Imagine this: it’s late September 1928, and Providence is abuzz with activity. There are huge factories, some of the largest in their fields, employing thousands of people; trolley lines crisscross the whole city; boats are docked at piers in the…

During the 1910s, entertainment venues were in a state of flux. They were originally created as spaces for live performances. With the advent of early film, many venue owners tried to switch entirely from live shows to movies – but found that they…

Entertainment in the 1880s extended beyond opera and vaudeville to also include human spectacle in venues called “dime museums.” A phenomenon in the late 19th century, they were akin to circus sideshows in the respect that they used people as main…

The Theatre Comique was as different from the Providence Opera House as could be, despite being just blocks away. The Opera House was built as a handsome, stately performing arts venue. Theatre Comique was originally built as a billiard parlor and…

On the evening of December 4, 1871, carriage after carriage pulled up in front of a rather inconspicuous red brick building in downtown Providence. Well-dressed theatre-goers entered the lobby of the Providence Opera House, the city’s newest…

Grace Lee Boggs was an activist for equality and labor justice, working with her husband James Boggs in Detroit, and reached a global community with their campaign for workers' rights and understanding across racial and ethnic boundaries. …

Arshile Gorky was a significant Surrealist painter and a father of the American Abstract Expressionist movement. He was a refugee from Armenia in 1919, where Turkish forces engaged in a mass genocide of the Armenian people. Gorky, originally…

In 1800, Providence had about 7,000 people. By 1900, the city was bursting with over 175,000 and still growing. The downtown commercial district, once centered on a stretch of North Main Street by the Market House, now extended across the Providence…

In 1889, the Young Men's Christian Association opened a grand new Romanesque Revival building on a prominent corner of Westminster Street in Cathedral Square. The building contained a gymnasium, auditorium, classrooms, libraries, parlors, and…

In September 1878, a "magnificent" new high school was dedicated on Pond Street from plans made by prominent Providence architect William H. Walker. The old high school at Benefit and Waterman Streets had been overcrowded for years. The expansion of…

Eva Belle Clemence lived and worked in Providence as an independent artist, a difficult space for a woman to find success in early 20th-Century America. Clemence was born in Worcester, Mass., in 1869, but her father Martin was from Rhode Island,…

In the summer of 1840, Perry Davis was sick. Physically, debilitatingly sick. His businesses had failed, one after another. His family was living in penury. He had, however, an enterprising spirit and creative mind. He concocted a combination of…

Providence's population grew at an extraordinary rate throughout the 19th Century, from about 50,000 in 1850 to 175,000 in 1900, driven by the region's ever-expanding industrial complex. Providence was at the heart of New England's…

Maritcha Lyons was an African-American teacher, writer, and activist who testified before the General Assembly as a 16-year-old girl to desegregate the Providence Public School System. In 1869, she was the first African-American to graduate from…

The Second Free Will Baptist Church (SFWBC) is one of the oldest Black congregations in Providence, formed around 1830 by a group who left the African Union Meeting House, itself formed from the departure of African-American congregants from the…

During the early 19th Century, textile mills, like Grant Mill in the city of Providence, were being built across Rhode Island.  The textile industry required hands to work the many machines that produced the new wealth, and Providence’s population…

While redevelopment often erases a city's past, the constant re-building of a city over time also leads to the loss of historical memory. One such site is 755 Westminster Street, a historic building from 1899, which replaced the High Street…

The redevelopment of Cathedral Square in the late 1960s left few traces of what this busy city intersection once was. One of those remaining traces is the Arnold-Palmer house, moved in 1967 through the prescient preservation efforts of the…

In the early 19th century, the agricultural and mercantile economy of Providence was transformed by the Industrial Revolution in America, begun in nearby Pawtucket at Slater Mill. One essential ingredient for this transformation was capital. Money.…

Reverend Edward Scott was a political activist and anti-slavery agitator who had, himself, escaped from slavery in Virginia before becoming a minister and community leader. Scott was born a slave in Virginia around 1812. He freed himself as well…

Colonial era roadways tell us something about the story of Providence. Over the course of the 17th century, the English village settlement on the banks of the Moshassuck and Providence Rivers grew, and other settlements were established on…

Right here in the heart of the city lies a trace of an ancient trailway used by the Indigenous Peoples who inhabited this region for thousands of years before the arrival of Europeans. This stop is located on a ridge of land looking east over the…

Nathaniel and his brother Peleg (II) were sons of the Rev. Peleg Heath. Reverend Heath was the minister of the Old Barrington Village's Congregational Meetinghouse from 1728 until 1740, when it moved from Jenny's Lane to its current County Road…

The Green Bush Tavern (owned by Nathanial Paine) is believed to have been the oldest of the taverns in Old Barrington Village--predating the nearby Bowen and Kinnicutt taverns. In her book Stage-Coach and Tavern Days (1900) author A.M. Earle…

The sole remaining vestige of Old Barrington Village's tavern-friendly past stands at 509 County Road. This c. 1840 Greek Revival style structure first saw life as the Kinnicutt Tavern, owned and operated by George R. Kinnicutt who followed in the…

On July 23rd 1770, Henry Bowen was granted license to 'keep a publick House of Entertainment'. From that day, until he sold it to Joshua Bicknell and Enoch Remington in 1783, Bowen kept a tavern, inn, and country store just north of Old Barrington…

In his 1898 book, A History of Barrington Rhode Island, Thomas William Bicknell wrote, "The principal tavern in most towns, as in Barrington, was near the meetinghouse, and from each was a well-trodden path to the door of the other." Records…

The buses in the RIPTA parking lot on Melrose Street rest in orderly lines. Beside them, rows of cars glitter behind a chain link fence. This lot in South Providence used to echo with more than just the low rumble of engines-it was once the site of…

Field's Point sits at the southeastern tip of Providence, jutting out into the Narragansett Bay. The shoreline is studded with broken reeds, stones, and sea-worn trash; seagulls and brants bob in the water. Worn foot paths lead wanderers through an…

The dirt and gravel parking lot at the corner of South Water Street and Tockwotton Street is modestly sized, giving little clue to the extensive iron foundry complex that once existed on the site. The Fuller Iron Works, founded in 1840, was a…