The buses in the RIPTA parking lot on Melrose Street rest in orderly lines. Beside them, rows of cars glitter behind a chain link fence. This lot in South Providence used to echo with more than just the low rumble of engines-it was once the site of…

Field's Point sits at the southeastern tip of Providence, jutting out into the Narragansett Bay. The shoreline is studded with broken reeds, stones, and sea-worn trash; seagulls and brants bob in the water. Worn foot paths lead wanderers through an…

The dirt and gravel parking lot at the corner of South Water Street and Tockwotton Street is modestly sized, giving little clue to the extensive iron foundry complex that once existed on the site. The Fuller Iron Works, founded in 1840, was a…

Built in 1828, Dexter Asylum was a "poor farm," an institution housing the indigent, elderly, and chronically unemployed. Poor farms were common before the introduction of Social Security and welfare benefits in the United States, considered a…

Like many parts of Providence, the athletic fields beside Hope High School are built on fill, but unlike buildings along the old waterfront or over marshy ponds, these fields are built over a former man-made reservoir that served an important role in…

At 43 Camp Street, passers-by see a school playground, shaded by a stand of pine trees and surrounded by a chain link fence. During recess, children's excited shouts reach the sidewalk. The adjoining playing field is flat and grassy, belying the fact…

Wanskuck Park, a 25-acre park with walking trails, wooded areas, and old foundations, lies along the edge of the Wanskuck Historic District, in the northernmost part of Providence. Before it was parkland, this site was the estate of Jesse H. Metcalf…

The large plot of land bordered by Smith Street, Wyndham Avenue, and Pleasant Valley Parkway has been built up heavily over the past 45 years, the rolling green lawns and forested glades replaced with siding-sheathed condominiums and a sprawling…

Prior to the 19th Century, hundreds of acres of water covered most of the area below the current Rhode Island State House--the Great Salt Cove,--which was large enough to admit sailing ships, and had a swath of salt marshes to its west. In the 1700s,…

The area between Broadway and Fountain Streets in La Salle Square--currently a large surface parking lot surrounded by a black, wrought-iron fence--has hosted not only the parked vehicles of Providence Bruins fans and suburban commuters, but also…

Franciscan Park, known to most as the Bell Street Dog Park, is a lively spot on a sunny day. Paths loop around the grassy expanse and dogs roam under shade trees or trot along a dirt track overlooking Route 6. This parcel of land was once the…

In the 18th century, Silver Lake was a quiet, rural area, part of the town of Johnston, with most residents living on farms. The character of the neighborhood changed significantly after the extension of the Plainfield Street trolley line in 1882;…

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,…

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 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…

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…

When Alfred Augustus Reed of Providence formed the Oriental Mills Manufacturing Company for the production of cotton sheet goods, he and his associates also formed the Oriental Print Works, located in Warwick, RI.  Although the printworks failed…

In 1847, the Eighth Baptist Church of Providence was founded at the corner of Davis and Common Streets. It was one of many Baptist churches in the city to be founded by former members of the First Baptist Church in America, located on the East Side,…

The urban landscape of southern New England displays an iconic form of domestic architecture seldom found elsewhere: stacked three-unit apartment house commonly called a “triple decker.” Thousands of such structures were built between 1880 and…

The Smith Hill Library was built in 1932 as part of a Providence Public Library campaign beginning in the mid-1920s to create branch libraries throughout the city. Designer Albert Harkness was a renowned Providence architect of the time who also did…

“While there is life, let us act. Let not the damning sin of his murder rest upon us . . . Rhode Islanders, Americans! Have you thought of this? Are you prepared for this? Will you permit this?” This rallying cry graced the windows of a bookstore…

“Infantry! To the Rescue!” shouted a lieutenant as the militia prepared to overtake the rebels at a tavern in Chepachet, wrote William M. Rodman in 1842. Rodman (1814-1868), a merchant tailor with a shop on Westminster Street, served as Master…

Prominent textile manufacturer Henry Lippitt, his wife and six children lived in this opulent Italian Renaissance Revival house, a testament to the burgeoning wealth of industrial Providence. Lippitt’s business ventures and investments proved so…

Success, ambition, and glamour dominate this block of Benefit Street. John Brown became wealthy from his family’s shipping business, which included privateering, the China Trade, and Triangular Trade. John, along with his brothers Nicholas, Joseph,…

Only two months before Washington would burn at the hands of British troops during the War of 1812, Providence would witness the destruction by fire of a major monument atop the East Side. A victim of arson, the First Congregational Church (1795) was…

This home of Declaration-signer Stephen Hopkins (1707 – 1785) is among the oldest still standing in Rhode Island and the oldest in Providence. Hopkins lived here with his family and their slaves, in eight rooms that are now chock-full of antiques,…

If the walls of University Hall could talk, they might tell you about the time they met George Washington (although don’t believe them if they tell you he slept here). The first building constructed on Brown’s campus, University Hall, has played…

In the mood for a seance? If you were a member of the cultural elite in 19th-century Providence, all signs would have pointed to yes. East Side artists and intellectuals attended seances held in private homes, which also played host to literary…

As you stroll the streets of the East Side, pay attention to the street signs: many of the streets you pass bear witness to some of the significant people and structures that have come and gone, making and remaking the city. Power Street, for…

The Rhode Island School of Design, most commonly known by its acronym RISD, is an internationally acclaimed leader in art and design education. Established in 1877 by 34 members of the Rhode Island Women’s Centennial Commission, the school embarked…