Imagine this building as the central location for industry and modernity in 19th-century Providence. Picture a tangle of railroad tracks and constant motion, with engineers and manufacturers working hard to support (arguably) the most important place…

Though the area around it has changed over the years, Providence City Hall remains a constant in downtown Providence. Constructed in the 1870s, the cast iron and masonry structure witnessed the evolution of Exchange Place into Kennedy Plaza, two…

Few places in downtown evoke such fond memories like the iconic Shepard Company Department Store, a fixture of the 19th and 20th-century Providence shopping experience. Built in the 1870s, Shepard’s initially was 6,400 square feet. By 1903, it grew…

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…

Boston wasn’t the only place to throw a tea party! Here, on March 2, 1775, Providence residents protesting the Tea Act threw 300 pounds of British East India Company tea into the Providence River. Finding inspiration in Rhode Island’s founder…

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…

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…

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…

Providence’s tightly-knit community of artists and collectors created the Providence Art Club to congregate, create, and display art. It is the second oldest art club in the country after the Salmagundi Club in New York City. The westernmost of the…

Rhode Island is perhaps inordinately proud of its superlatives and firsts: first to establish religious freedom, first to rebel against the British crown, longest hold-out before ratifying the newly minted Constitution.  And, in the 20th century,…

At the crest of Smith Hill, once pastureland for a sleepy colonial town, sits a marble giant, the Rhode Island State House. Designed by the renowned architectural firm of McKim, Mead and White, responsible for the design of the Boston Public Library…

Luongo Memorial Square was named in honor of Thomas S. and Vincent Luongo, World War I veterans who lived nearby. Before the name change in 1938, this was Decatur Square and is today a rare space in the city that evokes 19th century city life. The…

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…

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…

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…

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…

Calvary Baptist has served South Providence for over 150 years. In 1902, the church opened its doors to the community at a time of severe coal shortage. Their service continues: walk into the church any Sunday and you will hear voices singing and…

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…

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…

Step through the doors of the Modern Diner, slide into a window booth or snag a stool at the counter, and order two eggs, toast, and a side of hash browns. Order up!In 1940, the Modern Diner opened on Dexter Street in downtown Pawtucket. Patrons…