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…

This home of Declaration-signer Stephen Hopkins (1707 – 1785) is among the oldest still standing in Rhode Island and the oldest in Providence. Hopkins lived here with his family and their slaves, in eight rooms that are now chock-full of antiques,…

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…

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…

Providence’s exquisite jewel box of a French neo-classical temple, the Bell Street Chapel, was built in 1875 for art dealer and engraver James Eddy after a design by storied Providence architect William R. Walker. Eddy dedicated his church “to…

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.…

In 1842, this Federal-style house was the headquarters of a political revolution. The owner Burrington Anthony was a supporter of Thomas Wilson Dorr and his effort to expand voting rights. At that time, only white men of property could vote,…

In the spring of 1975, women with sledgehammers marched on what was then called Franklin Park to attack a dilapidated bathhouse. Built in 1911 to serve the crowded Italian immigrant community, the bathhouse had outlived its usefulness. The women…

Primus Collins was a man with great responsibilities within his community. He mediated disputes, ensured that laws were obeyed, and handed out punishments when necessary. He was similar to any other governor, with one exception—Primus Collins had…

The border between Adamsville and Westport was changed in 1747 from the west bank of the Westport River (which is just to the East of Brayton's Garage) to this location in the middle of the mill pond. The new border cut though established lots…

The Plymouth Court established Adamsville as part of "Sakonnet" in the seventeenth century. The settlement adopted the name "Little Compton" in 1683 (check). Although Adamsville village had no official name at that time, many people referred to it as…

It was March 28, 1676, and Zoeth Howland was riding through the deep woods of Tiverton. According to the story that has been told for more than 300 years, Howland never made it to his destination. Later that day, town residents discovered his…

Jane Tobes, possibly an enslaved woman, admitted that she brought rum to the men working in the fields, enticing them to neglect their work and get drunk. So, on July 7, 1772, the judge of the Tiverton Court, Job Almy, laid down the law: “I do…

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…

Fed up! Perhaps they didn't hear you the first time. Every so often, you have to redeliver the message. That’s exactly what happened in 1975, when a Third World Coalition led by Black students occupied University Hall for 38 hours. Black, Latino,…

“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…

Staring at the endless concrete in the Huntington Expressway Industrial Park, it seems impossible that this was once a vibrant neighborhood. Laughing children ran across neighbors’ yards, caught up in games of hide and seek. The smell of coffee,…

When Liz Camp, a resident of the Reservoir Triangle neighborhood, heard that developers wanted to build over two dozen townhouses on an open plot of land near Mashapaug Pond, she knew she had had to do something to halt the construction. After years…

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,…

A school did not always stand on this ground. For nearly a century, the Gorham Manufacturing Company operated an extensive factory on the banks of Mashapaug Pond. Gorham left a complex legacy. While it brought thousands of well-paying jobs to the…

In 1876, a well-dressed young lady in her early twenties joined Alexander Graham Bell on the stage of the old Providence Theatre. Bell, the noted teacher of vocal physiology and inventor of the telephone, had invited Jeanie Lippitt and her parents to…