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History

Narragansett was incorporated as a town in 1901. Prior to that time, it was part of South Kingstown, with local history dating back to 1675, when Roland Robinson settled in South County and purchased land from the Narragansett Indians in Pettaquamscutt and Point Judith.

Shipbuilding was an early industry, with sailing vessels built on the Narrow River at Middlebridge. South Ferry, or Franklin Ferry, was a thriving community, offering ferry service to Jamestown and Newport for more than a hundred years in the early 1700’s. South Ferry Church was a landmark on every sea captain’s chart of Narragansett Bay.

Between 1888 and 1920, Narragansett became well known as an elegant summer resort with a dozen more grand hotels and many large estates and "cottages.” Probably the most prominent landmark was Narragansett Pier Casino, covering nearly one square block from Ocean Road to Mathewson Street. The towers on Ocean Road served as the main entrance and covered promenade; the towers are all that remained after a devastating fire in 1900, and still exist as a popular landmark today. Most of the large hotels, all built in wood, were destroyed by fire during the early 1900’s.

Today, the Bay Campus of the University of Rhode Island at the end of South Ferry Road is the site of the world renowned URI Graduate School of Oceanography.

Tourism continues to be an important facet of life in Narragansett, with attractive beaches, sport fishing, a relaxed atmosphere, comfortable cottages and inns, and camping areas all contributing to the tourist’s enjoyment. Narragansett strives to preserve the pleasure of a resort community with the amenities of year-round living.

To learn more about current events, attractions and dining options in this charming seacoast community, visit www.narragansettri.com.