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…

It might be hard to imagine that Benefit Street hasn’t always been considered a special historic area. Many groups worked for years to protect, preserve, and improve the architecture and historic character of the neighborhood. One woman, Margaret…

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…

Frances Henley’s involvement in the construction of Wheeler School in Providence can be interpreted as a means of positioning herself in the collective memory of the city by linking her name with the values of education. Both Henley and Mary Colman…

Upon entering the nineteenth-century stable that is now 48 Crestwood Road during the Great Depression, a visitor to the old Waterhouse estate ‘on the hill’ which lies between Warwick and East Greenwich would have found a gloomy, cavernous space.…

“Over ten years ago, two women, both lovers of antique Colonial furniture, decided to popularize its beauty by making artistically perfect, made-to-scale doll’s furniture. Equipped with a child’s circular saw, they opened a tiny shop in the…

In 1904, ten women gathered together, led by former school teacher Julia Lippitt Mauran, to form a club in Providence devoted to “the promotion of interest in all kinds of handicraft and to provide a place where such work could be done.” This…

In 2009, a group of volunteers stepped into the Woonasquatucket River at Donigian Park wearing waist-high heavy rubber boots and sturdy gloves to protect against the river’s pollution. Donigian Park in the Olneyville neighborhood of Providence had…

The Woonasquatucket River (woon-AHS-kwa-tuk-it) has been at the center of Rhode Island’s uniquely layered history of invention, innovation and multiculturalism. The Narragansett and Wampanoag tribes who first settled the region called the river…

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…

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…

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…

Success, ambition, and glamour dominate this block of Benefit Street. John Brown became wealthy from his family’s shipping business, which included privateering, the China Trade, and Triangular Trade. John, along with his brothers Nicholas, Joseph,…

In the mood for a seance? If you were a member of the cultural elite in 19th-century Providence, all signs would have pointed to yes. East Side artists and intellectuals attended seances held in private homes, which also played host to literary…

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…

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…

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.…

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…

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…

The Chace-Cory House, built around 1730 by Benjamin or Abner Chace, witnessed the passing of many Tiverton generations by its front door. Once a lonely house, it has seen nearly 300 years of change at Four Corners. Its floorboards are well-worn by…

The complex eventually grew to include three buildings. Manomet 1 and 2 were connected by overhead bridges, now demolished. An extensive weave shed on the other side of Riverside Avenue has also been demolished. Manomet’s owner and President,…

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 from 1939 to 1941, Bay Village consisted of twenty-two brick buildings containing 197 multifamily units with one to four bedrooms. The sprawling nature of the complex evokes the post-World War II suburban housing boom more than the tightly…

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 June of 1776, on the highest point of ground in Newport, the Americans erected a signal beacon and a small fortification. This high point is known as Tonomi Hill, a shortening of Miantonomi, the name of the sachem of the Narragansetts when Newport…

In early 1776, the residents of the Point neighborhood in Newport awoke to see the British frigate HMS Scarborough anchored just offshore. With the threat of war suddenly looming, the town hastily threw up a semi-circular earthwork fort at the…