Narragansett, Rhode Island

Narragansett is a town in Washington County, Rhode Island, United States. The population was 15,868 at the 2010 census. However, during the summer months the town's population more than doubles to near 34,000.[3] The town is colloquially known as "Gansett". The town of Narragansett occupies a narrow strip of land running along the eastern bank of the Pettaquamscutt River to the shore of Narragansett Bay. It was separated from South Kingstown in 1888, and incorporated as a town in 1901.

For geographic and demographic information on the village of Narragansett Pier, which is part of Narragansett, see the article Narragansett Pier.

Narragansett, Rhode Island
The Towers in Narragansett
The Towers in Narragansett
Location of Narragansett in Washington County, Rhode Island
Location of Narragansett in Washington County, Rhode Island
Coordinates: 41°26′4″N 71°27′45″W / 41.43444°N 71.46250°W
CountryUnited States
StateRhode Island
 • Total37.8 sq mi (97.8 km2)
 • Land14.1 sq mi (36.6 km2)
 • Water23.6 sq mi (61.2 km2)
20 ft (6 m)
 • Total15,868
 • Density1,125.4/sq mi (433.6/km2)
Time zoneUTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP codes
02874 (Saunderstown), 02882 (Narragansett)
Area code(s)401
FIPS code44-48340[1]


According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 37.8 square miles (98 km2), of which, 14.1 square miles (37 km2) of it is land and 23.6 square miles (61 km2) of it (62.56%) is water.

The following villages and neighborhoods are wholly or partially located in Narragansett: Saunderstown (shared with North Kingstown), South Ferry, Bonnet Shores, Narragansett Pier, Point Judith, Galilee, Great Island, Salt Pond, Mettatuxet, and Jerusalem (shared with South Kingstown).


Historical population
Census Pop.
Est. 201515,650[4]−1.4%
U.S. Decennial Census[5][6]

As of the census[1] of 2000, there were 16,361 people, 6,846 households, and 3,847 families residing in the town. The population density was 1,156.5 people per square mile (446.4/km²). There were 9,159 housing units at an average density of 647.4 per square mile (249.9/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 95.84% White, 0.75% African American, 0.90% Native American, 0.76% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.34% from other races, and 1.40% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.25% of the population.

There were 6,846 households out of which 22.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.6% were married couples living together, 8.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 43.8% were non-families. Of all households 27.2% were made up of individuals and 9.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.38 and the average family size was 2.86.

In the town, the population was spread out with 17.3% under the age of 18, 19.6% from 18 to 24, 25.0% from 25 to 44, 24.6% from 45 to 64, and 13.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females, there were 94.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.4 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $50,363, and the median income for a family was $67,571. Males had a median income of $45,436 versus $31,759 for females. The per capita income for the town was $28,194. About 4.9% of families and 16.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 8.4% of those under age 18 and 5.0% of those age 65 or over. In 2010, Narragansett was estimated to have 2,743 people in poverty; college students represented 71% of that group, and in comparison, statewide college students make up only 13.7 percent of the total population in poverty. This large college factor, in a relatively small community has a profound impact on the overall poverty rate.[3]

From September through May the town is home to many students from the University of Rhode Island located in nearby Kingston.


Scarborough State Beach
Narragansett Bay surf on the rocks
Waves crashing on a rock in the Atlantic Ocean, visible from the Seawall of Narragansett.

Narragansett is known for its summer recreation and beaches.[7] Fishermen's Memorial State Park, located near Galilee, contains a former military fort (Fort Greene) and a campground.

