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.

MACULLAR, PARKER, AND COMPANY, who occupy one of the neatest mercantile buildings in Providence, are known throughout this country as one of the esteemed firms engaged in the manufacture of clothing - 'ready-made' and 'custom-work'. The firm have been engaged uninterruptedly in this business for upwards of 30 years, and during this period have built up and maintained a reputation for making the best and most satisfactory garments. An idea of the magnitude of their business can be gleaned from the fact that in their establishment upwards of 600 persons are constantly employed in making men's clothing which is sold exclusively at retail in only three stores, the two Macullar, Parker, & Company, at 400 Washington St. in Boston and at 112 Westminster St. in Providence, and that of Macullar & Son, at 374 Main St., in Worcester. One exception is to be made to this statement: that is, their white vests are sold to leading merchant-tailors in all parts of the world, these vests being a specialty in which this firm is unequalled by any competitors. To get their materials on the most favorable terms, the firm import their woollens directly from the most reputable mills in Europe, and own a large interest in well-known mills in this country. They keep the same persons constantly at work on the same parts of the same kind of garments, in order to get the most perfect results. Every piece of goods is thoroughly and scientifically tested before it is cut up, guaranteed in all its details. No customer ever becomes justly disatisfied, for every thing that any rational person can expect of a business house is performed by this firm. It has become an admitted fact, that as a model manufacturing establishment, where employes are paid liberally and treated generously, and where they are provided with comfortable and healthy apartments in which to do their work, there is none in Amercia to be commended more highly than that of Macullar, Parker, & Company. No house in its line obtains better terms on purchases, and none serves the public more generously. Few, if any, keep a larger assortment of fine clothing for all seasons; and none are prepared to make garments to order with greater rapidity or with more satisfaction. The Providence branch is in charge of Daniel B. Holder, who has been in the employ of this firm for 18 consecutive years.

MAIN STREET. -- What is known as North and South Main Sts. was in the early history of Providence called the 'Towne Streete'. It was laid out in 1638, and was the first street, and for many years the only one. The houses of the inhabitants were built on the east side of the street; and, as there were no houses on the west side, an unobstructed view of the river could be had. When the people began to engage in commerce, warehouses and wharves were built on the west side; and thus in time the old street ceased to be 'the greate street that lyeth by the waterside'. In 1805, by ordinance of the town, the present names were given, and have since been retained.

North Main St., a thoroughfare extending from Market Sq. to the town of Pawtucket, was once the centre of business activity. The principal shops were located here, and that part of the st. in the vicinity of Market Sq. was called Cheapside. Portions of it have been twice widened and straightened, once in 1856 and again in 1870. The old Providence Museum forms a part of the Gorham Manufactory on this st.

South Main St., with its continuation, North Main St., was known in the early days of Providence as Town St. It is a narrow, irregular busines thoroughfare, extending from Market Sq. to India St., and contains but few modern structures. Many of the wealthier residents of the town built fine houses here; but these have mostly fallen into decay, or have been given up to the purposes of trade.

MANSION HOUSE, The, cor. of Benefit and South Court Sts., nearly opposite the State House, is the oldest public house now standing in Providence. Opened in 1784 under the name of Golden Hall Inn, - with corresponding sign, - it has entertained, among others, Presidents Washington and Monroe, and Gen. Layfayette.

MANUFACTURERS. -- Providence is noted as a seat of various and important manufacturers. According to the U. S. Census report on manufacturers for 1880, there were then in the city 1,186 manufacturing establishments; with a capital of $23,573,932; employing 26,667 hands, to whom during the year from June 1, 1879, to May 31, 1880, wages to the amoung of $8,903,729 had been paid. The value of the material used was $21,376,467; value of goods manufactured, $39,596,653. The most prominent manufactures are jewelry, machinery, iron castings, cotton, woollen, and worsted goods. Of jewelry establishments there were 142; capital, $2,755,070; hands employed, 4,422; wages paid, $1,614,836; material used, $2,495,824; and value of product, $5,444,092. Providence is now the foremost American city in this industry. Of establishments for the manufacture of machinery, there were 47; capital, $2,667,325; employees, 3,054; wages paid, $1,312,076; materials used, $1,705,254; value of products, $3,930,185. Of cotton-manufacturing establishments there were 15; capital, $2,073,280; employees, 1,746; wages paid, $420,242; materials used, $1,025,571; products, $2,004,788. Of woollen establishments there were 6; capital, $2,179,700; employees, 1,988; wages paid, $703,391; materials used, $2,258,601; products, $4,062,947. Of worsted goods manufactories there were 3; capital, $1,000,000; employees, 1,741; wages paid, $599,588; materials used, $1,777,030; products, $3,077,000. Of iron-casting establishments, there were 10; capital, $1,011,650; employees, 731; wages paid, $316,366; materials used, $349,710; products, $827,216. The most important of other manufacturers are clothing, files, flour and grist mill products, furniture, marble and stone products, meat-packing, patent medicines and compounds, printing and publishing, etc.

