DescriptionThe first permanent European settlers of Westerly, so named for its westerly position in the state, supposedly were John and Mary Babcock, who eloped in 1648. They were joined more than a decade later by residents from Newport, Providence and Warwick, who bought shares from a Newport company that claimed title to the Misquamicut tract, as this region was called.
Border disputes between Connecticut and Rhode Island plagued the region for more than 50 years until the boundary line officially was drawn in 1728. Throughout the Revolutionary War the coast around Westerly was besieged by marauding British expeditions. Nearby Watch Hill, now a quiet resort town, was established as a lookout for British privateers. Shipbuilding, agriculture and trade sustained the village throughout the 18th century.
Prosperity reigned in the late 19th century, a result of textile manufacturing and granite quarrying. Westerly is a supply center for nearby seaside resorts. There are many public beaches with bathhouse facilities between Weekapaug and Watch Hill, including Misquamicut State Beach. Wilcox Park, on Broad Street, is a 14-acre Victorian strolling park that includes collections of day lilies and dwarf conifers, a library and a display about the granite industry; phone (401) 596-2877.
Visitor InfoThe Greater Westerly-Pawcatuck Chamber of Commerce 1 Chamber Way WESTERLY, RI 02891. Phone:(401)596-7761
Things to SeeWatch Hill (Flying Horse) Carousel