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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.

BANK CLERKS' MUTUAL BENEFIT ASSOCATION, THE, org. in 1871, is composed of cashiers and clerks of the local banking-institutions. It holds an annual meeting and banquet in April, and other business and social meetings during the year. Its insurance feature provides for an allowance to family members or their heirs of from $500 to $1,200 in case of permanent disability or death. Francis E. Bates, sec'y.


  • First, 47 Westminster.
  • Second, 56 Westminster.
  • Third, 12 Market Sq.
  • Fourth, 65 Westminster.
  • Fifth, 54 N. Main.
  • American, 97 Westminster.
  • Blackstone Canal, 25 Market Sq.
  • City, 98 Weybosset.
  • Commercial, 53 Westminster.
  • Globe, 62 Westminster.
  • Lime Rock, 41 Westminster.
  • Manufacturers', 26 Westminster.
  • Mechancs', 46 Weybosset.
  • Merchants', 14 Westminster.
  • Nat'l Bank of Commerce, 4 Market Sq.
  • Nat'l Bank of North America, 48 Weybosset.
  • Nat'l Eagle, 27 Market Sq.
  • Nat'l Exchange, 55 Westminster.
  • Old Nat'l, 21 Weybosset.
  • Phenix, 7 What Cheer Building.
  • Providence, 70 S. Main.
  • Rhode Island, 19 and 21 Custom House St.
  • Roger Williams, 27 Market Sq.
  • Traders', 4 Westminster.
  • Weybosset, 55 Westminster.


  • Citizens', 344 High.
  • City, 21 Weybosset.
  • Jackson Inst. for Savings, 29 Weybosset.
  • Mechanics, 98 Weybosset.
  • Merchants, 62 Westminster.
  • People's, 1 Market Sq.
  • Providence Inst. for Savings, 76 S. Main.
  • R. I. Inst. for Savings, 19 and 21 Custom House St.
  • Union, 10 Westminster.


  • Atlantic, 62 Weybosset.
  • Bank of America, 62 Weybosset.
  • Butchers' and Drovers', 49 Weybosset.
  • High St., 344 High.
  • Jackson, 29 Weybosset.
  • Liberty, 62 Westminster.
  • Northern, 56 Weybosset.
  • Pawtuxet, 87 Westminster.
  • State, 65 Westminster.
  • Union, 10 Westminster.
  • Westminster, 56 Weybosset.

BANKING INSTITUTIONS. -- The first bank established in Providence was the 'Providence', which was incorp'd in 1791. It was started by wealthy merchants, who were moved to do so by observing 'the great advantages which had resulted to Boston from the bank established there'. This institution has continued in existence from that time until the present. June, 1865, it was re-org'd as a national bank by the name 'Providence National Bank'. In 1819 the Providence Institution for Savings was incorp'd by the General Assembly, The, and since then has enjoyed a career of great prosperity, having a reputation at present of being one of the safest institutions of the kind in the country. Monday, Nov. 28, 1881, according to State auditor's report, the deposits of this bank amounted to $10,129,258.03, and the number of depositors, 25,618. According to 'Staple's Annals', there were in Providence in 1842, 21 banks, the greater number of which had been incorp'd between the years 1818 and 1836. Nearly all of these banks are now in existence. The failure of the A. & W. Sprague Manufacturing Co., in November, 1873, seriously crippled a number of local banks that held a large amount of the Sprague paper. Nov. 21, 1881, the resources of the 11 State banks in Providence were $3,386,469.57; and capital actually paid in, $2,199,035. The Rhode Island Hospital Trust at same date had resources of $7,721,132.29.

