1924 Rocky Point Police Patrol

The History of the Warwick Police Department

As the municipal center of Warwick, Apponaug was also the center of the early police stations. Whenever old-time Warwick residents gather, colorful stories of the early fire and police departments are told. Time and time again, the names of Forrest Sprague, Theodore Andrews, Elias Cranston, Albert Izzi, Amasa Sprague and, of course, Apponaug’s Lynch family, are cited. For over sixty years now, members of the Lynch clan have had a profound effect on law enforcement in the city.

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Seal of Warwick, Rhode Island

The Origin of the Seal of the City of Warwick

Warwick was founded in 1642 as a town called Shawomet, after the local Indian tribe from whom the land on the west shore of Narragansett Bay was purchased.  Two years later, Samuel Gorton sailed to England in the hopes of obtaining an official charter to maintain ownership and independence.  His mission was successful, thanks to Sir Robert Rich, the Earl of Warwick, then Governor-on-Chief of Foreign Plantations.  When the charter was granted in 1647, the grateful townsmen promptly re-named the settlement after their benefactor and his family coat-of-arms became its seal.

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The Burning of the HMS Gaspee by Karl Doerflinger

The Burning of the H.M.S. Gaspee

Shortly before midnight on June 9, 1772, approximately sixty armed men from Providence, Rhode Island set out in eight longboats for Namquid Point where His Majesty's Ship Gaspee had run aground. The majority of these men, who comprised the social elite of Providence, were disguised with black-smeared faces or Indian headdresses. Led by John Brown, a wealthy merchant and member of one of Rhode Island's most prestigious families, their intentions were nothing less than the deliberate destruction of the government ship on duty in Narragansett Bay.

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Rocky Point Park

The Story of Rocky Point Park

The Rocky Point Amusement Park was a highly popular destination on the Narragansett Bay side of Warwick, Rhode Island. It operated from the late 1840s until its financial collapse in 1995. First conceived by Captain William Winslow, Rocky Point began to offer amusements and serve dinner in 1847 ... then went on to be the stage for some of remarkable historical events.

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Pawtuxet Village Walking Tour

Historic Walking Tours of Warwick

The historic Village of Pawtuxet is unique in many ways. First, it is the oldest village in New England and is one of the very few villages that span two communities - the Cities of Warwick and Cranston. Founded in 1638, it is the site of the 1772 burning of the H.M.S. Gaspee - the first armed conflict of the American Revolution. So put on some comfortable walking shoes, use this book as your guide, and prepare to step into Pawtuxet Village' colorful past.

Walking Tour Maps

Welcome to Warwick History

Welcome to WarwickHistory.com, our site dedicated to preserving, promoting and sharing the rich history of Warwick, Rhode Island.

The City was founded in 1642 by Samuel Gorton. Then known as the settlement of Shawomet, Warwick was established as a haven for religious freedom, a bastion of tolerance and a settlement of grace, wisdom and dignity. In centuries since, there have been many people who have taken up his call, who have protected our heritage, made sure that our past is remembered, our present is bright and our future is filled with promise.

From the nation’s “First Blow for Freedom” on the shores of Narragansett Bay and Revolutionary War heroes to the first presidential phone call made from Rocky Point, to modern-day Olympians and folks whose modest acts and involvement have had profound, lasting impacts on our community, Warwick’s history is rich with people, places and events that have shaped our community, our state and our nation.

I invite you to explore WarwickHistory.com and learn more about our wonderful community. I welcome you, too, to share your memories of Warwick, to help us share more of our vibrant, fascinating history with others.




Scott Avedisian, Mayor
Warwick, Rhode Island

Warwick’s Villages and Historic Places - Introduction

Don D'Amato's History of Warwick, Rhode Island

By Don D'Amato

Today, Warwick, with a population exceeding 86,000, is Rhode Island's second largest city. It is conveniently located near all the major business, cultural and recreation centers of New England. Providence is only ten minutes away; Boston but one hour. Cape Cod can be reached in about seventy-five minutes and the Connecticut Casinos in less than an hour. With the airport, interstate highways and rail service New York is easily reached, as are the ski slopes of the northern states. Warwick is at "The Crossroads of New England."

Warwick's natural beauty along Greenwich Bay, its historical significance and modern potential continue to attract tourists, business, movie producers and those looking for the serenity of a suburban area with the advantages of a modern city. Warwick provides that and more as it has made a dynamic impact on Rhode Island in the late 20th and 21st centuries.

A large part of the city’s significance and charm can be traced back through its more than 370 year history. Thanks to many spirited leaders in both the community and City Hall, Warwick has come to realize that its heritage mirrors that of the state and the country. Warwick, probably more than any other community in Rhode Island, has had many trials and tribulations in its fight to establish the freedoms we so dearly cherish today. Much of the struggle and the success can be found by studying the history of its villages and their impact on the city.



Did You Know?

In 1893, the total cost for the new Warwick Town Hall was only $49,037.69. However, the final total of the 1981-91 renovation project was $1,568,200 -- almost 32 times the original building cost.

This Month at City Hall

Each month, the Warwick Historical Society prepares and displays historically significant memorabilia in the main lobby of Warwick City Hall.   Stop by and learn more about the history of Warwick today!

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