Ninigret

In 1664, not far from this locale, Ninigret defeated a daring nighttime raid launched by his longtime enemy, Wyandanch, the Sachem of the Montaukett Indians of Long Island. Both men had reasons to seek revenge. Wyandanch had killed some of Ningret's…

Canonicus and Miantonomi

Miantonomi and Canonicus lived and ruled in a period of extreme change for the Narragansett. Although there were no colonists in the region when Miantonomi was born (c. 1600), early trading interactions between Europeans and First Peoples eventually…

Summer Cottages and Torpedoes

Off Conanicut Island's eastern shore lies Gould Island, the third of the major islands that comprise the town of Jamestown. It was named for Thomas Gould, who purchased the island in 1657 to use as farmland. In 1858, the Maitland family bought the…

Ft. Greble on Dutch Island

Dutch Island, in the West Passage of Narragansett Bay, is an uninhabited, irresistible place that for decades has lured local kids across the water to camp or climb around the remains of what was once an impressive, self-sufficient, military…

Ft. Getty's Prisoners of War (POWs)

Few Rhode Islanders remember the German Prisoner of War (POW) camps in RI. Fewer people realize that as they drive into Fort Getty, the stone gate posts were built by the German POWs encamped there in 1945. Ellen Brownell, a local Jamestown resident…

Camp Bailey on Dutch Island

On August 28, 1863, the 1st battalion of the 14th R.I. Heavy Artillery (Colored) under Colonel Nelson Viall paraded through Providence on their way to an island in Narragansett Bay. Jamestowners felt the effects of the Civil War, even though…

Cadman-White-Handy House

The Handy House is not the home of a famous person—Washington did not sleep here! Yet the story of the people who lived here provides an extraordinary window into a world of ordinary lives that is otherwise lost to history. As you walk through this…

The Bell School

The Bell School was built in 1841 as a school for District No. 14, on the west side of the river. There was evidently some jealousy aroused in the other school districts when the residents of the Head of Westport decided to build so magnificent a…

The Steel Yard (PS&I)

Founded in 2002 on the former site of Providence Steel and Iron Company (PS&I), the Steel Yard’s 3.5-acre site has become a community gathering space for people interested in creative, industrial arts. The design of this former brownfield site…

A Passion for Planning and Preservation

It might be hard to imagine that Benefit Street hasn’t always been considered a special historic area. Many groups worked for years to protect, preserve, and improve the architecture and historic character of the neighborhood. One woman, Margaret…

A Touch of Modernity at Classical High School

Have you ever imagined yourself juggling six children’s needs, housework, and professional career? It may sound like a bit of a challenge; yet, these two women, Sarah (“Sally”) Harkness, a mother of seven, and Jean B. Fletcher, a mother of six, were…

A Dash of Modernism In the Middle of the Woods

If you walk into the woods of East Greenwich, you would hear the shouts and laughter of children from the forest. Where is the sound coming from? A few more steps later, you would encounter not Hansel and Gretel's House, but surprisingly, a…

Frances E. Henley and the Wilcox Building

In 1893, the talented and ambitious young Frances Evelyn Henley, refused to make a career in teaching, as suggested by her parents. Instead she chose to enroll at the Rhode Island School of Design, not in the decorative art department as one might…

A Shell for Knowledge at Mary C. Wheeler School

Frances Henley’s involvement in the construction of Wheeler School in Providence can be interpreted as a means of positioning herself in the collective memory of the city by linking her name with the values of education. Both Henley and Mary Colman…

Frances E. Henley and Providence Plantations Club

How to become respected and how to keep your femininity when doing a male's job? This was quite a burden for Rhode Island's first female architect, starting 1897 when she graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design. Henley was probably one of…

Elizabeth G. Pattee and her Ecology of Design

Upon entering the nineteenth-century stable that is now 48 Crestwood Road during the Great Depression, a visitor to the old Waterhouse estate ‘on the hill’ which lies between Warwick and East Greenwich would have found a gloomy, cavernous space. They…

The Legacy of the Rochambeau House

The house was named for Jean-Baptiste-Donatien de Vimeur, comte de Rochambeau (1725-1807), the French General who fought alongside George Washington in several critical endeavors—including the siege of Yorktown and the Battle of the Chesapeake—in the…

Women Building Buildings for Women

In 1978, three women engaged in a conversation about the role women professionals could play in changing women’s lives. Within 16 months, they had started a business: the Women’s Development Corporation. Katrin Adam, Susan Aitcheson, and Joan…

A New Kind of School for Women

From August 13–26, 1978, 78 women from 17 states as well as Canada gathered at Roger Williams College (today Roger Williams University) in Bristol, RI, to discuss the integration of values and identities they held both as women and as designers. The…

A House Designed for Architects (Demolished)

What should an architect’s new house look like in an historic neighborhood? This is the question that Margaret B. Kelly and J. Peter Geddes had to address when they were designing 29 Manning Street in the 1930s. The small, two-story, brick house was…

Historic Preservation in Miniature

“Over ten years ago, two women, both lovers of antique Colonial furniture, decided to popularize its beauty by making artistically perfect, made-to-scale doll’s furniture. Equipped with a child’s circular saw, they opened a tiny shop in the tiniest…

A Home on the Hill for Handicrafts

In 1904, ten women gathered together, led by former school teacher Julia Lippitt Mauran, to form a club in Providence devoted to “the promotion of interest in all kinds of handicraft and to provide a place where such work could be done.” This was, in…

From Trash to Treasure

On any given summer day in the city of Providence, you’re likely to notice a steady flow of people—Rhode Island locals, university students, families and young children—making their way down North Main Street towards Wickenden St., in the Fox Point…

Ghost Architecture

The structure, six stories of Second Empire architecture, was the largest private building in the area when it was built at 55 Exchange Place in 1872, which had by 1893 had changed to 123 Westminster. (The Superman Building, which currently occupies…

Pleasant Valley Parkway

As part of a nationwide “City Beautiful” movement in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Providence’s civic leaders envisioned the creation of numerous parks through the city as a means to provide refuge and beauty for its citizens as…

A. and L. Tirocchi Gowns

The Tirocchis began their dressmaking business downtown, and in only four years amassed enough elite clientele to move shop.The building they had been working in was beautiful, but it was also surrounded by the hustle and bustle of traffic, competing…

Davis Park

Thomas Davis, the namesake of Davis Park, was born in Ireland in 1806, and came to the United States in 1817. Unlike most of the Irish immigrants who would come to Providence, Davis was not Catholic, but instead a member of the Westminster Unitarian…

Charles Dowler House

Charles Dowler was born in Birmingham, England in 1841, and came to America in 1863 to make munitions for the Union effort during the Civil War. After the war ended, Dowler embraced the “American Dream,” deciding to abandon his profession as a…