The Providence Cove

Prior to the 19th Century, hundreds of acres of water covered most of the area below the current Rhode Island State House--the Great Salt Cove,--which was large enough to admit sailing ships, and had a swath of salt marshes to its west. In the 1700s,…

What’s Hidden Under the Laurentide

Under the Laurentide (granite, water | 2014) Renowned artist and architect Maya Lin is “constantly exploring and revealing aspects of the natural world [such as] places that are hidden beneath the surface of the water…” Lin has always been…

“The Freedom to be Womanly” at Pembroke College

For 100+ years, students have been discussing the history and role of women in this exact seminar room. Imagine writing on the chalkboard. Feel the history in the dark wood chairs, revel in the gaze of the figures lining the ceiling. Each frieze…

No Label, No Learning: Busts in the John Hay Library

Ann Carter Brown, George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Gardner Colby, Albert Harkness, William Shakespeare, Elisha Benjamin Andrews, Julius Caesar! Notice the range of individuals staring down at you. The busts range from historical figures in…

Campus Myths and Implicit Bias: The Van Wickle Gates

What’s the worst that can happen if you walk under the Gates other than for invocation and commencement? Well, it depends on your gender. Legend has it that if you’re a woman and you walk through more than twice, you will not get married. But if…

Stretching Towards Equality: The Slavery Memorial

As you stand in front of the memorial, you see a ball and chain sunk into the ground. Walk a few steps closer, and you’ll see your reflection staring back at you. Text is etched lightly onto the surface on the nearby stone, and you likely must squint…

(Still) Waiting for Washington

“On the President’s landing, he was welcomed by a federal discharge of Cannon, and the Ringing of Bells. The Concourse of People was prodigious. The Procession was conducted with great Decorum, and exceeded anything of the Kind before exhibited in…

“To Henry Paget Esq. for 29 Days Work of Pero”

Pero, slave. Job, Native American. Mingow, free African. Have you heard about these men on the admissions tour? These individuals were three of at least four slave laborers who built University Hall, then called the College Edifice for the College of…

Repainting Tradition: Sayles Hall Portraits

“When we read history, it is merely a record of abstract names.’ - Lord Palmerston Lord Palmerston, one of the early supporters of the National Portrait Gallery, felt that the Gallery would act as a source of inspiration by providing visual…

La Salle Academy

The area between Broadway and Fountain Streets in La Salle Square--currently a large surface parking lot surrounded by a black, wrought-iron fence--has hosted not only the parked vehicles of Providence Bruins fans and suburban commuters, but also…

Eddy Estate

Franciscan Park, known to most as the Bell Street Dog Park, is a lively spot on a sunny day. Paths loop around the grassy expanse and dogs roam under shade trees or trot along a dirt track overlooking Route 6. This parcel of land was once the…

Silver Lake Basin

In the 18th century, Silver Lake was a quiet, rural area, part of the town of Johnston, with most residents living on farms. The character of the neighborhood changed significantly after the extension of the Plainfield Street trolley line in 1882;…

Fort Adams

As reported in an 1854 Harper's Monthly piece, the Germania Musical Society was likely the "band" who played at Fort Adams one afternoon when the Fort was "turned into a Hyde Park" with "Horsemen and chariots" parading to the music. The scene…

Chateau-sur-Mer

In the summer of 1857, preceding the trend-setting Astors and Belmonts, and epitomizing the transition to a more private and exclusive Newport, William Wetmore (former China-trade magnate) threw a big party for his good friend, the financier, George…

The Bellevue House Hotel

In 1828, the Bellevue House on Catherine Street made a splash as the first genuine resort hotel in Newport, helping to shape a burgeoning culture that would soon propel a new economic boom for the city. During the magical summers of the late 1840s…

The Ocean House Hotel

In his memoir, the Germania Musical Society's Henry Albrecht painted an interesting picture of the ensemble's relationship to Newport during the "hotel period," stating: "the magical effect of the sounds of the orchestra aroused not very solemn…

The Atlantic House Hotel

The Newport Mercury announced a "Grand Instrumental Concert" to be given by the full Germania Musical Society ensemble on July 16, 1849 at the grand hall of the Atlantic House. Tickets were fifty cents. Doors opened at 7:30pm. The concert began at…

Rhode Island’s “Paradise” Oakland Beach

Close your eyes and think of the word, “paradise.” What do you see? For many Rhode Islanders in the late 19th and early 20th century, they would picture Oakland Beach. Oakland Beach is found in Warwick, Rhode Island, where one can still enjoy its…

A Day in Newport: Easton’s Beach

Easton’s Beach is a beach of many names. You may also have heard it called First Beach or Newport Beach. But whatever its name is, the beach can be found on the strip of land on Easton’s Bay that connects the peninsula named Easton’s Point in…

Crescent Park: Carousels and Clambakes on the Coast

“Flying Horses, Swings, Elevated Railroads, ‘Chutes,’ and other forms of attractions abound; there is a large hotel on the grounds, and the dining halls for shore dinners are the most extensive on the bay.” --Official Souvenir of the Exposition of…

Rocky Point Park is Not Forgotten

Rocky Point Park is still on many Rhode Islanders’ minds. The park, shut down in 1995, was a beloved part of Rhode Island since the 1850s. Over the 19th and 20th centuries, the park grew to its final mammoth size, and continued to renovate and update…

Hurricanes and Hotels at Watch Hill

The year? 1938. The weather? The worst you’ve ever seen. The hurricane that hit Rhode Island shook the coast to its core, wreaking havoc on its beaches. Watch Hill was no exception. Watch Hill in Westerly, RI, one of Rhode Island’s finest…

Princess Red Wing

Wanting to animate the ground that had become cold over the centuries, Princess Red Wing initiated the Great Swamp Massacre Ceremony in the late 1930s. The ceremony starkly contrasted with the 1906 dedication of the monument to the Great Swamp Fight.…

Sarah Muckamug

Near this location in 1741, Mary Wilkinson found Sarah Muckamug crying after a visit from the father of her four children, Aaron Whipple, an enslaved man living in Providence. Their relationship was over after more than a decade. The couple had never…

Samuel Niles

The church that you see here today was not the original structure built on this site in 1750. The earlier church was made of wood; its chimney can still be seen in the interior of the current church. Here, Samuel Niles was one of the first in a long…

Quaiapen

Quiapen was a powerful Niantic female sachem through birth and marriage and was the last Narragansett-Niantic leader to be captured or killed in King Philip's War (1675-1676).During the summer of 1676, Quaiapen and her followers, mainly women and…

Metacomet

Within a mile of this location, Metacomet, also called King Philip, and his men were ambushed by Captain Benjamin Church of the Plymouth Colony on August 12, 1676. Church had followed Metacomet to his long-time stronghold on Montaup (Mount Hope)…