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Washington County

Washington County is named for George Washington, who was the first President of the United States from 1789 to 1797.


Surrounding County Courthouses: 

N – Kent County

E – Newport County

S – Atlantic Ocean

W – New London County, Connecticut 


Created:  June 3, 1729                           Map of Rhode Island highlighting Washington County

County Seat: 

Kingston            1729 – 1891

West Kingston   1891 – 1991

Wakefield          1991 – present


County Courthouse – Wakefield


Location:  4800 Tower Hill Road

Built:  1986 – 1988

Style:  Modern

Architect:  David Presbrey Architects Inc. of Providence

Contractor:  Dimeo Construction Company



Description:  The building faces northwest and is a one story buff colored brick, concrete and glass structure. The building is located on spacious landscaped grounds. The northwest front has a high central portico with recessed entrance and with clock and hipped roof above. The windows are divided by concrete columns. A wide white colored concrete band runs below the flat roof line. The building is named as the J Howard McGraith Judicial Complex. The engineer for the construction was Ronald M Ash and Associates.


Old County Courthouse – Kingston



Location:  2605 Kingstown Road / Upper College Road

Built:  1775 – 1776

Style:  Second Empire

Architect:  William Potter

Contractor:  Caleb Wescott


Description:  The building faces south and is a three story light brown colored wood  structure. The building is located on landscaped grounds with the stone Clerks Office built in 1876 on the west side. The south front has a central projecting section with entrance on the first story rising to a mansard roof with open octagonal cupola at the top. The building has a mansard roof. In 1816 the  mansard roof and the central pavilion and tower were added. An addition was added on the north side in 1876. The building is now the Kingston Free Library. Across Kingston Road is the Old Washington County Jail constructed of granite blocks in 1858. John Eldred did the excavation, masonry, plastering and the Fayerweather family were the blacksmiths. The building was closed as a jail in 1956 and became the South County History Center. 


Note: William Potter oversaw the construction of the courthouse and the carpenter was Caleb Wescott.


Note:  The building was originally the Kings County Courthouse until the county name was changed in 1781. The building was used as a meeting site for the state legislators and the Rhode Island Assembly ratified the constitution on May 29, 1790 to become the last of the thirteen original states. The building ceased being used as a capitol in 1791 and ceased being used as a courthouse in 1891.


Old County Courthouse – West Kingston



Location:  3481 Kingstown Road / Watson Road

Built:  1892 – 1894

Style:  Richardson Romanesque

Architect:  Leslie P Langworthy

Contractor:  William Gosling


Description:  The building faces south and is a two story gray colored stone structure. The building is located on spacious landscaped grounds. The southwest corner has a four story square stone tower with steep green colored roof at the top. The south front has a central stone portico with arched entrance. The roof is hipped. The architect was and the contractor was The building is now the Courthouse Center for the Arts.


See:  National Register of Historic Places – Washington County Courthouse



County Courthouse – 









































Old County Courthouse – West Kingston













Photos taken 2017