King's Pocket-book of Providence, RI

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from "King's Pocket-book of Providence, R.I." Moses King, Cambridge, Mass., 1882 Tibbitts, Shaw & Co., Providence, RI

The interesting and most important public features of the City of Providence, Rhode Island, in 1882


Copyright, 1882, by Moses King.

"It is the design of this book to describe briefly the interesting and most important public features of the city of Providence. The descriptions are all arranged in strictly alphabetical order, so as to afford instantaneous access to any subject. The material has been carefully compiled and critically revised. The work was done chiefly by Harry E. Manchester, a native of Providence, and for several years past clerk in the office of the Superintendent of Health. A part of the work was done by Robert Grieve, who was the author of several important chapters in 'Picturesque Rhode Island'. To them and to others who have assisted in its compilation, and also to the business men who have encouraged its publication by means of their patronage, is due the gratitude of the EDITOR AND PUBLISHER.

illustration, facing page: Macullar, Parker and Company, Manufacturers of Ready Made and Custom Clothing, No. 112 Westminster St., Providence, R.I. ads preceding introduction: D. P. Isley & Co. of Boston, Hatters and Furriers, 281 Washington St., Boston. Lewando's French Dye House, 17 Temple Place, Boston, U. S. A., branch office 270 Westminster St., Providence, R.I. Horsford's Acid Phosphate (Liquid), for Dyspepsia, Mental and Physical Exhaustion, Nervousness, Diminished Vitality, Etc., Manufactured by the Rumford Chemical Works, Providence, R. I.

A BATCH OF HISTORICAL NOTES -- In 1636 Roger Williams, with a few followers, exiled from the colony of Massachusetts for their religious views, crossed the Seekonk River, exchanged salutations with the Indians at State Rock, coasted around the headland of Tockwotton, and finally landed near a spring of pure water on the banks of the Moshassuck River. Here Roger Williams began a settlement, which in gratitude for the 'Providence of the Most Holy and Only Wise', he called Providence. In 1649 it was incorporated as a town, the north part of which was almost entirely destroyed by fire in 1676 by the Indians, during King Philip's war. In 1708, by the first census ever taken in the colony, Providence number 1,446 souls, or about 800 less than Newport. The latter town never recovered from the effects of the Revolution; and the census in 1800 returns the population of Providence as 7,614, while that of Newport was 6,739. The growth of Providence from that time has been steady and rapid. In 1832, the date of its incorporation as a city, it contained about 18,000 inhabitants. In 1850 this number had increased to 41,513, in 1870 to 68,904, and in 1880 to 104,587. The present estimated population of the city is 116,000. This increase of over 60 per cent in the past 12 years is due in part to important annexations. In the succeeding pages will be found much historical matter pertaining directly to the subjects of the respective paragraphs. At no time in its history has Providence been more prosperous than it is in 1882.

ABATTOIRS -- Very little slaughtering of cattle is done here; as within the past few years it has been found that the business could be done better and cheaper in the West, and the carcasses instead of the live animals are now shipped East. Several local firms, however, have slaughter-houses where they kill sheep and hogs, and occasionally a few cattle. On the line of the Boston and Providence Railroad, between Providence and Pawtucket, the most extensive of these houses are situated. The firms using them, each of whom have separate establishments, are I. B. Mason & Son, 98 Canal St., who slaughter between 40,000 and 50,000 hogs yearly; Comstock & Co., 101 Canal St., who kill about the same number; and H. W. Clark, 99 Canal St., about 25,000 sheep yearly. I. M. Lincoln, 112 Canal St., has a slaughter-house in North Providence, in which from 4,000 to 5,000 cattle and from 15,000 to 18,000 sheep are annually killed. Wilbur & Kendrick, 50 Canal St., at their slaughter-house in Olneyville kill annually 12,000 to 15,000 sheep.

ABBOTT PARK, on Broad St., adjoining the Beneficent Congregational Church, was conveyed, in 1746, by Daniel Abbott, to a committee of that church, 'for public use'. It contains 7,800 sq. ft. In the centre of the lot stands a graceful iron fountain, presented to the city in 1875 by Wm. H. Charnley and others.

ACADEMIES -- The chief local private schools or academies are LaSalle Academy; Mowry & Goff's English and Classical School; St. Francis Xavier Academy; Female Seminary of the Sacred Heart; School of the Society of Friends; J. P. C. Shaw's School; and the University Grammar School. Most of the above are described in their alphabetical places. See Schools and also Catholic Schools.

