As part of a nationwide “City Beautiful” movement in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Providence’s civic leaders envisioned the creation of numerous parks through the city as a means to provide refuge and beauty for its citizens as…

Between 1860 and 1880, Providence’s population doubled in size. With this flood of newcomers seeking employment in rapidly expanding industrial and manufacturing sectors came the high demand for housing. Areas to the the west and northwest of the…

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.…

Come in and have a slice, courtesy of William Howland and his utopian mill village. The famous Ma Raffa’s restaurant now occupies one of the worker cottages of the Howland Mill Village, an important experiment in industrial housing that occurred…

Shortly before nine o’clock on the morning of February 27, 1897, a 16-foot boiler at Acushnet Mills exploded. Flying debris nearly demolished a building a quarter of a mile away, and a large piece of the boiler crashed through the roof of the south…

In 1892, the Reverend William J. Potter referred to the Wamsutta four tenements as a "pestiferous excresence." While the company built neat rows of brick double-houses for its skilled workers close to the mills, the company also constructed…

With the new Wamsutta Mill rising on the banks of the Acushnet River, its proprietors tried to attract a new workforce. Wamsutta needed skilled weavers, loom fixers, and managers, and New Bedford’s workers hunted whales and made rope and candles. In…

More than 100 years after its founding, the Feast still begins and ends at Our Lady of Immaculate Conception Church. Though in recent years the religious aspects of the Feast have taken a backseat to its many secular offerings, the Feast’s four…

This metal archway welcomes 100,000 attendees each year to New Bedford’s Feast of the Blessed Sacrament. It is a year-round reminder of the importance of this annual event in New Bedford’s North End. Positioned on the edge of Madeira Field, the…

“Bay Village First to Go Solar, Makes History Again!” shouts the enthusiastic headline on the New Bedford Housing Authority website. Accompanied by a video, the announcement about New Bedford’s oldest public housing project has an upbeat feel that…

If it’s the first weekend in August, it’s time for “The Feast.” New Bedford’s Feast of the Blessed Sacrament is the largest Portuguese Feast in the world and attracts 100,000 visitors to its festival grounds on Madeira Field each year. Now more than…

Listen closely and you might hear the footsteps of hundreds of mill workers who lived in tenements on the block bounded by Rivet, Potomska, Second, and First Streets. Only two remain, but there once existed a complex of ten six-tenement buildings…

“Ever Since I Can Remember, I’ve Been Working”—Alfred BenoitAlfred Benoit was one of many youths who spent their childhood laboring in the brutal, unforgiving mills of New Bedford. Born September 3, 1900, Alfred began working in 1912 as a floor…

Rainbow-colored homes spring up from the street grid in New Bedford’s West End like children’s play blocks. However, underneath the colorful patina of the Temple Landing Apartments lays a dramatic history of protest, neglect, and reuse. To…