The congregation of Ebenezer Baptist Church was born from the first independent African-American church in Providence. In 1819, black congregants withdrew from the First Baptist Church and built the African Union Meeting and Schoolhouse. In 1884, an…

After World War II, Providence's fortunes were shifting. Textile jobs had moved south. Industry was leaving. Jewelry manufacturing went offshore. Between 1950 and 1980, the population of the city declined by a third. These western neighborhoods were…

Providence was once a city of churches. All Saints' Memorial Church is one of the last of the religious communities that grew on “Christian Hill” in the 19th century. Within a stone’s throw were the Stewart Street Baptist Church, the High…

Canonicus was the Narragansett sachem who offered refuge to Roger Williams and his party in 1636, but before this place was named that in a fit of Colonial Revival fervor, it was popularly called Hoyle Square. In 1953, Rhody Photo News said the…

Grant Mill offers a window into Providence’s industrial past and an example of how the city’s industrial buildings have been repurposed for a changing economy. An earlier textile mill was replaced around World War I by this four-story brick…

The yellow-brick, copper-crenellated Providence Armory, one of the most monumental structures in the city, anchors this historic neighborhood of wood-frame buildings and tree-lined streets. Owned by the State of Rhode Island and partially occupied…

St. Mary's is a Gothic Revival monument to the Irish history of Providence. As textile mills changed the industrial landscape of the city in the early 19th century, Irish from Ulster came to work in those mills, many just down the hill in Olneyville.…

This extravagantly embellished house is still called the Wedding Cake House in spite of its current desperate search for rehabilitation. The first owner John Kendrick was an inventor whose American Supply Company dominated the global market in loom…

Providence’s exquisite jewel box of a French neo-classical temple, the Bell Street Chapel, was built in 1875 for art dealer and engraver James Eddy after a design by storied Providence architect William R. Walker. Eddy dedicated his church “to…

Completed in 1892 to serve the wealthy Episcopalians of Broadway, and home for ten years to the African-American Church of the Savior, this Alpheus C. Morse-designed Romanesque Revival church has been Sts. Vartanantz Armenian Apostolic Church since…

This extravagant pile was designed in two phases (1875 and 1888) by renowned Providence architects Stone, Carpenter & Willson, but tradition states that the emphatic personality of its owner determined the eclectic mix of shapes and styles.…

At its opening in 1926, the Columbus Theater was touted as “a testimonial to the Italian people.” The late Beaux-Arts theater was built, designed and decorated by Italians: owner Domenic Annotti, architect Oresto DiSaia, and muralist George…

In 1885, there were fewer than 500 Italian-born in Providence; within a generation, over twenty-thousand. In Italy in 1889, Bishop Giovanni Battista Scalabrini’s society sent missionaries to Providence and formed the Holy Ghost parish to serve the…

While some radicals fought against a system that they saw as rigged, other radical acts came from the world of privilege. Alida Sprague Whitmarsh was born into a wealthy family but devoted herself to helping the poor working women of Providence. In…

If Garibaldi Park and the Gateway Arch are the welcoming arms of Federal Hill, DePasquale Square is its beating heart. The quatrefoil fountain and wide plaza were built as part of the Federal Hill revitalization effort. Back in the day, however, this…

A darker side of Federal Hill’s history was made from this unassuming storefront. The Coin-O-Matic was the headquarters of the Patriarca crime family, one of the most ruthless and powerful criminal organizations in the United States. Raymond L.S.…

In 1842, this Federal-style house was the headquarters of a political revolution. The owner Burrington Anthony was a supporter of Thomas Wilson Dorr and his effort to expand voting rights. At that time, only white men of property could vote,…

In the spring of 1975, women with sledgehammers marched on what was then called Franklin Park to attack a dilapidated bathhouse. Built in 1911 to serve the crowded Italian immigrant community, the bathhouse had outlived its usefulness. The women…