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What is the history of Providence, Rhode Island, USA?

People, Pictures, Old Postcards and Stories From the Past

Explore Providence, Rhode Island, USA. Discover its history. Learn about the people who lived there through stories, old newspaper articles, pictures and genealogy.
Providence, Providence, Rhode Island, USA

"Providence, a city (the second of New England in population, wealth, and importance), port of entry, and one of the capitals of the state of Rhode Island, and the county seat of Providence co., is situated at the head of navigation, N. of Narragansett Bay, 30 miles by rail and boat above Newport, 64 miles N.E. of New London, Conn., and 44 miles S.S.W. of Boston, Mass. Lat. 41°49'22" N.; lon. 71°24' 48" W. Providence is delightfully situated around a little lake called “the Cove,” into which two small rivers, the Woonasquatucket and Moshassuck, empty from the N.W. and N.N.E., and out of which, on the S.E., flows the Providence River southward into Narragansett Bay, while the Seekonk forms the E. boundary of the city, entering the bay at the mouth of the Providence. The rivers Woonasquatucket, Moshassuck, and Providence divide the city into 3 parts,—the East Side, the West Side, and Tenth Ward. The Cove is elliptical in shape, nearly a mile in circuit, enclosed by a stone wall surmounted with an iron railing, and almost surrounded by a small park, handsomely laid out and shaded with noble elms. The streets are irregularly laid out. The site is uneven. In Tenth Ward there are numerous hills and valleys. The city has an abundant supply of water, a complete system of sewerage, several public parks, efficient police and fire departments, and is well lighted throughout by gas and electricity. It has internal communications by horse-car lines, cable-cars, and electric railways. The railroads which centre here are the Old Colony, the New York & New England, and the New York, New Haven & Hartford. The manufacturing industries are located chiefly along the banks of the Woomasquatucket and Moshassuck, partly within Tenth Ward...

Providence was settled by Roger Williams in 1636. A local government was organized in 1640, and in 1649 the settlement was incorporated as a town. The first houses were erected near St. John's church, on what is now North Main street. Pop. in 1840, 23,172; in 1850, 41,513; in 1860, 50,666; in 1870, 68,904; in 1880, 104,857; in 1890, 132,146."

Lippincott's Gazetteer of the World: A Complete Pronouncing Gazetteer Or Geographical Dictionary of the World Containing Notices of Over One Hundred and Twenty-five Thousand Places ...
Joseph Thomas
January 1, 1895
J.B. Lippincott

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  • 1636 - ROGER WILLIAMS was banished from the colony of Massachusetts due to his outspoken views of religious inequality, fled to the head of Narraganset Bay, and there, with a few followers, planted the seed of the commonwealth of Rhode Island in 1636

    rhodeislandcolonialera.weebly.com/ culture.html

  • 1647 - Three settlements united with Providence, formed single government
    Anne Hutchinson and her followers founded Portsmouth in 1638, while others of the same group established Newport. In 1643, several dissidents from...Read MORE...


  • 1662 - January 27 - 1st American lime kiln begins operation (Providence RI)

    historyorb.com

  • 1663 - King Charles II granted charter for Rhode Island, Providence Plantations
    THE CHARTER, GRANTED BY KING CHARLES II., July 8, 1663, and in force until the adoption of the Constitution, May, 1843.

    sos.ri.gov/ library/ ...Read MORE...


  • 1764 - Brown University in Providence is the state's oldest institution of higher education and one of the oldest in the nation. It was chartered in 1764 as Rhode Island College.

    www.ereferencedesk.com/ resources/ state-facts/ rhode-island.html

  • News 1772 - 1st naval attack of Revolutionary War takes place in Providence, RI
    Rhode Island residents burn British ship Gaspee to protest tax laws.

    The World Almanac of the U.S.A, by Allan Carpenter and Carl Provorse,...Read MORE...


  • In 1791, Providence Bank was established with capital of $400,000.
    The Edinburgh Encyclopaedia, Volume 3
    Author Sir David Brewster
    Publisher J. & E. Parker, 1832
    Page 229

  • News 1804 - Brown university, founded in 1764, at Providence, Rhode Island, was known as Rhode Island college until 1804, when its name changed in honor of Nicolas Brown, American merchant, who had given it $100,000.

