North Kingstown, town (township), Washington county, south-central Rhode Island, U.S., on Narragansett Bay. The area, settled in 1641 as Kings Towne, was incorporated in 1674; in 1686–89 it was called Rochester. In 1722–23 it was divided into North Kingstown and South Kingstown. North Kingstown includes the villages of Allenton, Davisville, Hamilton, Lafayette, Quonset Point, Saunderstown, Slocum, and Wickford (the administrative centre).
Early economic activities were textile milling, fishing, farming, and boatbuilding. Industrial tools and machinery are now major manufactures. Davisville was the home of the Atlantic Seabees (naval mobile construction battalions) between 1942 and 1991, when the base was closed. The acreage made available by the decommissioning of the Naval Air Station at Quonset Point in 1974 has been developed as an industrial park. The Quonset Air Museum is housed in a brick hangar at what is now Quonset State Airport. Lafayette has state fish hatcheries.
Wickford is the site of the Old Narragansett Church (1707) and of Smith’s Castle at Cocumscussoc (1678), used as a rendezvous for settlers who fought the Narragansett Indians in the Great Swamp Fight (1675; a battle in King Philip’s War). At Saunderstown the birthplace of Gilbert Stuart, portraitist and creator of the most popular image of George Washington, has been restored; and nearby the Silas Casey Farm (c. 1750) is maintained as a typical New England farmstead. Area 44 square miles
North Kingstown is bordered by beautiful Narragansett Bay and is home to several villages, each with its own unique feel. In the scenic seaport village of Wickford, it’s not uncommon to see seals sunning themselves on the ancient harbor docks while sailboats bob in the waters of Wickford Harbor. Wickford’s Main Street is the perfect example of what a New England coastal village should be, complete with well-maintained historic homes and an assortment of restaurants and charming boutiques.
The desirable Poplar Point area boasts exclusive, waterfront homes while the home sites of nearby Saunderstown slope down to the water or offer expansive views of the sea. Moving inland, Slocum, located in the western part of town, is home to large farms and open land, while Quidnessett is a golf lovers dream. Clearly, North Kingstown has something for everyone.
A Historic Influence
North Kingstown has more than its fair share of New England history. The town holds particular appeal for history buffs and preservationists who are drawn to the area for its restored colonial homes, early farms and noteworthy museums. Casey Farm in Saunderstown was established in 1725 and is one of the oldest working farms in New England. Also, in the village is the Gilbert Stuart Museum, home of the famous artist who painted the picture of George Washington featured on the United States one dollar bill. And though much of the town seems set back in time, modern conveniences are just minutes away.
When visiting North Kingston, check out the following points of interest:
- Downtown Wickford
- Quonset Air Museum
- Smith’s Castle
- Gilbert Stuart Museum
- Wickford Art Festival (July)
- Old Narragansett Church
Beyond its beauty, North Kingstown offers homeowners a safe, convenient location, centrally located between Rhode Island’s northern and southern borders. The Wickford train station provides easy commuting to Boston or Providence, though both cities are also easily accessible by car. The town also offers every opportunity imaginable for water enthusiasts. A variety of beaches, yacht clubs, marinas and spots for kayaking entice people outdoors and the ferry to Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard is located in Quonset Point, one of the town’s commercial ports and home to the Quonset Airforce Base.
A solid investment
North Kingstown continues to be one of the most sought after towns in Rhode Island thanks to its convenient location, beautiful, coastal villages and good school system. Approximately 35,000 people call North Kingstown home –a full three-quarters of them are home owners. Pride of ownership is apparent and the town embodies a true sense of community.
Schools from elementary to high school have always been highly rated and have helped sustain property values too in North Kingstown. In the 2022 rankings of US News and World Report, North Kingstown was named the 4th Highest School District in RI.
Buyers are attracted to both the school systems for their children as well as how the good school systems prop up property values. It is a win-win situation. Property taxes support the schools and the taxes are higher here than some other southern Rhode Island communities. However, homeowners do reap the benefit ultimately when they are able to sell their home in a struggling real estate market.
Economy & Home Prices
Certainly the economy and home prices have been impacted by the downturn in recent years in the housing market. The homes on or by the waterfront (which are many) have been able to hold their value. As the saying goes ‘they are not making any more waterfront property to build on’ and it is time to find the one you desire. Again knowing locations are important in Wickford Village neighborhoods due to flood zone insurance that may be necessary on a home. The Coastal Resources Management Council ensures that all homes now built or renovated must be reviewed by them, go through a stringent approval process and adhere to building codes that are constantly changing. All is done with the integrity of the structure and the environment being of great importance.
Values of most other North Kingstown homes have come down from the highs of the early 2000’s. However, we are seeing an upswing in North Kingstown in home values since 2015. What is attractive about North Kingstown and its home prices is that there are homes for $180,000 to $3.4 million, so real estate accommodates many here. Along with a strong school system this bodes well for sellers as we try to reach a more equal footing for buyers and sellers on pricing of homes and ultimate sale prices.