Buttonwoods 5 - The Campground

Buttonwoods Camp Grounds

Once the Warwick Railroad was electrified and extended to Buttonwoods, the less affluent citizens of Providence and vicinity could come to Warwick’s shores easily and inexpensively.  Thanks to the foresight and thoughtfulness of Henry Warner Budlong, a summer at Buttonwoods became a reality for working-class city residents.

According to the Statewide Historic Report K-W-1, April 1981, Budlong, the son of Benjamin and Roby Knight (Greene) Budlong and the grandson of Warner J. Greene, was a well-known philanthropist who sought to improve the life style of Warwick residents by his generous donations to local churches and the building of a library in Apponaug.  Around the turn of the century, Budlong decided to use a portion of his holdings at Buttonwoods for a summer campground for those who couldn’t afford the Beach Association area.  As a result, a number of acres of his property along the Greenwich Bay shore became a favorite place for those who could only afford a tent.  It was common for working class men to pitch their tents on the Budlong property so that their wives and children could enjoy the summer.  The workers, thanks to the trolley, would come in the evening or on weekends and with a very limited budget, the entire family could enjoy the beauty of Warwick’s shore.

A suburban community

The coming of the trolley not only brought summer visitors, it showed that it was possible to live in a pleasant suburban environment and work in the city or in the mills.  As the twentieth century progressed, more and more made Buttonwoods their permanent home.   This, of course, created a demand for schools, churches and other facilities .   Today’s Buttonwoods is an integral part of Warwick’s community life.


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