BAPTISTS. -- The Baptists of Providence, as of Rhode Island in general, count thier org'n from Roger Williams. They hold to separateness of Church and State, church independency, regeneration and baptism as conditions of church-membership, equal rights of church-members, and democratic forms of church government. Yet the law of fraternal interdependence binds all the churches together in conferences or councils, in associations, conventions, and missionary societies. Under the voluntary principle, a remarkable unity pervades the denominations, both in faith and practice. In growth the denomination has kept pace with the increase of the city. Notwitstanding come regular distictions of name, as Regular, General, and Free Will, - the first being far the most common, - they are a substantial unity in their religious life. The best evidence of the intelligence, activity, and benevolence of the denomination may be found in the style of their churches, in the history of the First Church founded by Roger Williams, the founding and growth of Brown University, the Mite Society, - the first Protestant missionary society in America, - the Warren and Providence Associations, the Rhode Island Baptist State Convention, the Rhode Island Baptist Education Society, the Rhode Island Baptist Social Union, and other benevolent bodies. It has had its eminent preachers, writers, and teachers, such was Williams, Manning, Messer, Wayland, Hague, Dowling, Granger, Sears, Caswell, Caldwell, Lincoln, and Robinson. In the pulpits to-day are such able men as Brown, Bixby, Farnham, Montague, Taylor. -- F. Denison.

BAPTIST EDUCATION SOCIETY, The Rhode Island, was org. in 1791, to aid 'destitute young men who give evidence to piety, and of a call to the gospel ministry, in obtaining such knowledge as shall be thought proper to their sacred calling'. This aid is usually given to needy meritorious students of Brown University. The management of the Society is intrusted to a Board of Directors (eleven in number), and the funds for carrying on the work are raised by collections in the Baptist churches and from the avails of a small fund. R. A. Guild, LL.D., Sec'y.

BAPTIST SOCIAL UNION, The Rhode Island, aims 'to promote a more friendly and intimate association among the laymen of the Baptist denomination'. Social and business meetings are held four times a year, and an annual meeting on the third Monday in November. Membership about 90. Alvin F. Pease, sec'y.

BAR CLUB, THE PROVIDENCE, is an association of gentlemen of the legal profession, availing itself of the educational, social, and other advantages which a union of members of one profession secures. The club occupies no permanent headquarters, but assembles upon call to social or business meetings as the case may be. Its membership includes most of the prominent lawyers of the city. Its managers comprise an executive committee of five members. Lorin M. Cook, sec'y.

BASE BALL GROUNDS, Messer, nr. High St., opened in 1878, are considered the finest in the country. The are owned by the Providence Base Ball Asso'n, which holds membership in the National League. In 1879 the 'Providence Nine' held the League championship. All Olneyville cars pass nr. the grounds, and when the games are played cars run direct from Market Sq. to the grounds. H. B. Winship, pres't.

BATH-HOUSES, PUBLIC. -- The city owns two floating bath-houses each 55 ft. long, 33 ft. wide. They are provided with suitable dressing-rooms; and each is in charge of a keeper, whose duty it is to preserve order and to limit the number of bathers. The bathing is free; towels are furnished, if desired, at a nominal rate. The houses are under the direction of the Committee on the Harbor, who assign locations for them, subject to the consent of the City Council. The houses in 1882 were moved, one nr. the Red Bridge and the other in the dock at the end of South Main St. The latter, formerly located at Point-St. Bridge, was, on account of the filthiness of the water at the bridge, removed to its present place. At this house, according to Joseph Higgins, the supt., the record of baths given in past years is as follows: in 1876 it was 36,210; in 1877 only 29,767; in 1878 it rose to 38,602; in 1879 it fell to 28,751; in 1880 the house was not opened; and in 1881 it was 37,698. The variations were due largely to the differences in temperature in the several years. A movement was inaugurated this year to petition the City Government to provide bathing-houses supplied with water from the city water-works.

BAY VIEW. See St. Mary's Seminary.

'BEE-HIVE OF INDUSTRY' is one of the familiar titles of Providence; so applied by reason of its being one of the most extensive manufacturing cities in America.

BENEFICENT CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH, Broad St., nr. Chestnut St., was erected in 1809 at a cost of $20,000, on the site of the former edifice, dating from 1750. It is a large, rectangular wooden building, having a portico of the Doric order, and surmounted by a dome. The latter was given the church the popular name of the 'Round-Top'. In 1836 improvements were made an an expense nearly equal to the original cost of the building. A bell imported from England is still in use by the society. Adjoining the church, on Chestnut St., is a school and week-day meetings. The organ is one of the largest and finest in Providence. It was built by Hook & Hastings of Boston in 1857.