Among the oldest and most prominent manufacturers are: --

  • Allen's Print Works, office 31 Market Sq.; formerly the Providence Woollen Mill, built in 1813.
  • Browne & Sharpe Manufacturing Co., Promenade, near Park St.; established in 1873.
  • Corliss Steam-Engine Co., near Charles-st. R.R. crossing; incorporated in 1867.
  • Providence Tool Co., 148 West River St.; incorporated in 1847.
  • Gorham Manufacturing Co. (silver-ware), North Main, cor. Steeple St.; founded in 1831.
  • Nicholson File Co., 111 Acorn St.; org. in 1865.
  • Phenix Iron-Foundry, cor. Elm and Eddy Sts.; chartered 1832.
  • Franklin Foundry and Machine Co., incorp. 1836, Charles St.
  • Providence Machine Co., office 564 Eddy St., chartered 1866; also proprietors of Rhode Island Malleable-Iron Works.
  • Providence Steam-Engine Co., 373 to 379 South Main St.; which commenced manufacture in 1821.
  • American Screw Co., org. in 1860, 588 Eddy St. and 21 Stephens St.
  • Rhode Island Locomotive Works, Hemlock, cor. Valley St.
  • Fletcher Manfacturing Co. (small wares, laces, wicks, etc.), established in 1793, and incorporated in 1865; Charles St.
  • Providence Steam (cotton) Mill, Dyer St.
  • Rumford Chemical Works, office, 59 South Water St.
  • Harris-Corliss Engine-Works, established in 1864; Park St.
  • Providence Worsted Mills (Charles Fletcher), Valley Av.; established 1875.
  • Akerman Co. (blank-books), Washington Buildings; established 1836.
  • Carpenter's Gold and Silver Refinery and Sweep Smelting Works, 29 and 31 Page St.; established 1878.
  • E. G. Farmer & Co., steel-engravers, Rose Building; established 1878.
  • Household Sewing-Machine Co., Wickenden St., (formerly factory No. 2 of Prov. Tool Co.).

MANUFACTURER'S HOTEL stood on Market Sq., on the spot now occupied by the What Cheer Building. It was quite a famous hostelry, and from its balcony public proclamations and declarations were read.

MARINE CORPS OF ARTILLERY, Providence, chartered in 1801, was originally composed of sea captains and seamen; and the officers were required to be members of the Providence Marine Society. This restriction was finally removed. The company at first had two 32-pound iron cannon, and the men carried short swords or hangers. About the time of the Dorr war the company drilled as infantry; and about 1848 it became a battery of light artillery, said to have been the first volunteer battery in the United States. In 1850, or thereabout, the corps made an excursion to Boston, where they drilled on the common under the command of Col. J. P. Balch, and so aroused the enthusiasm of the Bostonians that a battery was org. there; and the officers came to Providence, and were drilled by the officers of the Marine Corps of Arsenal. The Marine Corps was the parent of all the light artillery sent from Rhode Island during the civil war; all the batteries having been organized and recruited under its supervision, and most of the prominent officers were trained in its armory. Eight three-years' batteries were sent out, and the company went out on two successive occasions for three months each time. The organization is at present an independent chartered company, and is represented in the active militia by Battery A, Light Artillery, R. I. M. All the officeres and most of the men in Bat. A are members of the Marine Corps. The armory of the company is in the Arsenal on Benefit St.

MARINE SOCIETY, THE PROVIDENCE, incorporated in 1798, was established by commanders of vessels, - past or present - 'for the relief in distress, and for the relief of their widows and children'; but, to further its benevolent designs, also admits persons of other occupations, as honorary members. At the annual dinner, which occurs July 4, roast pig is served in accordance with an old sea custom. G. B. Brown, sec'y.