ACADEMY OF MUSIC is a name which a few years ago signified in Providence a dramatic hall, in the present Phenix Building, at No. 129 Westminster St., wherein numerous miscellaneous performances took place for a number of years. It outlived its usefulness when the Providence and Low's 'opera-houses' were built, and left the name to be used in course of time by some institution which will be more worthy of it.

ADAMS, John, the President of the United States, with his family, passed through Providence in August, 1797. He was escorted through the town by the Light Dragoons, and welcomed by the ringing of bells and the firing of cannon. The address presented to him by the citizens, and his reply, are printed in William R. Staple's 'Annals of the Town of Providence'.

ADVENT CHRISTIAN CHURCH, Hammond St., nr. Division. The society was org. in 1871 with 10 members, and worshipped in a hall on Broad St. until the erection of the present edifice in the summer of 1873. There have been four pastors since org. Present membership, 135; membership of Sunday school, 150; pastor, Norman P. Cook.

AFRICAN UNION CHURCH, Clayton St., belonging to the African Methodist Episcopal body, Eastern Conference, was founded Oct. 16, 1856; incorporated Feb. 7, 1860. The society worshipped in a hired room until 1870 or 1871, when a house near the upper end of Clayton St. was bought, and converted into a church, in which services have ever since been held. Present membership about 25. The pastor is Dennis Johnson.

AGRICULTURE -- According to the State Census of 1875, there were then in the limits of Providence 57 farms, containing a total of 2,383 acres, more than one-half of the entire area of the city. Of this acreage, 324 were ploughed land, 96 bog-meadow, 652 mowing-land, 673 pasture-land, and 567 woodland. The total value, including farms, buildings, and implements, was $1,910,410; value of live-stock, $41,505; of the produce of market-gardens, $29,855; of all farm-products, $92,070. Since 1875, although the city has increased in population, and many new dwellings have been erected, it is safe to assume that the amount of land under cultivation has increased rather than diminished. See Green-Houses.

AKERMAN COMPANY, incorporated in 1881, are the proprietors of the longest-established and largest bindery in Rhode Island. It was established in 1836, by Charles Akerman, who had learned his trade at the bindery of the famous University Press of Cambridge. Its premises now include the upper floors of the Washington Buildings, at the corner of Westminster Street and Washington Row. The main bindery-room is the old Mechancis' Hall, formerly occupied by the Mechanics' Association, of which for several years Mr. Akerman was president. The specialty of this firm is the manufacturing of blank-books, pattern cards, etc. In 1882 a job-printing office was added, so as to enable the Company to make on its own premises the complete stationery and blank-book outfits for counting-rooms and manufactories; and the binding of all kinds of books for individuals and for private and public libraries. Employment is given to about thirty-five hands, many of whom are old and very skilled workmen. The machinery and appliances of the establishment are of approved patterns; so that, although the concern is the oldest, it is nevertheless thoroughly equipped for the most modern work. The treasurer of the company is George T. Paine, a well-known resident of Providence for many years; and the manager is T. B. Rawson, who has been connected in various positions with the Akerman bindery for the past fifteen years.

ALDERMEN -- See Board of Aldermen, and City Government, for names of aldermen in 1882, and their functions.

ALFREDIANS is a secret order 'intended to provide for the welfare of born subjects of the lineal descendants of King Alfred, and those descended from branches of the same stock which have thrown off the political allegiance, but who rejoice to be bearers forward and the amplifiers of the glorious civilization inaugurated by Alfred.' It has no life-insurance features, but provides 'weekly sick-benefits'. In Providence there is one society called 'Brigade No. 1'. It meets at the Knights of Pythias hall, 56 Westminster St., the first and third Mondays of every month.

ALL SAINTS' MEMORIAL CHURCH, cor. of High and Stewart Sts., is a handsome specimen of Gothic architecture built of rough Portland stone. It has several beautiful windows, noticeably the large front window and that of the chancel. The massive doors, with their elaborate hinges of brass, are of oak, as is most of the interior wood-work. At the west end, facing the chancel, is a mural tablet in memory of the late Bishop Henshaw, father of the present rector. The society worshipping here was originally that of the old St. Andrew's Church, org. in 1846; whose church building, a small wooden structure, stood on Hospital, cor. Allen St., where the great gasometer now stands. In 1854 the building was removed to Friendship St., near Plane St., and in 1856 was enlarged to almost double its former size. The corner-stone of the present church was laid in 1869; the first service was held before its completion at Easter, 1872; and the final consecration, under the new name, took place on All Saints' Day, 1875. The rector, Rev. Daniel Henshaw, has held the position for 28 years.