Three beaches in Narragansett that are most famous are:

  • Narragansett Town Beach[8] is located in the center of Narragansett, though it charges a fee—whereas other local (state funded), beaches charge for parking only. Unlike state-funded beaches, it is self-sustaining and is not supported by the tax payers' money. There is a $10.00 charge to park ($15.00 on the weekends/holidays) and a daily $10.00 admission fee to enter onto the beach.
  • Scarborough State Beach: The Scarborough Beach Complex comprises two separate areas, the North and South. Each has a pavilion, showers, 75 picnic tables, boardwalk and observation tower. There is a small fee for parking if a spot on nearby streets can not be found. Parking on nearby streets can result in vehicles being towed (especially during the summer months). This beach sits next to a local sewage treatment plant.
  • Roger Wheeler State Beach[9] and Salty Brine State Beach[10] are both located in Point Judith, which is the southernmost point of Narragansett. Both beaches are protected by the breakwater that protects the port of Galilee. A new pavilion at Salty Brine State Beach opened in the summer of 2010, complete with concessions, and a wind turbine. The wind turbine was destroyed after a storm in March 2017.[11]


Narragansett operates its own pre-K through 12 educational system with three schools: Narragansett Elementary School, Narragansett Pier Middle School, and Narragansett High School. The Narragansett High School principal, Mr. Daniel F. Warner, was voted the 2008 Principal of the Year. The South County Museum is located within the town. The Narragansett Bay Campus of the University of Rhode Island is located in Narragansett.


Top employers

According to Narragansett's 2012 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report,[12] the top employers in the city are:

# Employer # of Employees
1 Town of Narragansett 448
2 University of Rhode Island Narragansett Bay Campus 245
3 Stop & Shop 225
4 The Dunes Club 180
5 VNS Home Health Service 150
6 Environmental Protection Agency 160
7 DeWal Industries 120
8 George's of Galilee 100
9 National Marine Fisheries Service 70

Places of worship

  • St. Thomas More Church (Roman Catholic)
  • St. Veronica Chapel (Roman Catholic)
  • St. Mary Star of the Sea Church (Roman Catholic)
  • St. Peter By-the-Sea Church (Episcopal)
  • Calvary Bible Church (Nondenominational)
  • First Baptist Church of Narragansett
  • South Ferry Church (Baptist, no regular services)
  • Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint of Narragansett
  • Generation Church (nondenominational)
  • Congregation Beth David (Jewish conservative)

National Register of Historic Places

The Towers, which pass over Ocean Road along Rhode Island Sound, is Narragansett's most famous landmark.

Thirteen different buildings and districts in Narragansett are listed on the National Register of Historic Places:[13]

Notable people

Cultural allusions

  • Narragansett is mentioned in Chapter LI of Theodore Dreiser's The Titan.
  • Several episodes in the television cartoon show Family Guy, which takes place in Rhode Island, feature the Narragansett Beach, most notably A Fish out of Water.
  • In the 1973 movie The Sting, the Narragansett horse race track is one of those mentioned in the background while performing the con for the mob boss Doyle Lonnegan (Robert Shaw); this track, while well known in the period, was actually in Pawtucket, RI.
  • The American Rock Band Phish wrote a song in 1988 titled "Weekapaug Groove" after the southern shore of Narragansett.
  • In the 1993 movie Coneheads, Prymatt Conehead, portrayed by Jane Curtin, receives a fake ID where it is mentioned she was born in Narragansett, RI.
  • Several scenes from the 2000 movie Me, Myself & Irene, starring Jim Carrey, were filmed in the Great Island area of Narragansett.


  1. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  2. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  3. ^ "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.
  4. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2016.
  5. ^ Snow, Edwin M. (1867). Report upon the Census of Rhode Island 1865. Providence, RI: Providence Press Company.
  6. ^ "Narragansett Ri tourism,vacation rental,restaurants". Narragansett Ri tourism,vacation rental,restaurants. Retrieved 23 March 2018.
  7. ^ "Narragansett Town Beach". Retrieved 23 March 2018.
  8. ^ Roger Wheeler State Beach Archived 2010-03-25 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ Salty Brine State Beach Archived 2010-03-25 at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ NEWS, CRYSTAL BUI, NBC 10. "Wind turbine at Narragansett beach collapses in storm". Retrieved 23 March 2018.
  11. ^ "Town of Narragansett CAFR". Retrieved 23 March 2018.
  12. ^ National Park Service (2007-01-23). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
  13. ^ Duguay, Rob (8 December 2015). "Interview: Now Christmas collaborators, Aimee Mann and Ted Leo find common musical ground". Vanyaland. Retrieved 1 September 2016.

