor King's request to suppress the uprising.

King married Catherine Latham Angell, with whom he had fourteen children.

He is buried in the King family plot in Johnston near the intersection of US Route 6A and Killingly Street.

Stephen Ucci

Stephen R. Ucci (born November 6, 1971) is an American politician and a Democratic member of the Rhode Island House of Representatives representing District 42 since January 2005.

Thomas H. Hughes House

The Thomas H. Hughes House is a historic house at 423 Central Avenue in Johnston, Rhode Island. The 1-1/2 story wood frame house was built c. 1845 by Zacharias French, and exhibits simple but well-proportioned Greek Revival style. The house is most notable as the residence for some years of Thomas H. Hughes, owner of a local dye processing factory and for whom the Hughesdale neighborhood of Johnston is named. He apparently lived in this house until 1877, when he had a larger house (no longer extant) built.The house was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.


WPRO-FM (92.3 MHz "92 PRO-FM") is a commercial Top 40 (CHR) radio station in Providence, Rhode Island, United States owned by Cumulus Media.

The studios and offices are located in the Brine Broadcasting Center on Wampanoag Trail on the East Providence/Barrington line. The transmitter is located on Neuticonacanut Hill in Johnston, Rhode Island.


WWLI (105.1 FM) is an adult contemporary radio station in Providence, Rhode Island owned Cumulus Media. Its transmitter is located in Johnston, Rhode Island, while its studios are located in East Providence.

Zenas Work Bliss

Zenas Work Bliss (January 10, 1867 – January 10, 1957) served as Lieutenant Governor of Rhode Island from 1910 until 1913 under Governor Aram J. Pothier.

Municipalities and communities of Providence County, Rhode Island, United States

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