MARKETS. -- There are now no city markets, so-called, in Providence. Only two of these relics of the past are standing: the Old City Building, built in 1773 (see Old City Building), and the New Market-House, junc. of High and Broad Sts., which was built in 1827, and has been little altered. A sort of open-air market exists on Dyer and S. Water Sts., where garden produce of various kinds may be bought every morning from farmers' and hucksters' wagons.

MARKET SQ., on the east side of the Providence River, adjoins the Great Bridge. All the horse-car lines meet, and most of them start here. The Board of Trade and What Cheer Buildings are on this square.

MARRIAGES in Rhode Island can be solemnized only by regularly ordained clergymen or elders of any religious denomination (or ministers of any society professing to meet for religious purposes, and sustaining a minister publicly ordained), who must be domiciled in this State; or by either justice of the Supreme Court. Exceptions are made only in the cases of wardens in the town of New Shoreham, and of members of the Society of Friends. Residents of this city intending to be married in Providence, or elsewhere in this State, must file their intentions, and procure a license or certificate, at the office of the City Registrar, City Hall. Residents of any State other than Rhode Island, intending to be married in this city, must do the same. Residents of any town in Rhode Island intending to be married in Providence must procure a certificate from the clerk of the town in which they reside.

In all cases the certificate must be delivered to the clergyman or other person authorized to marry, before the marriage is solemnized.

The following statistics of marriages in Providence are taken from the report of Dr. E. M. Snow, the city registrar for 1881 (27th annual report): Whole number of marriages in 1881, 1,202; largest number in any one month, 134 in Oct.; smallest number in any one month, 66 in Dec. Nativity of grooms: United States, 794; Ireland, 162; England, Scotland, and Wales, 121; Germany, 20; British America, 68; Portugal and Western Islands, 10; other countries, 27. Nativity of brides: United States, 818; Ireland, 175; England, Scotland, and Wales, 75; Germany, 10; British America, 95; Portugal and Western Islands, 8; other countries, 21. The number of grooms who were less than 25 years old was 394, or 32.78 per cent; the number of bridges, 668, or 55.58 per cent. 162 brides were less than 20 years old. For 1,027 of the brides, or 85.44 per cent of all, it was the first marriage; also for 968 of the grooms, or 80.53 per cent. There were 878 cases in which it was the first marriage of both parties. There were 387 marriages solemnized by Roman-Catholic clergymen; 191 by Methodist; 154 by Episcopalian; 142 by Calvinistic Baptist; 119 by Congregationalist; 45 by Universalist; 43 by Free Baptist; 32 by Presbyterian; 31 by Unitarian; 211 by clergymen of other denominations; and 1 by a justice of the Supreme Court. The number of marriages among colored people in 1881 was 61, the largest number that has ever occurred in Providence in one year. At the Jan. session of the General Assembly in 1881, the law forbidding the intermarriage of colored and white persons was repealed. In consquence of this the records show 5 marriages in which the parties were white and colored.

MASONS, FREE AND ACCEPTED. -- Of the 35 Masonic lodges in Rhode Island, 8 are in this city and one in East Providence. The Grand Lodge meets annually in the Masonic Hall, What Cheer Building, the third Monday in May, also third Monday in Nov. and June 24. Grand Sec'y, Edwin Baker, 70 Weybosset St. Of the Providence lodges, five meet monthly in What Cheer Building; viz., St. John's No. 1, Mt. Vernon No. 4, What Cheer No. 21, Corinthian No. 27, and Redwood No. 35. Adelphoi No. 33 meets in Elizabeth Building, 104 Main St. Orpheus Lodge No. 36, and Nestell Lodge No. 37, meet at 70 Weybosset St. Rising Sun Lodge No. 30 meets in Ray's Block (Watchemoket), E. Providence. Of the higher Masonic bodies the following meet in What Cheer Building: viz., Grand Royal Arch Chapter of Rhode Island; Providence Council No. 1, Royal and Select Masters; Providence Royal Arch Chapter; St. John's No. 1 and Cavalry Commanderies of Knights Templar; Grand Commandery of Massachusetts and Rhode Island; and the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rites Ineffable Masons, consisting of Providence Consistory, S. P. R. S.; Providence Sovereign Chapter, Rose Croix; Providence Council, Princes of Jerusalem; and King Solomon Lodge of Perfection. The Grand Council of Royal and Select Masters meets at 70 Weybosset St. The number of Masons in Providence is estimated at 1,400, in Rhode Island at 4,200.

