Town Farm

In June 1830, the residents of Tiverton gathered for the annual town meeting, an opportunity for the freemen of the town to participate in local government. Included on the day’s agenda was a proposal to create a town farm as a refuge for the…

Old Stone Baptist Church

There was a time when, if a bride wanted to walk up the aisle at the Old Stone Baptist Church, she had to hoist herself, gown and all, through one of the church’s back windows. Most churches place the pulpit and the main entrance at opposite ends…

Whitridge Hall

This site, the former Whitridge Hall, served as the launching pad for a memorable show business career. In the 1950s, a summer theater troupe called this building home. The troupe hired an 18-year-old actor named Charles Nelson Reilly, who made his…

Former Site of Fefa's Market

If we had to find one person who represents Dominicans in Rhode Island, it would have to be Josefina Rosario. “Doña Fefa” is loved, respected and celebrated as the "Mother of the Dominican Community." Dominicans are now the largest group of…

Our Lady of Immaculate Conception Church

The Diocese of Fall River founded Our Lady of Immaculate Conception Church in 1909 to serve New Bedford’s growing Portuguese community in the North End of the city. The ethnic church offers Portuguese and English masses, and parishioners relish its…

Feast of the Blessed Sacrament Arch

Immigrants from the Portuguese islands of the Azores, Cape Verde, and Madeira first arrived in New Bedford as crew aboard whaling vessels, but their presence in the town was often transitory. By 1905, more than 7,000 immigrants from these islands…

Orpheum Theater and French Sharpshooters Hall

Although known today as the Orpheum Theater, the French Sharpshooter’s Club of New Bedford—Le Club des Francs-Tireurs—constructed this building to serve as its headquarters. Formed by French-Canadian immigrants, the Sharpshooters Club was a social…

Portuguese Feast Grounds

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 100 years old, the Feast of the Blessed Sacrament was founded by…

Temple Landing

To understand the full history of these bright new houses you must travel back half a century to the summers of the late 1960s and early 1970s. During the Civil Rights era, black residents of New Bedford increasingly voiced their discontent over high…

Ponto Um Market

Walking into Ponto Um, an unassuming shop on Warren Avenue in East Providence, you may be greeted with a cheerful “Bom dia!” or another Portuguese expression. Ponto Um, which translates to Point One, advertises the “Best Variety of Brazilian…

DePasquale Square

Entering Narragansett Bay in 1524, the explorer Giovanni de Verrazano was probably the first Italian visitor to Rhode Island, long before tomatoes made it to these parts. Rhode Island named the Jamestown Verrazano Bridge (in the southeastern part of…

Mary Balch's School (Demolished)

Today, needlepoint samplers that were done by students – many of them age 10 and under – at Mary Balch’s School can fetch over $100,000 at Sotheby’s auctions; they fill Pinterest pages and have had starring roles on PBS’ Antiques Roadshow. At its…

“Deliver me from the Oppression of Man.”

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…

"Watchman, what of the night?"

By the early 1900s, race relations in the United Sates had grown increasingly tumultuous. Despite the abolishment of slavery, post-Civil War America was laden with barriers for people of color. Prominent Black leaders disagreed about how best to…

God’s Little Acre

“In Memory of Duchess Quamino, A free black of distinguished excellence: Intelligent, Industrious, Affectionate, Honest, and of Exemplary Piety, Who deceased June 4, 1804, aged 65.” Quamino’s weather-worn marker, along with nearly 300 others,…

Education at Any Cost

"I remember being much pleased with my nice clothes, and still more so, as I saw so many boys and girls of all sizes at the school, all dressed so nice and clean. … I thought it was one of the most charming sights I had ever beheld." - William J.…

Along the Waterfront

Imagine the Fox Point waterfront in the 1940s. Cargo ships lined up to get into crowded docks. Longshoremen bustled along the busy quays. Crowds waited to welcome packet ships bringing new immigrants and news from Cape Verde.Many of the longshoremen…

"A Farm Suitable for Keeping the Poor"

In June 1830, the residents of Tiverton gathered for the annual town meeting, an opportunity for the freemen of the town to participate in local government. Included on the day’s agenda was a proposal to create a town farm as a refuge for the…

"Positively Irrepressible!"

In 1861, five young ladies, attendees of a prominent Providence academy for girls, met together for an afternoon of sewing. Unlike many of their classmates, they were concerned with more than the latest fashions, juicy local gossip, and their future…

Where Did West Elmwood Go?

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,…

Spiritual Cleansing: Religion at Mashapaug Pond

In the summers, Providence residents waded into Mashapaug Pond to get clean – or, more precisely, for spiritual cleansing. "The choir would sing and the Word was preached before the candidate entered the water to have his sins washed away," recalled…

Saving Murphy-Trainor Park

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…

Playing Around the Pond

On a frigid February in 1904, fifty riders and horses gathered at frozen Mashapaug Pond for an afternoon of racing on the ice. Beyond the pleasure of competition, the races gave local residents a chance to admire each other’s horses and to appreciate…

Industrial Legacies: Environment and Economics

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…

Gorham’s Toxic Legacy

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…

Geology and Topography of Mashapaug Pond

What did Mashapaug Pond look like five years ago? Fifty years ago? Five hundred years ago? Five hundred million years ago? How was that terrain different from today? The physical appearance of the pond today has slowly evolved through the dual…