    The Morning Herald
    Hagerstown, Maryland
    May 7, 1926

  • 1815 - Destructive hurricane hits New England
    "The Great September Gale" hit New England in September of 1815. It first made landfall on Long Island, N.Y., and then again in Connecticut. The...Read MORE...


  • News 1817 - An Elm tree is standing near Providence, R. I. which measures, 4 feet from the ground, 21 feet in circumference.
    There are 18 main branches, averaging 6 feet 3 inches in circumference; the circumference, of the whole outline of the branches is 378 feet!

    genealogybank.com
    Spectator
    New York
    September 16, 1817

  • Providence, Rhode Island, USA
    The Arcade, Built 1828
  • News 1842 - May 19 – Dorr Rebellion: Militiamen supporting Thomas Wilson Dorr attack the arsenal in Providence, Rhode Island, but are repulsed.

    www.wikipedia.org
    May 19, 1842

  • News 1848 - A man in Providence, Rhode Island, bet five dollars that he could eat a large basket of peaches in one hour.
    He was successful, having dispatched one hundred and fifty-two good sized peaches in fifty-two minutes.

    Another man ate a basket full without...Read MORE...


  • Providence, Rhode Island, USA
    Arcade, Providence
    THE HISTORY & TOPOGRAPHY OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, published by J & F Tallis in London about 1850.
  • News 1873 - Joseph Sweet, ninety-one years of age, has been elected President of the Eagle National Bank at Providence, Rhode Island.
    Whether Joseph will make it sweeter for himself or the bank is not definitely known.
    The Indianapolis News
    Indianapolis, Indiana
    April 24, 1873

  • News 1873 - Providence, Rhode Island, has a big gasometer, and the city papers are confident its dome is the largest in the world, it being 140 feet in diameter, or one foot larger than the dome of St. Peter's in Rome.
    It holds, above the top of the tank, 1,540,000 cubic feet.
    The Indianapolis News
    Indianapolis, Indiana
    April 8, 1873

  • Providence, Rhode Island, USA
    Scenes in Providence
    Picturesque America... Oliver Bell Bunce, William Cullen Bryant
    New York: D. Appleton & Co., 1872-1874.
  • 1877 - President Rutherford Hayes tested new telephone, call from Rocky Point to Providence, distance 8 miles
    The rich and the famous also came to Rocky Point. One of its most illustrious visitors was President Rutherford B. Hayes, who visited here in 1877,...Read MORE...


  • 1878 - George M. Cohan was born in Providence in 1878. He wrote, "I'm a Yankee Doodle Dandy," "You're a Grand Old Flag," and a wide variety of other musical entertainment.

    www.ereferencedesk.com/ resources/ state-facts/ rhode-island.html

  • News 1882 - Six of the persons injured in yesterday's fire in the Callender building, Providence, Rhode Island, have already died, and it is expected that the injuries of others will prove fatal.

    The Indianapolis News
    Indianapolis, Indiana
    November 22, 1882

  • News 1888 - MORE FIRES IN PROVIDENCE. THE THIRD LARGE BLAZE WITHIN FIVE DAYS.
    PROVIDENCE, R. I., Feb. 19. - The third large fire during the last five days occurred this afternoon on the scene of the disastrous conflagration of...Read MORE...


  • News 1890 - THE BIG PROVIDENCE FIRE. THOUSANDS OF CURIOUS PERSONS WATCHING THE RUINS.
    PROVIDENCE, R. I., Dec. 14. - Thousands of spectators flocked around the scene of Saturday's half-million-dollar fire to-day. Chief of Police Child...Read MORE...


