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.

TAILORS are numerous in Providence, and so are ready-made clothing establishments; but probably the most highly esteemed firm in both these branches in Macullar, Parker, & Company, whose establishment at No. 112 Westminster St. has already been described as the most noteworthy of its kind in all New England.

TAXATION IN Providence, 1882. -- $14.50 per thousand.


  • American Rapid, 18 Westminster St.
  • Mutual Union, 7 Weybosset St.
  • Western Union, 6 Weybosset.
  • Telegraph instruments are operated at the Narragansett Hotel; Butler's Exchange; Boston & Providence R. R. Depot; and at many steamboat, railroad, and other offices.
  • The first line of telegraph from Providence was run in 1848, to Worcester, Mass., to connect with the line of the NewYork & Boston Telegraph Association. This was 4 years after Morse had built the first telegraph line in the United States.

TELEPHONE COMPANY. -- Two telephone exchanges were established in Providence in 1878, one under Western Union, the other under Bell Telephone, management. After the consolidation of the two great interests presented by these exchanges, they became in the winter of 1879 one corporation, under the name of the Providence Telephone Co. The headquarters of this company are in Butler Exchange, 103 Westminster St. It controls over 1,000 miles of wire in the city, mantains lines to nearly every important town in the State, and also operates the line of the Inter-State Co. to Boston. It also holds communication with Fall River, New Bedford, and other places. The company makes over 2,100 connections, about two-thirds of which are in the city. Public telephones are stationed in the following places: C. G. A. Peterson's, ground floor, Butler Exchange; William R. Greene's apothecary-store, 1 Westminster St.; H. J. Alfred's, 811 Eddy St.; and at the Base Ball Grounds, - for the use of 15 cts. within the city limits, 25 cts. to all other points within the company's territory. Subscribers also must pay at all but the first mentioned station.

TEMPERANCE ORGANIZATIONS. -- There are in Providence 2 lodges of I. O. of Good Templars, with a membership of about 200, G. Sec'y, J. N. Todd; 5 divisions of Sons of Temperance, with 316 members, G. Scribe, Mrs. J. H. Scholfield; 3 Temples of Honor, numbering 151 members, G. W. R., J. C. Lester; and 2 Councils of Jons of Jonadab. All these organizations hold weekly meetings in their separate halls, which are scattered in various portions of the city. The Providence Reform-Club, comprising over 500 members, also holds weekly meetings, Sec'y, E. W. Boynton. Other temperance associations in this city are the Rhode Island Temperance Union, Cor. Sec'y, Rev. H. W. Conant; Women's Christian Temperance Union of Providence, Cor. Sec'y, Miss L. W. Thompson; State Temperance Reform-Club; Knights of the Golden Cross, J. N. Todd, sec'y, Arcade; and Catholic Total Abstinence Union.

TENTH WARD lies in the north-western part of the city, N. of the Woonasquatucket and W. of the Moshassuck rivers. It is mostly an extensive and undulating farming region, but, on the whole, sparsely populated. Smith's Hill, Mt. Pleasant, and several small manufacturing villages, as Dyerville, Geneva, Wanskuck, are in this district.

THEATRES. -- Isaiah Thomas, in his 'History of Printing', says that the first play publicly performed in New England was acted in Providence in 1762. But Charles Blake, in his elaborate 'History of the Providence Stage', says this is an erroneous statement. He maintains that the first theatrical performance took place in Newport in 1761, when the Virginia comedians appeared there; and the next year the same troupe appeared in Providence, and gave the first theatrical performance ever given in this city. In 1795 the first theatre was erected at the cor. of Westminster and Mathewson Sts., which was occupied until 1832, and then converted into what is now known as Grace Church. A second theatre was erected in 1839, but, proving unprofitable, was abandoned to business pursuits. This building is still standing at 89 Dorrance St., nearly opposite the Providence Opera House. See 'Places of Amusement'.

THEATRE COMIQUE, 83 Weybosset St., is a small theatre, remodelled and re-furnished in 1881. The performances are chiefly of the 'variety' class.

