Lawmaker mulls T.F. Green Airport name change

WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — T.F. Green Airport could get a new name.

House Majority Leader Joseph Shekarchi, D-Warwick, said Monday he will introduce a bill to change the name of T.F. Green to the Rhode Island International Airport if the R.I. Airport Corporation suggests it.

“There has been some talk of changing the name of T.F. Green Airport to reflect that it has become an international airport,” Shekarchi said.

Some locals and travelers at the airport Monday seemed to like the idea.

“It’s got a ring to it,” Sterling Freeman of Pawtucket said. “Rhode Island International? I like it.”

“I have no idea who T.F. Green is,” Betty Hansmann from Chicago said. “If somebody told me I’d have to fly in there I wouldn’t know what state I was even going to.”

The airport was named after the state’s 57th governor, Theodore Francis Green, several years after it opened. Originally it was called Hillsgrove State Airport.

Green was a pivotal figure in Rhode Island political history, serving first as governor from 1933 to 1937 and then as a U.S. senator from 1937 to 1961. He played a key role in the so-called “Bloodless Revolution” of 1935, when Rhode Island Democrats controversially wrested control of state government from the long-ruling Republicans.

Green – who died in 1966 at the age of 98 – will still be memorialized if the airport’s name is changed, Shekarchi said.

“We certainly should do something either in the airport or close by the airport to memorialize his contributions to the state,” he said.

A spokesperson for the Airport Corporation said officials have had conversations about a name change, but believe it is too premature to comment further.