  • Providence, Rhode Island, USA
    1890s
    Horsfords Acid Phosphate
    Rumford Chemical Works
    Providence, R.I.
  • Providence, Rhode Island, USA
    Good Will Engine Co., No. 13
  • 1894 - April 10 - Providence, RI received 9 inches of snow

    The Weather Channel

  • News 1895 - KILLED BY A BOILER EXPLOSION - The Accident Occurs Just as a Crowd of Rhode Island Ice Harvesters Begin Work on Mashapang Pond.
    PROVIDENCE, R. I., Feb. 4 - A boiler exploded at the icehouses of Earl, Carpenter & Sons, at Mashapang Pond this morning. Four men were killed and...Read MORE...


  • 1895 - Blizzard - THE STORM STILL HOVERS OVER THE UNITED STATES. IT IS SEVEREST IN THE EAST. TRAFFIC ALMOST ENTIRELY AT A STANDSTILL -- RAILROAD TRAINS BLOCKADED -- BUSINESS PARALYZED -- PEOPLE FROZEN TO DEATH AT SEVERAL PLACES...
    ...Damage Done By High Tide.
    Providence, Feb. 9. - The high tide has done damage in this city almost equal to the great flood of September 1868....Read MORE...


  • News 1896 - Gotta De Mon' - An Italian Banker Skips From Providence, Rhode Island
    Providence, R. I., Sept. 2. - The Banca Popolare has closed its doors and today there was an excited lot of depositors in the Italian colony on...Read MORE...


  • News 1896 - November 22 - Announcements
    E.W. Theinert, of Providence, R.I., will deliver an address upon socialism in U. V. W. Hall this evening at 7:30...
    Worcester Daily Spy
    Worcester, Massachusetts
    November 22, 1896

  • 1898 - Providence - The Colony of Hope by William B. Weeden
    The capital of Rhode Island, the second city of New England, an agricultural village in the seventeenth, a commercial port in the eighteenth, and a...Read MORE...


  • News 1899 - Socialist Labor Party. E. W. Theinert of Providence Was the Orator of the Evening

    Pawtucket Times
    Pawtucket, Rhode Island
    March 31, 1899

  • News May 15, 1900: Rain and fish fell from the sky in Olneyville, Rhode Island. Most of the fish measured 2- to 4-inches long.
    NOTE: Olneyville is a neighborhood in Providence, Rhode Island
    The Old Farmer's Almanac www.almanac.com
    May 15, 1900

  • Providence, Rhode Island, USA
    The Mall, Exchange Place, Providence, R.I.
  • Providence, Rhode Island, USA
    Civic Center
  • Providence, Rhode Island, USA
    Crown Hotel
  • Providence, Rhode Island, USA
    Journal Building. Providence, R. I.
  • Providence, Rhode Island, USA
    Providence College, Providence, R. I.
  • Providence, Rhode Island, USA
    Carrie Tower, Brown University, Providence, R. I.
  • Providence, Rhode Island, USA
    Concert Pavilion and Casino, Roger Williams Park, Providence, R. I.
  • Providence, Rhode Island, USA
    Washington Bridge. Providence, R. I.
  • News 1904 - SLIPPERY SIDEWALKS - City Ordinance Does Not Appear to Be Effective.
    The sidewalks in the city of Providence are beginning to assume the same condition as last winter, many of them being already covered with snow and...Read MORE...


  • News 1905 - $100,000 FIRE IN PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND
    Providence, R. I., March 16 - Fire and water today damaged Music Hall block in the center of the city to an amount estimated at $100,000.
    The Piqua Daily Call
    Piqua, Ohio
    March 16, 1905

  • News 1905 - PANIC FOLLOWS EXPLOSION. All Providence Scared Over Prediction of Christmas Disaster.
    Special to The New York Times.

    PROVIDENCE, R. I., Dec. 22. - A slight explosion in a jewelry factory, within a short block of the shopping...Read MORE...


  • News 1905 - PIRATE DRUGGED HIM. Arrested Shipmate Tells Strange Story of Sloop Dorado.
    Special to The New York Times.

    NEWPORT, Oct. 24. - The arrest of Otto Steifel in Providence to-day proved of great importance in clearing up the...Read MORE...


  • 1906
    Providence, a city, port of entry, capital of the state of Rhode Island, and the county seat of Providence co., is situated at the head of navigation ...Read MORE...


