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…

It is said that every Rhode Islander visits the Biltmore Hotel at least once. Opened in June of 1922, the Biltmore immediately became a significant hub for social activity in downtown Providence, a legacy that continues today. Its elegant halls have…

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…

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…

Weybosset Street was alive with excitement as nearly 14,000 people attended the opening of the new 3,100 seat Loew’s State Movie Palace on October 6, 1928 to see the movie “Excess Baggage” on the big screen. Those lucky enough to have seats to…

Few theaters can say they’ve housed the evolution of American entertainment like this one. Now home to the Tony Award-winning Trinity Repertory Company, this space has vaudeville roots, showed blockbuster hits, and now wows audiences with live…

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 began as a sleepy farming village along the Great Salt Cove and The Great Salt River (the Providence River, today). It stayed that way into the eighteenth century, even while seaports like Newport amassed incredible wealth through the…

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…

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…

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.…

This pond and its link to the West Branch of the Westport River are the primary reasons for Adamsville's existence. These natural resources created an ideal spot for both a gristmill and a sawmill. Early settlers were quick to realize the area’s…

Designated the “Oldest Continuously Operating Store in the United States” in 2007 by Rhode Island officials, Gray’s Store was forced to close after the unexpected death of its owner Grayton Waite in 2012. The store was first established by…

Adamsville’s first mill was established by Philip Taber prior to 1700. Most early mills in the Little Compton area were wind-powered, but in order to saw wood, it was necessary to have water power. The Adamsville mill pond provided power for both a…

Ebenezer Church built the original general store in 1820 and sold it to his partner Philip Manchester in 1864. Philip’s son Abraham slept every night at the store from the time he was six years old, taking over its operation as an adult. He was…

It was the Golden Era of soccer in the United States, and there was no question about the top team, the Fall River Marksmen. The 1923-24 Marksmen team was a dominant force in the American Soccer League during a time when southeastern New England was…

Strike! Strike! Strike! It was a warm summer day in July of 1904, and tensions were running high in Fall River, Massachusetts. Earlier in the month, the Fall River Cotton Manufacturers’ Association had announced a 12.5% wage cut in all of the…

Broad Street today is full of ethnic restaurants, but in the late 1970s Latinos anxious for a taste of home had very limited choices; Doña Fefa sold a few prepared foods in her store, but otherwise families had to cook their own. Roberto and José…

In the early 1900s, Tiverton was well-known for the stench of rotting fish. One local writer described the odor wafting from the menhaden factories along the Sakonnet River as “Rhode Island’s most famous smell. Even the strongest and bravest were…

It all started in the early 1960s when Jay Giuttari, son of a Central Falls mill owner, was a student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he became friendly with the son of a Colombian mill owner. After graduation, Jay worked in…

If we had to find one person who represents Dominicans in Rhode Island, it would have to be Josefina Rosario. “Doña Fefa” is loved, respected and celebrated as the "Mother of the Dominican Community." Dominicans are now the largest group of…

In 1964, Buffet acquired shares in a failing New Bedford textile mill known as Berkshire Hathaway. His intent was to sell the shares back to the owners and make a tidy profit. His good business sense did not fail him. The owners of the mill, the…

In Rhode Island, you are never far from the ocean. Many of the state’s most beloved foods come from the sea and are tied to the history of marine industries like fishing. Prior to the arrival of European settlers, indigenous peoples like the…

Walking into Ponto Um, an unassuming shop on Warren Avenue in East Providence, you may be greeted with a cheerful “Bom dia!” or another Portuguese expression. Ponto Um, which translates to Point One, advertises the “Best Variety of Brazilian…