Best Community #15: Town on the March
Thursday, June 23, 2011
If there's a community to keep an eye on in 2011, it may be this town of just over 35,000 in Kent County. From its rural, historic roots and legacy of once-vibrant mill villages, Coventry is expanding rapidly and with great affordability and good schools, has made its way into the top 15 Rhode Island communities.
Coventry's arrival in the Top 15 owes much to its affordability, taking 5th place in the state in 2011. The public schools performed well enough on test measures in 2010 to earn Coventry an 18th place ranking, and the town that spawned Revolutionary hero Nathanael Greene is 16th statewide for Safety.
Coventry by the numbers
Median household income: $66,476
Median housing price: $187,000
2011 Best Communities rankings
Overall ranking: 15
Affordability ranking: 5
Education ranking: 18
Economic condition ranking: 25
Safety ranking: 16
Arts & Culture ranking: 17
History in a nutshell:
Coventry’s origins can be traced back to its birth as a township, when on August 24, 1741, Samuel Gorton purchased the Western end of the town of Warwick. Deriving its namesake from Coventry, England, the new township extended all the way to the Connecticut line, containing 64.8 square miles. Several villages centered themselves around textile mills, some of which are still found today. Currently, while the western half of Coventry remains mostly rural in nature, the eastern half is one of the fastest growing communities in Rhode Island.
Henry B. Anthony, notorious anti-Catholic newspaperman, later became a United States Senator and Governor of Rhode Island
Henry P. Baldwin, served as the governor of Michigan from 1869 to 1873 and as a U.S. Senator from 1879 to 1881
General Nathanael Greene, general during the American Revolutionary War (his homestead still stands on Taft Street)
Desiree Washington, Miss Black America contestant whom Heavyweight boxer Mike Tyson served prison term for raping
Mike Stefanik, NASCAR driver
Additional research by Nate Holterman
- RI’s Best Communities 2011
- RI’s Best Communities 2011: How We Got the Rankings
- Best Community #39: Faded Star
- Best Community #38: In the Capital City’s Shadow
- Best Community #37: Too Rich for RI?
- Best Community #36: City in Turmoil
- Best Community #35: Feisty Contender
- Best Community #34: More Than Big Hair
- Best Community #33: Mill Village Pride
- Best Community #32: Sandwiched Between Riches
- Best Community #31: River Beauty
- Best Community #30: Not All About the Summer
- Best Community #29: The Overlooked Community
- Best Community #28: True Island Life
- Best Community #27: Up and Comer
- Best Community #26: RI Rural
- Best Community #25: Country Living
- Best Community #24: Stuck in the Middle?
- Best Community #23: Beach-Blessed Beauty
- Best Community #22: The Enclave
- Best Community #21: Star in the Making
- Best Community #20: City of Contrasts
- Best Community #19: Good Schools, Quiet Living
- Best Community #18: Countryside Charm
- Best Community #17: Northern Gem
- Best Community #16: Brains and Beauty
- Best Community #14: Small-Town Seaside
- Best Community #13: Northern RI Surprise
- Best Community #12: Blackstone Valley Standout
- Best Community #11: RI’s Big Apple
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