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 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…

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,…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

Popularly known as the “Superman Building,” because of its resemblance to the iconic Daily Planet building in the television series, the Industrial Trust Building remains the tallest in Providence at 428 feet. Completed in 1927, it is a reminder…

A symbol of the long history of business downtown, the Custom House was completed in 1857. Originally built as the first Providence Federal Building, the Custom House was home to the Federal District Court, the Post Office, and U.S. Customs. This…

Imagine people hustling and bustling in search for the finest goods this 19th-century neighborhood had to offer. Now picture the Parthenon atop the Acropolis in Greece. Together the two images create the landmark “temple of trade” known as The…

A fixture of the capital city, the Providence Public Library (PPL) has continuously served the downtown community for over a century. Founded in 1875, the PPL opened at its present Washington Street location in 1900. It added the Empire Street…

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…

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…

As the population of the East Side grew in the 18th century, residences sprang up quickly along Benefit Street. Intended for “the common benefit of all,” Benefit Street encouraged the construction of homes higher on the ridge of modern-day…

In 1888, William Kissam Vanderbilt gave his wife Alva Marble House as a 39th birthday gift. The railroad magnate spared no expense on his wife’s summer home, which used 500,000 cubic feet of various marbles, gathered from across the globe, and is…

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…

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.…

Built in 1905, the Spite Tower’s history is clouded by legend. Dr. John Hathaway and his second wife, Claudia Church, built this unique structure for reasons that have been debated for decades. Late in the eighteenth century, the Church…

A bit further inside the massive building shoppers found Food Mart, where their groceries were boxed and slid down rollers to be collected outside at street level. For many New Bedford residents, the memory of Mars Bargainland is still vivid, but few…

Although known today as the Orpheum Theater, the French Sharpshooter’s Club of New Bedford—Le Club des Francs-Tireurs—constructed this building to serve as its headquarters. Formed by French-Canadian immigrants, the Sharpshooters Club was a…

Built in 1871 on South Water Street, Potomska Mills produced shades, umbrellas, jeans, and print cloth, rather than the sheets and shirts produced at Wamsutta. Potomska was the first textile manufactory established after the Wamsutta Mills more than…

To understand the full history of these bright new houses you must travel back half a century to the summers of the late 1960s and early 1970s. During the Civil Rights era, black residents of New Bedford increasingly voiced their discontent over high…

In the village of Usquepaugh, on the banks of the Queen’s River, Kenyon’s Grist Mill has ground whole berries of grain and whole kernels of corn into meal or flour continuously since 1696.Kenyon’s still uses the 1886 mill built by John Tarbox…

Today, needlepoint samplers that were done by students – many of them age 10 and under – at Mary Balch’s School can fetch over $100,000 at Sotheby’s auctions; they fill Pinterest pages and have had starring roles on PBS’ Antiques…