BIBLE SOCIETY, The Rhode Island, formed nearly 70 years ago to circulate the Holy Scriptures, 'recognizes in its constitution the duty of giving the Bible to those who do not possess it'. This is accomplished by the appointment of a judicious agent to canvass all parts of the State. During the 34 months' canvass previous to the annual meeting, October, 1882, 17,909 families were visited, and 623 destitute families or persons supplied with the whole Bible or else with the New Testament. The membership list includes the names of prominent clergymen and laymen of every denomination, as the society is non-sectarian in character. Rev. J. P. Root, agent, 112 Clifford St. Depository with S. S. Rider, 17 Westminster St.

BICYCLING is a favorite amusement of the young men and youths of this city, notwithstanding the obstacles which the severe grades in many portions of the city would seem to present. There are numerous local clubs, such as the Providence Bicycle Club, the Hermes Club, Narragansett Club, Centaur Club, etc. These are tastefully uniformed, and include among their members many expert wheelmen. The Providence Bicycle Club is the oldest and chief organization. It was formed in July, 1879, and has 30 members (active and associate). It occupies pleasant quarters in the Rose Building, Custom-House Street. The longest jaunt taken by the members of this club, collectively, has been to Boston, Mass., a distance of 44 miles. Individual members have considerably exceeded this distance. The officers are Albert G. Carpenter, pres't; J. A. Cross, capt.; and W. P. Anthony, sec'y.

BLACKSTONE CANAL. -- In 1796 a navigable canal was projected to extend from tide-water in Providence, along the valley of the Blackstone River to the north line of the State, and thence through Worcester to the Connecticut River. The Massachusetts Legislature refused to grant a charter; and the subject was not revived until 1823, when renewed efforts resulted in the incorporation of a Blackstone Canal Co. in 1825. Work was commenced at once, and a canal nearly 45 miles long was built, with depth of 4 ft., and width at bottom 20 ft., at top 45 ft. Its cost was $750,000. Owing to misunderstandings and controversies rising bet. the corporation and the mill-owners on the Blackstone, and to the long and bitter litigations which ensued, the project finally failed; and on Nov. 9, 1848, the last toll was collected. For some distance beyond the city limits the narrow bed of the Moshassuck River was made to serve the purpose of this canal; and some of the stone locks then erected could until recently have been seen on the river.

BLACKSTONE PARK extends from Butler Av. to the Seekonk River. It is a wooded ravine of much natural beauty. A brook flows through the park; and in summer the place, though little improved by art, is quite attractive. The park was presented to the city in 1866 by Wm. P. Vaughan and Moses B. Jenkins. Governor St. H. C.

B'NAI B'RITH. - See German Secret Societies.


  • Henry R. Barker, Prest.
  • Henry V. A. Joslin, Clerk.
  • Ward 1. -- Alfred Metcalf.
  • Ward 2. -- George E. Martin.
  • Ward 3. -- S. P. Carpenter.
  • Ward 4. -- Chas. F. Sampson.
  • Ward 5. -- John W. Briggs.
  • Ward 6. -- Geo. H. Burnham.
  • Ward 7. -- Gilbert F. Robbins.
  • Ward 8. -- Wm. B. Greene.
  • Ward 9. -- Henry R. Barker.
  • Ward 10.-- Joseph F. Brown.

BOARD OF HEALTH. -- The Mayor and the Board Of Aldermen constitute ex-officio the Board of Health. See Superintendent of Health.

BOARD OF PUBLIC WORKS comprise two members (together with the City Engineer, an ex-officio member), one chosen by the City Council annually for two years. The care of the streets and highways, sewers and water-works, is intrusted to this Board. Clinton D. Sellew, sec'y; office, City Hall.

BOARD OF STATE CHARITIES and CORRECTIONS consists of nine members, eight are appointed for a term of six years by the Governor of the State, with approval of the Senate; and the ninth is the sec'y, member ex-officio, appointed by the Board. It controls State institutions at Cranston. Wm. W. Chapin is sec'y.

BOARD OF TRADE, THE (Board of Trade Building, Market Sq.), incorporated in 1868 for the promotion and protection of the various business interests of the city, is similar in its plan to organizations of the same name elsewhere. It occupies the first floor of the Old City Building. The chief rooms are two reading-rooms, handsomely furnished and supplied with files of the representive journals of the day, and a Market-Report room where sales of stock, commercial news, and market quotations from all parts of the world, are promptly received and bulletined. The Board of Trade has now over 500 members, and the number is continually increasing. Admittance to the privileges of the rooms is given only to subscribers. F. P. Little, sec'y.

