Category Archives: Providence

Hardscrabble and Snowtown

Hardscrabble in 1824 was a poor hamlet of respectable families headed mostly by free black tradesmen, craftsmen and servants in the town of Providence. Blacks and others along Olney Lane (now Olney Street) lived cheek by jowl, however, with prostitutes, … Continue reading

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A view of Providence in 1808

The Rhode Island Historical Society yesterday displayed its amazing 1809 drop curtain, owned by the society since 1833 and depicting the town as it appeared in 1808, twenty years before the Providence Arcade was built in 1828. It is thought … Continue reading

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The stately capitol of R.I.

In whole or in part, the design of the Rhode Island State House (1901) can be read at many levels, directly or intuitively. The volutes of the Ionic capitals on the four cupolas, or tourelles, surrounding the dome suggest the … Continue reading

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Tenn. Tuxedo & P. Purebred

The image above of the Rhode Island State House (Charles Follen McKim, 1900), set against a classical metropolitan backdrop in its role as City Hall, is from the 2007 film Underdog. That year I wrote a column for the Providence … Continue reading

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A history of Thayer Street

I’ve been invited to read from my book Lost Providence during an open-mic session this Friday, March 22, at the Brooklyn Coffee, Tea & Guest House, 207-209 Douglas Ave., at 6 p.m., $5, in Providence. But I think instead that … Continue reading

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Needless fold on Blackstone

It looks as if the mansion and the even lovelier caretaker’s cottage at the Beresford-Nicholson estate on Blackstone Boulevard may be coming down. The developer, the Bilotti Group, brought to Tuesday afternoon’s meeting, as requested, a concept to subdivide the … Continue reading

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R.I. still has WaterFire

The PawSox may be goners, but Rhode Island remains chock full of excellent attractions. One list summarizing what to see or do in the Ocean State comes from Jim Gillis’s column in the Newport Daily News lamenting that “PawSox move … Continue reading

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L’ApogĂ©e, here we come!

This afternoon’s meeting of the Downtown Design Review Committee was cut short when one applicant, the developer of a second ugly building on Canal Street next to the first one now under construction, begged off till next time. In its … Continue reading

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Jewelry District dejewelled

The image above recently landed in my online mailbox atop an invitation from the Jewelry District Association to attend a groundbreaking for River House, the two leftmost buildings. The third, at right, is the decommissioned South Street Station power plant, … Continue reading

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More on R.I. and Amazon

In my Friday post “How R.I. can get Amazon” I pretty much asserted that beauty could tip the scales for Rhode Island and its capital Providence. That seems highly unlikely. How many corporate CEOs decide such things (or anything) on … Continue reading

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