External links

Coordinates: 41°27′00″N 71°26′58″W / 41.45000°N 71.44944°W

Andy Boss

Andy Boss (born April 20, 1972) is a former American professional racing driver from Narragansett, Rhode Island. He is the grandson of 1950's Jaguar sportscar driver Russ Boss and younger brother of fellow racer Geoff Boss. Boss retired from active racing in 2004 and joined the A.T. Cross Company.

Camp Varnum

Camp Varnum is a Rhode Island Army National Guard training facility in the Boston Neck area of Narragansett, Rhode Island. During World War II it was Fort Varnum, a coastal defense fort.

Central Street Historic District (Narragansett, Rhode Island)

The Central Street Historic District of Narragansett, Rhode Island is a historic district on both sides of Central Street from Fifth Avenue to Boon Street in Narragansett. It encompasses a collection of well-preserved summer houses built for the most part between 1880 and the 1920s, as well as the traditional civic core of the town. The area is characterized by smaller wood-frame homes, generally either 1-1/2 or 2-1/2 stories in height, set on small lots. It includes three church buildings (some still in use for religious purposes), all of which were built between 1870 and 1900, and the former Fifth Avenue School, which now serves as Narragansett's town hall.The district was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.

Christopher Murney

Christopher Murney (born July 20, 1943) is an American actor and vocal artist.

Dunmere (Narragansett, Rhode Island)

Dunmere is a historic estate at 560 Ocean Road in Narragansett, Rhode Island.

The estate, which originally included a 3-1/2 story Queen Anne/Stick style residence, gate house, and other buildings, was designed by John M. Merrick and was built in 1883. Dunmere was commissioned by Robert G. Dun (of Dun and Bradstreet fame) and served as his summer home until his death. It consisted of 13 acres (5.3 ha) with 500 feet (150 m) of ocean frontage. Major buildings included the main home, located close to the ocean, The Gardener's Cottage, located atop the hill, overlooking the property, the stable and the impressive stone archway, traversing Dunmere's entrance gates. In addition to a mosaic swimming pool and vast gardens, Dunmere featured a pond on the waterfront, man-made from an unsightly swamp at the same location. Following a massive and all-engulfing fire of the main house, the property has since been split into three residential properties. Only the Gardener's Cottage and entrance gates remain standing today.The surviving elements of the estate were listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2005.

Fishermen's Memorial State Park

Fishermen's Memorial State Park is a public recreation area and campground encompassing 91 acres (37 ha) on Point Judith in the town of Narragansett, Rhode Island. The state park occupies a portion of the former Fort Nathaniel Greene, named after Rhode Island native and Revolutionary War general Nathaniel Greene.

Fort Kearny (Rhode Island)

Fort Kearny was a coastal defense fort in the Saunderstown area of Narragansett, Rhode Island from 1901 to 1943. It was a prisoner-of-war camp for German prisoners in 1945. It is now the Narragansett Bay Campus of the University of Rhode Island. In many sources it is spelled Fort Kearney.

Galilee, Rhode Island

Galilee is a fishing village on Point Judith within the town of Narragansett, Rhode Island, USA, and is notable for being home to the largest fishing fleet in Rhode Island and for being the site of the Block Island Ferry. The village is directly across the harbor from Jerusalem, Rhode Island. Galilee, Rhode Island is named after the Biblical Galilee, which was the original home region of Jesus Christ, who grew up in Nazareth, a village in the Galilee region of Israel on the Sea of Galilee. Four of Jesus' disciples, Andrew, Peter, James and John, were fishermen from Galilee.