BOOKS RELATING TO PROVIDENCE. -- There are few works treating wholy of Providence as town or city. The most important are: Annals of the Town of Providence (1630 - 1832, with appendix), 1843, by Wm. R. Staples; Illustrated Hand-book of the City of Providence, 1876, by J. C. Thompson; The Planting and Growth of Providence (R. I. Historical Tract, No. 15), 1882, by Henry C. Dorr. Of the numerous publications bearing more or less on this subject may be mentioned: History of Rhode Island, 1859, by Samuel G. Arnold; Short History of Rhode Island, 1877, by Geo. W. Greene; Picturesque Narragansett, 1879, by Rev. Frederic Denison; Picturesque Rhode Island 1881, by W. H. Munro; and Rhode Island Historical Tracts by different authors, issued at various times by Sidney S. Rider. No list of reference books would be complete without mention of the valuable biographical works upon Roger Williams, by Professors Elton, Knowles, and Gammell. A complete list of publications having reference to Providence, published previous to 1863, is found in the Bibliography of Rhode Island, by Hon. John R. Bartlett, copies of which may be seen at the principal libraries in this city. Blake's 'History of the Providence Stage', Guild's 'History of Brown University', and Hoag, Wade, & Co.'s 'History of Rhode Island' also furnish important materials for persons seeking a knowledge of Providence.

BOOKSELLERS. -- The chief booksellers in Providence are: Harry Gregory, 133 Westminster St. (noticed elsewhere); Daniel Perrin, 167 Westminster St.; Chas. G. A. Peterson (chiefly periodicals and newspapers), in the Butler Exchange; Tibbitts, Shaw, & Co., 21 Westminster St. (noticed elsewhere); Rhode Island News Co., 113 Westminster St.; and Sidney S. Rider, 17 Westminster St.


  • railroad
  • opened out of Boston, and the first out of Providence. Its first through trains were run in 1835, at a time when steam-railroads were in their infancy. The road proper, from Boston to Providence, is 44 miles; and the branches and leased lines are 23 1/2 miles in length. On this road is run the fastest train, as by regular schedule, between terminal points, in the United States. This train is the Shore Line Express to New York, which leaves Boston at 1 P.M. and arrives in Providence 57 minutes later. This road is the favorite and most direct to Boston, where the station, erected at a cost of $800,000, is one of the finest in the world. The superintendent is Albert A. Folsom.

    BOUNDARIES. -- Providence is bounded on the N. by the towns of N. Providence and

  • Pawtucket; on the E. by the Seekonk River and the harbor, separating it from E. Providence; on the S. by Narragansett Bay and the town of Cranston; and on the W. by Cranston, Johnston, and N. Providence.

    BRIDGE, THE, is a popular designation of Great Bridge (which see).

    BRIDGES. -- There are 39 public bridges in and around the city. There vary in style from the simple wooden bridge to the costly and ornamental structure of iron. Of these, the city engineer has charge and control, under the direction of the Advising Committee on Bridges. See Central Bridge, Great Bridge, Point-St. Bridge, Washington Bridge.

    BROAD ST. is a wide thoroughfare extending from the centre of the city to the village of Pawtuxet, a distance of 4 1/2 miles. It is the direct road to the Park Garden and Roger Williams Park, and is a favorite drive, particularly in the sleighing-season.

    BROADWAY, 1 3-8 miles in length, is a fine st., 80 feet in width, lined for almost its entire length with handsome residences. Starting from near the centre of the city, and gradually rising, it reaches its highest elevation near St. Mary's Church, at its western extremity. From this point, a fine veiw of the valley of the Woonasquatucket River, of Mt. Pleasant, and other portions of the Tenth Ward, is obtained.

    BROOK-ST. DISTRICT (east side) lying south of Wickenden St., and facing the harbor, was taken by the city in 1873 for the purpose of grading and draining. A steep hill, whose narrow lanes were crowded with wretched tenements, has given place to a gradual slope, with streets regularly laid out and open to the healthful breezes of the bay. The improvements thus far have cost $1,200,000.