There are some 300 colored Masons in the city, forming distinct organizations from those above mentioned. Harmony Grand Lodge and all subordinate lodges, the Grand Chapter of R. I., and Grand Commandery of R.I. and Mass., meet at 98 Weybosset St. A. Marshall Terrence, Grand Sec'y, 167 South Main St.

MATHEWSON-STREET METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH was organized, in 1848, as the Third Methodist Society in Providence, by members who withdrew from the Power-st. Church (now Hope-st. Church) and the Chestnut-st. Church. The society worshipped in a hall on Westminster St. until the erection of their present commodious brick edifice on Mathewson St., which was dedicated May 28, 1851. Present membership, 375; pastor, W. T. Worth.

MAYORS FROM 1832 TO 1882. --

  • Samuel Willard Bridgham ..... 1832 - 40*
  • Thomas Mackie Burgess ...... 1841 - 52**
  • Amos Chafee Barstow ....... 1852 - 53
  • Walter Raleigh Danforth ...... 1853 - 54
  • Edward Peck Knowles ...... 1854 - 55
  • James Youngs Smith ....... 1855 - 57
  • William Mitchell Rodman ...... 1857 - 59
  • Jabez Comstock Knight ...... 1859 - 64
  • Thomas Arthur Doyle ...... 1864 - 69
  • George Leonard Clark ..... 1869 - 70
  • Thomas Arthur Doyle ...... 1870 - 81***
  • William Salisbury Hayward .... 1881 - 83

  • *Inaugurated in June, 1832; served till December, 1840, the date of his decease.
  • **Inaugurated in February, 1840; served till June, 1852.
  • ***The time of inauguration changed from June to January.


MECHANICS' EXCHANGE OF THE CITY OF PROVIDENCE, 23 Weybosset St., is an ass'n of mechanics and merchants, formed for mutual protection and benefit. The rooms are provided with lock-boxes for each member's letters, orders, etc.; and, for such as care to incur the additional expense, office-desks are furnished. The leading newspapers are on file. Number of members at present, 125. The first meeting was held in March, 1878. Members only are entitled to the privileges of the Exchange.

MEDICAL SOCIETIES, three in number, are the Rhode Island Medical Society (org'd 1812), Geo. D. Hersey, M. D., sec'y; the Providence Medical Association (org'd 1848), Wm. R. White, M. D., sec'y; and the Rhode Island Homeopathic Society (org'd 1850), Geo. B. Peck, jun., M. D., sec'y.

MENDELSSOHN CHORAL UNION, org'd in 1878, has for its leader Prof. J. Hastings, the director of the Providence Conservatory of Music and Orchestral School. This society rehearses weekly, and, during the season, gives several public concerts, chiefly oratorios, and other choral music. The active membership, limited to 200, includes competent singers who pay a small entrance-fee and are under stringent regulations as to attendance at rehearsals. Associate members pay an annual tax of $5, are admitted to all rehearsals, and receive two tickets to each concert given by the society.

MERCHANT TAILORING is an important department of the clothing establishment of Macullar, Parker, & Company, at No. 112 Westminster St., which is described elsewhere.

METEOROLOGICAL OBSERVATIONS are taken daily, and carefully recorded under the direction of the city engineer, at Hope Reservoir and City Hall.

The record is a tabulated statement showing the state of the barometer and thermometer, the relative humidity, the direction and force of the wind, the state of the atmosphere and amount of cloud, and the amount of rain or snow, for each day of the month. It is published at the close of each month in 'The Providence Journal'.

METHODIST EPISCOPAL DENOMINATION. -- The first Methodist preacher to visit and preach in Providence was Rev. Freeborn Garrettson, who, in travelling from Boston to New York, passed through Providence, April, 1787, and preached two sermons in a Congregational church. Jesse Lee visited Providence in 1790; and Bishop Asbury, in 1791. The first regularly appointed preacher to Rhode island was the Rev. Lemuel Smith, who, in 1792, was assigned to the first circuit in this State, and to be preacher in charge of Providence. Until 1798 the itinerant preachers made occasional visits; but in that year Joshua Hall was stationed in Providence, and the first class was organized by him. For many years the progress of the denomination was slow. Services were held in private houses, and often there was no regular preacher. In 1811 or 1812 a small school-house on the 'Cat Alley', now Middle St., was hired; and services were held here until the erection of a church on Aborn St., cor. of Washington, in 1816. This house was abandoned for the Chestnut-st. church, erected in 1822. The Chestnut-st. society is the parent of all the other M. E. churches in the city, each org. having either sprung directly from this body or from a society which has originated from it. There are now in the city 8 societies of this denomination, with 7 church edifices, several of them large and costly structures; the total membership is 2,126; probationers, 172; local preachers, 13. For a list of the churches, see heading Churches.

