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…

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…

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…

Thomas Tew gained such renown for his exploits from 1692 until 1695 that he was nicknamed the Rhode Island Pirate. Tew, a privateer from Newport who turned to piracy, led two major voyages, and accrued more treasure than he could spend before he met…

Entering Narragansett Bay in 1524, the explorer Giovanni de Verrazano was probably the first Italian visitor to Rhode Island, long before tomatoes made it to these parts. Rhode Island named the Jamestown Verrazano Bridge (in the southeastern part of…

Eleanor Dove’s recipe for Raccoon Pot Pie was so beloved, so well-known, that it is now preserved in the Congressional Book of Records, according to her great-granddaughter. Eleanor and her husband Ferris Dove, both members of the Narragansett…

“Stop at the sign of the lemon!” declares the Del’s soft frozen lemonade slogan. The Del’s symbol, a frost-covered lemon, can be seen everywhere during summer in the Ocean State. Made from crushed ice, lemons, and sugar, Del’s sells their…

In the 1920s, when southern Italian immigrants brought their tradition of heavily sweetened coffee to Rhode Island, coffee milk was born. The beverage is so popular in Rhode Island that on March 30, 1993, the Rhode Island State Legislature designated…

“I would have been a millionaire today if I had bent to prejudice.” So said George Thomas Downing, prominent African American Rhode Island restaurateur and civil rights champion. From behind the curtains of his lavish Sea Girt Hotel, built on…

On November 18, 1949, at 56 Randall Street, in the mostly poor, mostly black, Randall Square neighborhood, local African Americans crowded into the new Celebrity Club bar. It wasn’t quite finished, but the crowd didn’t pay much attention to the…

Despite the rain, a troupe of bicyclists and mustached men costumed as knights, clowns, pages, and a prince paraded through the streets of Pawtucket. Thousands of people from Rhode Island and the adjoining states thronged the streets. For a week, all…

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…

In the 1780s, a visitor traveling through the Blackstone River Valley might have smelled the rich aroma of roasting cacao beans wafting from a small wooden building as they passed through the hamlet of Central Falls. Americans consumed chocolate…

In 1980, up to $1.5 million worth of silver flowed from Providence factories into the Narragansett Bay, giving new meaning to the phrase “a waste of money.” Much of this silver originated from the electroplating firms located in the Huntington…

Rhode Island has a long history of industrial manufacturing. Slater Mill, on the banks of the Blackstone River in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, is considered  the “birthplace of the American Industrial Revolution.” By the early 1800s, that fervor for…

Imagine walking around this site in 1899, when the Gorham Manufacturing Company was the most famous producer of silver utensils, tea services and decorative items in the world. In the central building, you could find offices, a museum of silverwork,…

In 1873, an economic depression gripped the country and threatened the future of the Gorham Manufacturing Company. The company’s skilled metalworkers and innovative designers had a reputation for creating quality goods, but none of these things…

Walking down Resevoir Avenue today, the sweet fragrance of Popeye's Chicken and Biscuits mixes with the aroma of traffic. Strolling through Reservoir Triangle and the surrounding neighborhoods, the scent of Cambodian and Spanish food wafts out of…