Today, the port of Galilee is responsible for transporting over 16 million pounds of seafood and shellfish each year. Part of the town of Narragansett, RI (population 15,868 in 2010), Galilee experiences significant seasonal population fluctuation and has been known to double in size in the summer months. As summer brings warmer weather, tourists come from all over to visit various state beaches, relax at private beach clubs, take the ferry to Block Island, and charter boats to go fishing or whale watching.

Geoff Boss

Geoff Boss (born April 26, 1969) is an American Champ Car driver from Narragansett, Rhode Island who drove in the 2003 season with Dale Coyne Racing. In a total of 12 starts he finished in the points three times, with a best of 9th place at the Lexmark Indy 300 in Australia. He ran in the Indy Lights series from 1997 to 2001, winning the 1999 Toronto Grand Prix from the Pole position. He also had podium finishes at Long Beach (twice) and Detroit (twice). He competed in the Barber Dodge Pro Series from 1993 to 1996, winning races at Miami, Sears Point, Phoenix, Watkins Glen, and Reno. He was runner-up in the 1995 Championship to Jaki Scheckter. He won the Skip Barber Formula Ford Series three times, twice in 1992 (East and Midwest) and again in 1993 (South), becoming the first driver to win three Championships. He also competed in the Formula Ford Festival at Brands Hatch in 1992 with Team USA Scholarship, and the 12 Hours of Sebring in 1994 in a Nissan for Leitzinger Racing with his brother Andy whom he competed against in Indy Lights.

Narragansett High School

Narragansett High School is a public high school in Narragansett, Rhode Island. As of 2015, Narragansett High School serves 477 students in grades 9-12. Narragansett High School's mascot is a Mariner. The mascot's name is Murdock the Mariner.

Narragansett Pier, Rhode Island

Narragansett Pier is an unincorporated village and a census-designated place (CDP) in the town of Narragansett in Washington County, Rhode Island, United States. The population was 3,671 at the 2000 census.

National Register of Historic Places listings in Narragansett, Rhode Island

This is a list of Registered Historic Places in Narragansett, Rhode Island.

This National Park Service list is complete through NPS recent listings posted June 7, 2019.

Pete Sheppard

Pete Sheppard (born March 26, 1967, in Providence, Rhode Island) is an Italian-American radio host, formerly heard on WEEI-FM 93.7 FM in Boston. Sheppard, a native of Narragansett, Rhode Island, is a graduate of Bishop Hendricken High School in Rhode Island and the Connecticut School of Broadcasting (Class of 1987).

Pettaquamscutt River

The Pettaquamscutt River (also known as Narrow River) is a tidal extension of the Mattatuxet River in the U.S. state of Rhode Island. It flows approximately 6.3 miles (10.1 km). There are no dams along the river's length.

Point Judith, Rhode Island

Point Judith is a village and a small cape, on the coast of Narragansett, Rhode Island, on the western side of Narragansett Bay where it opens out onto Rhode Island Sound.

It is the location for the year-round ferry service that connects Block Island to the mainland and contains the fishing hamlet of Galilee, Rhode Island.

Saunderstown, Rhode Island

Saunderstown is a small village and historic district in the towns of Narragansett and North Kingstown in Washington County, Rhode Island, United States.

Scarborough Beach (Rhode Island)

Scarborough State Beach is a public recreation area fronting the Atlantic Ocean in the town of Narragansett, Rhode Island. The state park occupies 60 acres (24 ha) comprising two units located at 870 and 970 Ocean Road. The beach offers saltwater bathing, picnicking, observation tower, and boardwalk.

South County Museum

The South County Museum is a non-profit museum in Narragansett, Rhode Island.

The Towers (Narragansett, Rhode Island)

The Towers, also known as the Twin Towers is a historic structure located at 35 Ocean Road in Narragansett, Rhode Island. It is the only remnant of the Narragansett Pier Casino built in the 1880s. On November 25, 1969, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

Places adjacent to Narragansett, Rhode Island
Municipalities and communities of Washington County, Rhode Island, United States
Major rivers
Cities & towns

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