TIBBITTS, SHAW, & CO., the leading and longest-established house in the bookselling and stationery trade, occupy a site which for upwards of half a century has been occupied for the same business. Before the estuary of the Narragansett was solidly built over at the present Market Sq., before the Union depot was the centripetal horse-car point of the city, and before the 'Cove' was the focus ground of the N. S. and W. railway lines, a three-story wooden dwelling stood on the site of Tibbitts, Shaw, and Co.'s store, at No. 21 Westminster St., near Market Sq. The lower part of this dwelling was submerged in 1817 by the waters of Narragansett Bay, driven back by the gale of that year. In 1830 the dwelling began to be utilized as a bookstore, printing-office and bindery of Wm. Marshall & Co. In 1836 John B. Gough, then a long and lank youth of 19 years, came from Bristol, R.I., where he had been apprenticed to a man he describes as 'sexton of a meeting-house, sawer of wood, had a bookbindery, and kept boiled eggs to sell'. He went to work in Marshall's bindery, and, as an English biographer has said, 'learned the trade of bookbinder, and fell into the habits of intemperance'. Even at that early date he displayed great oratorical ability. While he himself kept at work, he mimicked men and narrated events so graphically and so dramatically that his employers often caught the other workmen neglecting their work to listen to him. In 1840 the wooden building was moved to Dorrance St., where it is still used for business purposes. On its site stands a plain, substantial, four-story brick building, which has always been occupied by a line of successful and highly trustworthy booksellers, stationers, and binders. In 1830 the firm was Wm. Marshall & Co.; in 1837 Mr. Marshall retired, and was succeeded by his partner, John Edwin Brown, who, in 1838, sold out to Isaac H. Cady, who associated with him Mr. Brown's brother, William Brown. In 1842 the business came into possession of Gladding & Proud, whose successors have been successively, Gladding Brothers, Gladding Brothers & Co., Gladding Brothers & Tibbits, Tibbitts & Randall, Tibbitts & Shaw; and finally the present firm, Tibbitts, Shaw, & Co., composed of Wm. T. Tibbitts, Joseph A. Shaw, and W. B. Swarts, who may well be proud of their business ancestors, and be well pleased with the extensive patronage which they now enjoy.

TILLINGHAST HOUSE is an ancient landmark standing on South Main St., just N. of Transit St. It was built by Philip Tillinghast, probably about 1710; and, when erected, was one of the only 3 or 4 dwelling-houses in that part of the town. It is a wooden house, two stories high, with western basements, a hipped roof, dormer windows, and an immense chimney in the centre, 5 ft. sq. at the top.

TIME. -- Providence time is 1 min. and 22 secs. behind Boston time. One stroke of the electric fire-alarm is struck at 12 M. and 8.30 P.M. automatically from the clock in City Hall, and gives in each case Providence time as corrected by Boston time, telegraphed from the Harvard Observatory at Cambridge.

TIN-TOP CHURCH. -- See Richmond-st. Congregational Church.

TOCKWOTTON HILL. -- The plateau, 50 ft. high, on which the State Reform School stands, was formerly a bluff, known as Tockwotton Hill, a name of Indian origin.

TOOLEVILLE is a term vaguely applied to the district adjacent to the Moshassuck River, bet. Charles St. and Branch Av. A large portion of this part of the town was formerly owned by Barney Toole.

'TOWN MEETING', is held by the 'freemen' of the city on the third Saturday in December, in the Council Chamber, City Hall, to transact business relating to the donations of Ebenezer Knight Dexter.

TOWN STREET. -- See Main St.

TRANSIT STREET commemorates the transit of Venus, June 3, 1769. Here an observatory for the event was constructed a little south of Benefit St.

TRINITY METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH is a handsome brick edifice on Broad St., near Bridgham. The society was org'd under its present name, April 24, 1859, but had a short time previous been begun as a mission of the Mathewson-st. Church. Services were held in Lester Hall on Cranston St., until the completion of the present edifice in 1865. Present pastor, G. W. Anderson.

TRINITY SQUARE is the name of the triangular space at the junc. of Broad, Greenwich, Bridgham, and Linden Sts. Grace Church Cemetery, Trinity M. E., and the New Jerusalem Churches front on this sq.

TRUST COMPANIES. -- Rhode Island Hospital Trust Co., 60 South Main St.

'TURK'S HEAD', by which name the junc. of Weybosset and Westminster Sts. is known, received this name from an unsightly image which, with open mouth and turban-crowned head, formerly stood here.