MILITIA. -- See Rhode Island Militia.

MISSIONARY HELPER, THE, a missionary magazine of 32 pages, published until recently bi-monthly and now monthly by the Free Baptist Woman's Missionary Society. Established 1878. Mrs. J. M. Brewster, editor.

MORMONS. -- See Latter-Day Saints.

MOSHASSUCK RIVER, whose title formerly included the Providence River, has its source in the township of Lincoln, in the N. E. part of the State, and flows S. until it enters the Cove. There are several falls in the river, and its waters are used for manufacturing purposes. Several important bleacheries are on its banks.

MOUNT PLEASANT, overlooking the Woonasquatucket valley and the W. Side, is in the S. W. part of the 10th ward. Its high ground and pure air render it a desirable locality for residence. In 1881 nearly three-fourths of the new buildings of this ward were erected in this section.

MOWRY AND GOFF'S ENGLISH AND CLASSICAL SCHOOL has attained a rank second to no similar institution in this country. In 1864 Wm. A. Mowry, who for five years had been at the head of the English and scientific department of the Providence High School, and a teacher there for a period previous, projected an English and classical school, the underlying principle of which was 'The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom', and the object of which was to give to boys a thorough moral and intellectual education, with due attention to their physical needs, -- in short, thoroughly to fit young men for business, for scientific schools, or for college. He opened the school in February, 1864, in the Lyceum Building, with 53 scholars. In September of the same year he associated with himself his present partner, Chas. B. Goff, a college mate and firend, then, and, for half a dozen years previous, the principal of the Fall River High School. The motto of Mowry and Goff was, ''Deo doctrinaeque'; and, under this, the school has experienced nothing but uninterrupted prosperity. In 1865, the accommodation becoming too small, two full stories were obtained in the Narragansett Block. Five years later additional room became a necessity; and the school was moved to Fletcher Building, where it remained till the completion, in 1875, of the present building, which Mowry and Goff themselves erected expressly for school use. It is one of the best constructed and most serviceable structures of its kind to be seen in the city. The two large upper floors, 91 x 94 feet each, are utilized for the school, while the lower floor is occupied by the Providence Public Library. It is situated on Snow St., extending through to Moulton St., bet. Westminster and Washington Sts. It is thoroughly fitted out with all appliances and apparatus necessary to make it wholesome and useful. It was formally dedicated April 22, 1875, with interesting exercises, which were published in the school's report for that year. The catalogue for 1882 shows 14 instructors and 263 scholars. The school has had 2,000 pupils, and has already 250 graduates, many of whom are prosperous men, in various professional and business pursuits.

MUSICAL SOCIETIES. -- See Arion Club, Cecilia Society, Mendelssohn Choral Union, and Providence Symphony Society.

MUSIC HALL, 276 Westminster St., is used for concerts, lectures, fairs, etc. Its shape is rectangular, 105 feet long, 85 feet wide. A gallery runs along three sides, and an upper gallery in the rear. The hall contains a fine and powerful Hook & Hastings concert organ. Stage accommodates an orchestra of 60, and 300 singers. Seating capacity of auditorium, 2,200. The hall was enlarged, and the interior arrangement completely reversed, in 1881.

MUTUAL FRIENDS OF AMERICA announces itself as 'the cheapest fraternal association, and the only one whose supreme council provides a weekly sick-benefit for members.' James Hiscox of Providence, who is one of the finance committee of the supreme council, is organizing a local council.

MUTUAL HEALTH ASSOCIATION, The, Providence, was org. in 1868, 'for the purpose of securing to working-men and their families suitable medical attendance and medicines, by small regular payments, without incuring the hazard of hopeless indebtedness.' It numbers 50 members, who are assessed at the following rates per annum: man, wife, and children under age, $14.00; woman, and children, under age, $7.00; single man, $6.00; single woman, $5.00. W. E. Ripley, sec'y, 5 Brownell St.