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Westerly, RI Town Information

Westerly is a town on the southwestern shoreline of Washington County, Rhode Island, United States. Founded in 1669 by John Babcock, it is a beachfront community on the south shore of the state. The population was 22,787 at the 2010 census. The town is part of the Norwich–New London, Connecticut, New England city and town area.

 

Along the coast of Westerly lie salt ponds, which serve as shallow reeflike pools, whose outer walls form the long, white beaches for which the town became renowned. From west to east, these ponds are called Maschaug Pond, Winnapaug Pond, and Quonochontaug Pond. The town also has a fresh water lake, Chapman's Pond, which is undergoing revitalization. A type of granite, known as Westerly granite, has long been quarried here. Westerly granite, ideal for statuary, has been used in numerous government buildings of several states along the eastern seaboard. The Westerly area was known for its granite and stone-cutting industry.[3][4][5] Westerly becomes a large tourist attraction during the summer months during which the population nearly doubles.[6] From east to west, well-known beaches include Weekapaug Beach, Westerly Town Beach, Misquamicut State Beach, East Beach and Watch Hill Beach.

 

Westerly consists of a number of small villages. Downtown Westerly, on the Pawcatuck River, is the municipal seat of the area, with the old town post office, library, YMCA, railroad station, former police headquarters (which is now located on Airport Road), granite buildings and Wilcox Park. Other villages include Avondale (with antique colonial and Queen Anne-style homes), Bradford (with its own post office and postal code), Dunn's Corners, Mastuxet, Misquamicut (a beachfront community with small amounts of nightlife and several hotels), Potter Hill (where the Town Forest is located), Shelter Harbor, Watch Hill (with its beaches and summer cottages), Weekapaug, White Rock, and Winnapaug (with its public golf courses). Apart from Bradford, Shelter Harbor, Watch Hill, and Weekapaug, West'lyans normally identify themselves with the town, as opposed to the village in which they reside. The town holds a number of annual events such as the Pawcatuck River Duck Race in April, Virtu Art Festival in May, Shakespeare in the Park and The Summer Pops (hosted by the Chorus of Westerly) in June, and Riverglow in July. In recent years, the Westerly-Pawcatuck Chamber of Commerce's Big Screen Movies on the Beach through July and August, Westerly's Columbus Day Parade in October, and several beachfront events have attracted many visitors. The former granite mining and the stone-cutting industry is historically important. Its quarries produced blue granite, in addition to pinks and reds. The Smith Granite Company, which employed many granite cutting craftsmen, was one of the town's major employers until the quarries stopped operating in the 1950s. Hundreds of examples of their work can be seen in the battlefields of Gettysburg and in city squares, municipal buildings, cemeteries throughout the United States, and even the Georgia State Capitol. The Guild Guitar Company, founded in 1952 by Alfred Dronge in New York City, moved production to Westerly in 1967 and continued to make its well respected archtop, acoustic and solid body guitars there until 1996, when they were bought by Fender Musical Instruments and production was moved to Corona, California. A number of figures from the history of sports were residents of Westerly. Eddie Sawyer, former major league baseball manager (Philadelphia), is from Westerly, as is former Washington Senators pitcher Dave Stenhouse. Frankie Frisch, player-manager of the St. Louis Cardinals' famous "Gashouse Gang," retired to and lived the remainder of his life in Westerly, and Elisson "Tarzan" Brown, one of the finest marathon runners in the world, is from the Westerly area. Another famous resident is country pop singer Taylor Swift who maintains a beachfront estate in the Watch Hill area.



Source: Wikipedia



Image: "Downtown Westerly, RI" by ?English Wikipedia user Daniel Case. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons.