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Johnston, Rhode Island

Coordinates: 41°49′36″N 71°29′41″W / 41.82667°N 71.49472°W / 41.82667; -71.49472
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Johnston, Rhode Island
Johnston Town Hall
Johnston Town Hall
Location in Providence County and the state of Rhode Island.
Location in Providence County and the state of Rhode Island.
Coordinates: 41°49′36″N 71°29′41″W / 41.82667°N 71.49472°W / 41.82667; -71.49472
CountryUnited States
StateRhode Island
 • TypeMayor-Council
 • MayorJoseph Polisena Jr.
 • Town CouncilLinda Folcarelli (D)
Lauren Garzone (D)
Alfred T. Carnevale (D)
Robert V. Russo (D)
Robert J. Civetti (D)
 • Total24.4 sq mi (63.1 km2)
 • Land23.7 sq mi (61.3 km2)
 • Water0.7 sq mi (1.8 km2)
Elevation246 ft (75 m)
 • Total29,568
 • Density1,247.6/sq mi (482.3/km2)
Time zoneUTC−5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC−4 (EDT)
ZIP Code
Area code401
FIPS code44-37720[2]
GNIS feature ID1220073[1]
WebsiteTown website

Johnston is a town in Providence County, Rhode Island, United States. The population was 29,568 at the 2020 census. Johnston is the site of the Clemence Irons House (1691), a stone-ender museum,[3] and the only landfill in Rhode Island. Incorporated on March 6, 1759, Johnston was named for the colonial attorney general, Augustus Johnston.[4][5]



According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 24.4 square miles (63 km2). 23.7 square miles (61 km2) of it is land and 0.7 square miles (1.8 km2) (2.91%) is water.



Neighborhoods in Johnston: Winsor Hill, Thornton (includes part of Cranston), Graniteville, Hughesdale, Morgan Mills, Manton, Simmonsville, Pocasset, West End, Belknap, and Frog City.



The area was first settled by English settlers in the seventeenth century as a farming community. In 1759 the town officially separated from Providence and was incorporated on March 6, 1759. Johnston was named for the current colonial attorney general, Augustus Johnston, who was later burned in effigy during the Stamp Act protests in 1765 and then fled Rhode Island as a Tory during the American Revolution in 1779.[5] The first house of worship in Johnston opened when the Baptist Meeting House in Belknap was constructed in 1771. During the American Revolution Rhode Island's only gunpowder mill was constructed in Graniteville, and the town hosted American General John Sullivan for a dinner in 1779 upon his departure from Rhode Island to fight in New York. In 1790 the Belknap School, the first public school in the town, was founded. In 1791 the Providence and Norwich Turnpike (today's Plainfield Pike) was chartered.[6]


Historical population
U.S. Decennial Census[7][8]

At the 2000 census,[2] there were 28,195 people, 11,197 households and 7,725 families residing in the town. The population density was 1,191.4 inhabitants per square mile (460.0/km2). There were 11,574 housing units at an average density of 489.1 per square mile (188.8/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 96.66% White especially Italian Americans (46.7%), 0.65% African American, 0.13% Native American, 1.08% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 0.55% from other races, and 0.88% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.89% of the population.

There were 11,197 households, of which 27.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.9% were married couples living together, 11.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.0% were non-families. 26.6% of all households were made up of individuals, and 13.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.47 and the average family size was 3.02.

Age distribution was 20.9% under the age of 18, 6.3% from 18 to 24, 30.0% from 25 to 44, 23.9% from 45 to 64, and 18.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41 years. For every 100 females, there were 88.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 84.9 males.

The median household income was $43,514, and the median family income was $54,837. Males had a median income of $40,210 versus $29,314 for females. The per capita income for the town was $21,440. About 6.8% of families and 8.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 9.0% of those under age 18 and 13.6% of those age 65 or over.

In 2000, 46.7% of Johnston residents identified themselves as being of Italian heritage. This was the highest percentage of Italian Americans of any municipality in the country.[9]

Parks and recreation

Johnston War Memorial Park

Local parks include the Johnston War Memorial Park and Snake Den State Park. Former Providence Mayor Joe Paolino purchased the Columbus statue that had been removed from Columbus Square in Providence.[10] In 2023, the statue was donated to the city and placed in Memorial Park with the unveiling held on Columbus Day.[11][12]


Johnston Municipal Court

The town is governed by a mayor (currently Joe Polisena Jr.) and a five-member town council.[13]

Johnston is policed by the Johnston Police Department.


Mohr Memorial Library

The Johnston Public School System has four elementary schools, one middle school, and one high school. Johnston Senior High School is a 2005 Rhode Island Department of Education Regents' Commended School.[14]

In 2008, the Johnston School Committee decided to close both Graniteville and Calef Elementary schools. Students affected by the closures were transferred to Brown Avenue Elementary School and Winsor Hill Elementary School. This decision was not without controversy, as school officials, parents and teachers complained of inadequate staffing, increased neighborhood traffic and lack of attention for special-needs students.[15]



Johnston has one local weekly newspaper, the Johnston Sun Rise.[16] The paper is complimentary, and can be found in many Johnston businesses.

WJAR NBC News Channel 10 broadcasts in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. The news station is set in Cranston, Rhode Island.[17]

WLNE-TV ABC 6 Rhode Island News Channel broadcasts in Rhode Island and Massachusetts.[18]

WPRI-TV 12 Fox 64 Providence Eyewitness News Channel broadcasts in Rhode Island and Massachusetts.[19]

New England Cable News channel ("NECN") is a cable news station based in Boston which covers all of New England's news.[20]



Insurance company FM Global is based in Johnston.

In 2018, Providence-based Citizens Bank opened a $285 million corporate campus in the town. The project encompasses 425,000 square feet and employs around 3,000 people.[21]

Notable people


Sister cities



  1. ^ a b U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Johnston, Rhode Island
  2. ^ a b "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  3. ^ "Clemence-Irons House, 1691". Historic New England. Archived from the original on October 3, 2006. Retrieved September 7, 2006.
  4. ^ Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. Govt. Print. Office. pp. 170.
  5. ^ a b "Johnston Historical Society -- Johnston History". Johnston Historical Society. Retrieved October 30, 2006.
  6. ^ "Town of Johnston Timeline". Johnston Historical Society. Retrieved November 8, 2013.
  7. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 4, 2016.
  8. ^ Snow, Edwin M. (1867). Report upon the Census of Rhode Island 1865. Providence, RI: Providence Press Company.
  9. ^ "Italian Ancestry". ePodunk. Archived from the original on May 12, 2007. Retrieved May 8, 2006.
  10. ^ Doiron, Sarah (May 11, 2023). "Controversial Columbus statue to be placed in Johnston park". WPRI. Retrieved August 21, 2023.
  11. ^ LeBlanc, Steve (October 5, 2023). "Columbus statue, removed from a square in Providence, Rhode Island, re-emerges in nearby town". AP News. Retrieved October 5, 2023.
  12. ^ Caracciolo, Gabrielle (October 9, 2023). "Johnston unveils Christopher Columbus statue in War Memorial Park". WJAR NBC 10 News. Retrieved October 9, 2023.
  13. ^ "Elected Officials". Town of Johnston. Retrieved April 6, 2017.
  14. ^ "Johnston Senior High School SALT Visit Team Report" (PDF). Rhode Island Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. October 21, 2005. Retrieved December 13, 2010.
  15. ^ Reynolds, Mark (January 31, 2008). "Johnston school problems cited". The Providence Journal. Archived from the original on February 3, 2008. Retrieved February 6, 2008.
  16. ^ "Johnston Sun Rise". Beacon Communications. Retrieved October 5, 2007.
  17. ^ "WJAR NBC News Channel 10". WJAR. Retrieved July 10, 2020.
  18. ^ "ABC 6 News". WLNE-TV. Retrieved October 13, 2007.
  19. ^ "WPRI 12 Eyewitness News". WPRI-TV. Retrieved October 13, 2007.
  20. ^ "New England News". NBCUniversal. Retrieved December 13, 2010.
  21. ^ Amaral, Brian. "Citizens Bank unveils $285M Johnston campus, complete with robot security guard". providencejournal.com. Retrieved June 5, 2019.