AMATEUR DRAMATIC HALL, S. Main, cor. Power St., is a small hall with a stage and scenery adapted to private entertainments. Dramatic performances, concerts, fairs, socials, etc., of a select nature, are held here. The building has quite a history: erected in 1833 for a church, it served the Power-st. Methodist Episcopal Society nearly 40 years, was afterwards used as a riding-school, and since 1876 has been leased by the Amateur Dramatic Club.

ANNEXATIONS AND DIVISIONS -- Providence originally included in its jurisdiction nearly the whole of the territory now forming Providence County. As settlements were made in this region at a distance from Providence, portions were set apart and formed into separate townships as their situation and wants required. In this manner the towns of Gloucester, Smithfield and Scituate were set off Feb. 20, 1730-31; Cranston, June 14, 1754; Johnston, March 6, 1759; and North Providence, June 13, 1765. The other towns in the county, as at present existing, were either formed by divisions of these just mentioned or by annexations of Massachusetts territory. Portions of the town of Cranston were annexed to Providence, June 10, 1868, and March 28, 1873. Portions of North Providence were annexed June 29, 1767, and also March 28, 1873, and Mary 1, 1874."

Click here for a photo!ARCADE, THE, serves as a pleasant and convenient passageway from Westminster to Weybosset St. It is a large granite building, lighted by a glass-covered central court. It was erected in 1828, in the Ionic style, and divided into three stories of 26 stores each. At either end of the building stairways lead to galleries around the upper floors. As it is a much-frequented thoroughfare, it is a favorite place for retail stores, especially those in the millinery, fancy-goods, and kindred trades. Its cost was about $140,000.

AREA OF Providence -- See Providence.

ARION CLUB, THE, org. in 1880, has about 160 active members, both ladies and gentlemen, and about 300 associate members. The music practised is of a high order, and the concerts given by this society have been some of the most enjoyable ever heard in Providence. Jules Jordan is director.

ARSENAL, Benefit, nr. Meeting St. This gloomy structure of plastered stone, with its two castellated towers, was built in 1840 for a State Arsenal. Since the distribution of arms and munition in various parts of the State, it has been leased to the Providence Marine Corps of Artillery as an armory.


ART CLUB, THE PROVIDENCE, occupies a pleasant suite of rooms at 35 N. Main St. It was org. in 1880, and has at present a membership of nearly 250. The interests of art are promoted by meetings for mutual discussion and suggestion, by exhibitions in the spring and fall, and by a course of entertainments during the season. Occasionally loan exhibitions are held. A reading-room supplies the latest art intelligence. Admission on invitation by members. Yearly tax $6.00. Courtlandt B. Dorrance, sec'y.

ARTILLERY. See Marine Corps of Artillery.

ATHENAEUM, THE, College St., cor. Benefit, occupies a small and handsome granite building of the Grecian temple pattern. It stands upon a terrace approached by two flights of steps, bet. which is a drinking-fountain (see Drinking Fountains), and consists of a main story and a basement. The main floor holds the library collection of 40,000 vols.; the reading-room occupies the basement, which from the slope of College St., is a good height. Paintings, statues, busts, curiosities, etc., adorn the rooms. Nicholas Brown and the heirs of Thomas P. Ives, in 1836, offered the lot, $6,000 for the building, $4,000 for books; provided sums of $10,000 for a building and $4,000 for books should be raised. This was done, and the edifice completed late in 1837. The Athenaeum corporation, formed in 1836, was the outgrowth of two library associations, - The Providence, which established about 1754 the first library in Providence; and the Providence Athenaeum, chartered in 1831. The Athenaeum stock is divided into 699 shares, held by 685 individuals.

ATHENAEUM DRINKING-FOUNTAIN, THE, in front of the Athenaeum building, is a finely executed work of granite, presented to the corporation by the late Mrs. Anna Richmond. It bears the date of erection, 'A. D., 1873', and the inscription, 'Come hither every one that thirsteth'.

AUTON HOUSE, RECOLLECTIONS OF, is the title of a most entertaining and uniquely illustrated book for children, published in 1881 by Houghton, Mifflin, & Co. of Boston. The book is more truth than fiction, and is a wonderfully interesting sketch of scenes in early life, which are supposed to have occurred in what, not many years ago, was a stately mansion at the cor. of Westminster and Walnut Sts. in Providence. The book and illustrations are nominally by C. Auton, a name which is merely a play on the Greek 'oeavtov' or 'himself'; the C. Auton being Augustus Hoppin, a promient local artist, a son of Thos. C. Hoppin, at whose home the scenes are supposed to have taken place.