  • News 1908 - Luxury Tax on Bachelors
    The Mayor of Providence, Rhode Island, has issued an "irade" declaring that bachelors should be taxed. Evidently His Honor believes that...Read MORE...


  • Providence, Rhode Island, USA
    Gorham Mfg. Co. Plant and Elmwood Railway Station
  • Providence, Rhode Island, USA
    John Carter Brown Library, Brown University
  • Providence, Rhode Island, USA
    S. S. Peter's and Paul's Cathedral
  • Providence, Rhode Island, USA
    Rhode Island State Capitol
  • Providence, Rhode Island, USA
    Turks Head Building
  • Providence, Rhode Island, USA
    Weybosset Street, Providence, R.I.
  • News 1912 - Cotton Mill King Dead
    Providence, Rhode Island, Nov. 26. - Robert Knight, owner of more cotton mills than any other individual in the world, died today, aged eighty-six....Read MORE...


  • Providence, Rhode Island, USA
    Rhode Island State Normal School, 1912
  • News 1914 - Theinert Nominated by State Socialists Lincoln Man Named for Governor in State Convention of Party

    Pawtucket Times
    Pawtucket, Rhode Island
    October 12, 1914

  • Providence, Rhode Island, USA
    New State Armory
  • Providence, Rhode Island, USA
    Rhode Island Hospital Trust Co.
  • Providence, Rhode Island, USA
    Moses Brown School
  • Providence, Rhode Island, USA
    The New R.R. Station
  • Providence, Rhode Island, USA
    Patents - U.S. and Foreign
    Joseph A. Miler & Company

    New Bedford ... directory : of the inhabitants, business firms, institutions, streets, societies (1915) Author: W.A. Greenough & Co Volume: 1915 Publisher: Boston : W.A. Greenough & Co.
  • Providence, Rhode Island, USA
    Crompton & Knowles Loom Works
  • Providence, Rhode Island, USA
    New Industrial Trust Building, Exchange Place
  • 1927 - The Dartmouth [New Hampshire] football team, scheduled to play Brown at Providence, R. I. tomorrow, was marooned at Hanover, N. H.
    Overflowing of the White River had flooded a bridge between Hanover and White River Junction, Vt., making it impossible for the team to reach White...Read MORE...


  • Providence, Rhode Island, USA
    First Baptist Meeting House
  • Providence, Rhode Island, USA
    "Front Campus"
    Brown University
    Providence, R.I.
  • 1938 - "Long Island Express" - HURRICANE, FLOODS SWEEP NEW ENGLAND. 296 WERE KILLED IN STORM ALONG ATLANTIC COAST; PROPERTY DAMAGE ENORMOUS.
    ...Providence Struck By Tidal Wave.
    Providence was one of the chief sufferers in Rhode Island, tremendous tides sweeping 1,000 feet into the city...Read MORE...


  • 1944 - HURRICANE HITS NEW YORK AND NEW ENGLAND COASTS. HIGH WINDS LASH JERSEY, LONG ISLAND.
    ...In Providence the water of the Providence River was but three feet from the floor of the Point Street bridge. The river empties into Narragansett...Read MORE...


  • News 1945 - March 29 - Providence, RI, hit 90 degrees to establish a March record for the New England area.

    The Weather Channel
    March 29, 1945

  • 1949 - July 10 - WJAR TV channel 10 in Providence, RI (NBC) begins broadcasting

    historyorb.com

  • 1954 - Hurricane Carol - HURRICANE ROARS ACROSS LONG ISLAND. FIVE KILLED BY STORM IN NEW ENGLAND.
    ...Providence, R. I., was flooded when the storm struck at high tide. Water pushed into the downtown area to within two feet of the level reached in...Read MORE...


  • News 1960 - October 20 - 1st fully mechanized post office opened, Providence, RI

    historyorb.com
    October 20, 1960

  • 1975 - August 2 - Temperature reached 104 degrees at Providence, RI

    The Weather Channel



Providence, Rhode Island, USA Genealogy

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Updated: 5/4/2019 8:44:28 AM

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