    BROWNSON LYCEUM, THE (Roman Catholic), 159 Westminster St., incorporated in 1858, has a library of about 1,200 vols., open on Wednesday and Saturday evenings. This ass'n meets weekly for debates, and holds a monthly course of entertainments. It has a membership of bet. 100 and 200.

    BROWN UNIVERSITY was at first called Rhode Island College. Its name was later (in 1804) changed to Brown University, in honor of Nicholas Brown, who had been its most munificent benefactor. The University property lies at the head of College St. (east side), occupying extensive grounds commanding fine views. It is a liberally managed Baptist institution, was founded at Warren in 1674, and removed to Providence in 1770. Officers 22, students 275. Ezek G. Robinson, D.D., L.L.D., Prest.; F. W. Douglas, A.M., Registrar.

    The college buildings stand upon the crest of Prospect Hill in the midst of some 15 acres of grounds, which are well laid out, grass-planted, and adorned with magnificent elms. Hope College, Manning, University, Slater and Rhode Island halls, form a continuous straight line bet. Waterman and George Sts., and face Prospect St. The enclosure in front of these buildings is known as the 'front campus', and in the rear as the 'middle campus'. Beyond this, and in the rear of Sayles Memorial Hall and the Laboratory, is a narrower strip of land, sloping toward the ball-grounds, designated as the 'back campus'.

    Below are enumerated the buildings, laboratories, libraries, etc.

    Base-Ball Grounds are on Thayer St., bet. Waterman and George Sts. The 'nines' of various colleges play on these grounds frequently during the summer term.

    Gymnasium. -- The university greatly needs a gymnasium of its own. At present the students have access to a gymnasium hall at reduced rates.

    Hope College, facing Prospect St., is a brick dormatory, four stories in height. Erected in 1822, at the expense of the Hon. Nicholas Brown, and named by him in honor of his sister Mrs. Hope Ives.

    Laboratory, The Chemical, on the 'middle campus' of the University grounds is a brick structure, containing rooms for chemical experiments, and recitation rooms.

    Library, The, Waterman St., cor. of Prospect, was erected through the munificence of John Carter Brown, who at his death in 1874 bequeathed a lot and $50,000 to supplement a previous donation (amounting with interest to about $26,000) for this purpose. To this amount ($76,000) Mrs. Brown added $20,000. The building is in the Venetian Gothic style, of pressed brick with stone trimmings. Over the porch is carved an owl with book, and above the doorway is the seal of the college. The edifice is in the form of a cross. In the centre is a reading room, 35 ft. in diameter, 68 ft. high. Two octagonal galleries run around this room, and extend into the different wings. In the basement is a neatly fitted up room containing four herbaria, which comprise upwards of 70,000 specimens. There are accommodations for 150,000 volumes; the present collection numbering more than 53,000, besides 17,000 unbound pamphlets. The building was donated Feb. 16, 1878. William R. Walker, architect.

    Manning Hall, bet. Hope College and University Hall, was the gift of Hon. Nicholas Brown in 1834. It is of stone, cement-covered, and is an enlarged model of a Grecian temple of the Doric order. Height, 40 ft. Divided into two stories, the upper of which is used as a chapel, the lower for recitation-rooms. The lower story contained the library until the new building was completed in 1878.

    President's House, College, cor. Prospect St., is a plain wooden edifice, with an Ionic portion. Built in 1840.

    Rhode-Island Hall, erected in 1840 by subscription, stands at the S. end of the 'front campus' close to George, and facing Prospect St. It is of stone, covered with cement, and divided into two lofty stories. On the lower floor are lecture-rooms, and in the upper story is a natural-history museum, containing about 30,000 specimens in zoology, 10,000 in mineralogy, 5,000 in geology and palaeontology, together with a collection of coins and medals, and a number of Indian and other barbaric implements and curiosities. Recently an ell was added to the building, the lower floor of which is used for a physical laboratory, and the upper story for a portrait-gallery. The basement is used for a zoological laboratory.

