No organization embodies Providence’s moniker, “The Creative Capital”, more than AS220. Founded in 1985, this organization supports artists by providing housing, studio, exhibit, and performance space in downtown Providence. AS220 began in one…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

Repurposing older structures is a tenet of historic preservation. Here the West Broadway Neighborhood Association practices what it preaches. Since 1983, the WBNA has been one of the strongest and most active neighborhood associations in the city.…

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.…

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…

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…

Little Compton was once full of Odd Fellows. That’s no insult. The Independent Order of Odd Fellows is a fraternal and philanthropic organization established in seventeenth-century England. It arrived on American shores in 1819, and in 1875,…

“Young man, if you don’t get out you’re going to end up with a little round hole in the middle of your forehead.” The words were polite and calm, but ominous, spoken to a youthful group of summer people during a late night visit to Briggs…

In June 1830, the residents of Tiverton gathered for the annual town meeting, an opportunity for the freemen of the town to participate in local government. Included on the day’s agenda was a proposal to create a town farm as a refuge for the…

There was a time when, if a bride wanted to walk up the aisle at the Old Stone Baptist Church, she had to hoist herself, gown and all, through one of the church’s back windows. Most churches place the pulpit and the main entrance at opposite…

This site, the former Whitridge Hall, served as the launching pad for a memorable show business career. In the 1950s, a summer theater troupe called this building home. The troupe hired an 18-year-old actor named Charles Nelson Reilly, who made his…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

The worn wooden collection box, passed from hand to hand, slowly made its way through the crowded Quaker meeting. Many looked away, while some murmured angrily . . . radicals . . . disturbing the peace! A few people contributed coins, perhaps moved…