History & Birth Place of the Navy

East Greenwich History

Incorporated October 31, 1677, East Greenwich is the 8th oldest town in the state of Rhode Island.
  • Named for the original Greenwich in Kent County, England.
  • In 1741 the town was divided into 2 portions. The more rural western portion was separated and called West Greenwich. The remaining quarter was called East Greenwich.
  • From 1806 to 1854 the town served as 1 of the 5 state capitals for Rhode Island.
  • The General Assembly meetings were held in the local courthouse. That courthouse is presently the home of the Town Hall.
  • Listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
Town Hall in Background with Navy Ship in Foreground

Contributing Authors

The Town of East Greenwich wishes to thank Ms. Jennifer Iannuccilli and her 3rd grade students for the research they have provided the Town on the history of some of East Greenwich's most historic buildings.

As a lifelong resident of East Greenwich, Ms. Iannuccilli became interested in the history of the Town when she purchased her own historic home and began discovering artifacts in her backyard. She became passionate about researching the history of this unique community and wanted to pass her love onto her students.

Now, each year her students co-research the history of important sites in our community and share it with others, including the Town of East Greenwich website! Their work is shared with you.

The Birthplace of the Navy

Rhode Island State Assembly passed a resolution on June 12, 1772 creating the first formal Navy and authorizing two naval vessels, the flagship Katy and the Washington. Captain Abraham Whipple was named commodore of the armed vessels.