    Sayles Memorial Hall, on the 'middle campus', facing University Hall, is, with the exception of the Library, perhaps, the most elegant of the college buildings. It is the generous gift of the Hon.William F. Sayles of Pawtucket, in memory of his son William F. Sayles who died in 1876, while a member of the sophomore class. The building, Romanesque in style, is of red-faced Westerly granite, trimmed with brown Londmeadow sandstone. It contains a hall and recitation-rooms. The hall is 107 ft. long and 55 wide, and seats 1,100 persons, or, at alumni dinners, about 550 persons. It is wainscoted in ash, and a trussed roof of the same material rises to a height of 65 ft. The gallery is capable of seating 100 persons. The entire front of the edifice is devoted to eight recitation-rooms. On the band of stone-work between the second and third stories of the tower (94 ft. in height) is this inscription: 'Filio Pater Posuit MDCCCLXXX.' A. C. Morse, Architect.

    Slater Hall, on the 'front campus', between University and Rhode-Island halls, is an ornamental four-story brick dormitory building, with terra-cotta trimmings, and a tiled roof; and was erected in 1879, through the liberality of the Hon. Horatio N. Slater of Webster, Mass.

    University Hall is the central building of those which line the 'front campus'. It is of brick, cement covered, 150 ft. long, and is crowned by a small belfry. The corner-stone was laid in May, 1770, and the building constructed in imitation of the Nassau Hall, at Princeton, N. J. From Dec. 7, 1776, until May 27, 1782, it was occupied for barracks and a hospital by the American and French troops. It is now used for dormitories, offices, and recitation-rooms. It shows the footsteps of time, especially before the doors and on the stairways. The president's and the registrar's offices are on the ground floor of this building; and a room at one end is occupied by a students' reading room association.

    BUILDING ASSOCIATIONS -- See Saving-Fund and Loan Ass'n.

    'BUILDING HILL' is the name given to that part of Orms St. immediately W. of Charles St., and extending as far as Black St. Although not a particularly prepossessing locality, it is not as formidable as the name would imply.

    BURIAL GROUNDS. -- See Cemeteries.

    BURNSIDE MEMORIAL, THE -- Through the efforts and liberality of a number of prominent gentlemen of the city, a fund has been raised towards the erection of a bronze statue of Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside, to be placed in some public sq. It is hoped that this may be sufficently increased to obtain an equestrian statue. Subscriptions are received at the 'Journal' office, 2 Weybosset St.

    BUTLER EXCHANGE affords a covered passage-way bet. Exchange Pl. and Westminster St. It is an iron building, 6 stories in height, erected 1872, and contains stores and offices. The main office of the Prov. Telephone Co. is in this building.

    BUTLER HOSPITAL FOR THE INSANE is situated on the W. bank of the Seekonk River, adoining Swan-Point Cemetery. The building is a handsome brick structure, standing in the midst of 140 acres with fine pleasure-grounds and tillage-lands, beautifully diversified with ravines and native woodlands. The institution originated in a bequest of Hon. Nicholas Brown, who, at his death in 1841, bequeathed $30,000 to establish a home for the insane. In 1844 Cyrus Butler offered to add $40,000 to this bequest, provied a like sum should be raised by subscription. This was soon done, and the hospital was completed in 1847. It is a private institution, supported by the receipts for board and treatment of patients, and by the income of four funds (Permanent, Duncan Improvement, Donations, and Library funds), amounting in all to about $84,000. The charges are varied according to the requirements of each case, and liberal allowance is made for patients of limited means. 310 patients were treated in 1881; the average number at a time being 180, filling the hospital almost constantly to its utmost capacity. The average weekly expenditure per patient was $8.45; the average weekly charge, $8.01. The most important improvement of the past year was the erection of a large brick barn, at an expense of $10,500, to increase accommodation for horses and carriages for the use of inmates. By the bequest of Dr. Isaac Ray, the first supt. of the hospital (died March 31, 1881, at his home in Philadelphia, Penn.), the institution becomes the possessor of his valuable collection of books, and is made the residuary legatee of his property, subject to the life estate of Mrs. Ray. Visitors admitted from 9 to 12 A. M., and from 2 to 6 P. M., every day except Sunday. Amos C. Barstow, prest.; John W. Sawyer, M. D., sup't and physician.