The village of Niantic gets its name from the Niantic or Nehantic people, whose ranging grounds once extended from Wecapaug Brook, in what is now Rhode Island, to the Connecticut River. Shortly before the first settlers arrived, the Pequots had invaded Nehantic territory and annexed about half of the land claimed by the tribe. According to local historian Olive Tubbs Chendali:
It was the construction of the railroad in 1851 that lured people to the shoreline which up to this time had been known – not as Niantic – but as “The Bank”. Long before this time, however, as evidenced by The Diary of Joshua Hempstead – 1711 – 1758 it was known as “Nahantick” “Nyantick” or “Nehantic”, the home territory of the Nehantic Indians.
Sportfishing and marinas dominate the village’s industry along with summer tourism and restaurant trade. Strong regional businesses include seafood restaurants and hotels/motels serving the town’s beaches and the casinos at Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun. Rocky Neck State Park features camping, swimming and picnic areas along with numerous marinas and sportfishing companies.
The Niantic Bay Boardwalk is a one-mile (1.6 km) long walkway that runs parallel to Amtrak shoreline railroad tracks and spans the length of Niantic Bay from the Niantic River inlet to Hole-in-the-Wall municipal beach. It first opened to the public in 2005, but was closed from about 2011 due to a combination of Amtrak building a new railroad bridge across the Niantic River, which required a re positioning of the approach tracks and damage caused by Hurricane Irene in October 2011. The boardwalk fully re-opened to the public in March 2016.
The Children’s Museum of Southeastern Connecticut is located in East Lyme’s original public library on Main Street. The museum is aimed primarily at children ages infant to ten years old. The current public library is located on Society Road, away from Niantic.
The village of Niantic includes the beach communities of Attawan Beach, Black Point, Crescent Beach, Giants Neck Beach, Giants Neck Heights, Oak Grove Beach, Old Black Point, Pine Grove, and Saunder’s Point.
Westerly granite, ideal for statuary, has been used in numerous government buildings of several states along the eastern seaboard. The Westerly area was known for its granite and stone-cutting industry. Wikipedia