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.

WALKER & SON, WM. R., are among the most prominent and most highly esteemed architects in Rhode Island; the senior partner, Major-Gen. Wm. R. Walker, having been, during the past twenty consecutive years, the architect of a large number of notable structures of many kinds. It is impossible in this small volume to even enumerate the buildings constructed under the superintendence of this firm; but the following meagre list is ample enough to indicate their unlimited variety, and also to give an idea of the ingenuity, experience, and judgment which Gen. Walker, as a representative architect, must possess. The several classes necessarily require wholly different treatment from each other, and then only a casual glance at the various structures in each of the several classes will make apparent the versatile and refined taste of this firm of architects. Among their buildings are the following: --


  • Ponemah Mills, at Taftville.
  • Goff's Braid Mill, at Pawtucket.
  • Pawtucket Hair Cloth Co.'s Mill.
  • Slater Cotton Co.'s (old mill) at Pawtucket.
  • Social Manufacturing Co.'s Office, at Woonsocket.


  • Union Congregational, Providence.
  • First Universalist, N. Attleboro.
  • First Baptist, Pawtucket.
  • St. Mary's Roman Catholic, Warren.
  • Methodist Episcopal, E. Attleboro.
  • First Baptist, E. Providence.
  • First Baptist, at Central Falls.

Public Buildings.

  • Town Hall, Whitinsville.
  • Town Record Building, Pawtucket.
  • Brown University Library, Providence.
  • High School, Providence.
  • High School, Woonsocket.
  • Engine House and Ward Room, Ward I, Providence.
  • School, E. Attleboro.
  • Vineyard-street Grammar School, Providence.


  • Narragansett Hotel, Providence.
  • Wamsutta House, N. Attleboro.
  • Oakland Beach Hotel, Oakland Beach.
  • Benedict House, Pawtucket.

Business Blocks.


  • D. G. Littlefield, Central Falls.
  • W. F. Sayles, East Av., Pawtucket.
  • F. C. Sayles, East Av., Pawtucket.
  • John C. Whitin, Whitinsville.
  • Gen. Olney Arnold, Pawtucket.
  • T. S. Steele, Hartford.
  • Henry F. Barrows, N. Attleboro.
  • Col. Amasa Sprague, Warwick.
  • Alfred A. Reed, 'Coweset', Warwick.
  • A. F. Lamb, Angell St., Providence.
  • John McAuslan, Elmwood Av., Providence.
  • B. B. Knight, Broad St., Providence.
  • H. N. Campbell, Waterman St., Providence.
  • Gov. Wm. Sprague's summer residence, 'Canonchet', at Narragansett Pier.
  • George A. Dean, Attleboro.
  • A. W. Sturdy, Attleboro.
  • H. Conant, Central Falls.
  • Col. Wm. H. Reynolds, Broadway, Providence.
  • H. B. Metcalf, Pawtucket.
  • John J. White, Litchfield, Conn.


The above is merely a list of some of the notable structures which have been erected by this firm, which is to-day one of the the most active in its line in this country; the founder being now in the prime of his life, the actual as well as nominal head of the firm, while his son, Wm. Howard Walker, who came into the business eight years ago, and in 1880 acquired a partnership interest, is already one of the foremost young architects in America. The firm's offices occupy the larger part of the fourth floor of the Vaughan Building, No. 27 Custom House St. They are admirably adapted to their uses, and thoroughly fitted out with an exceptionally fine architect's library, models, plans, and other essentials of a model architect's office.

WANSKUCK, formerly a manufacturing village belonging to the town of North Providence, is now part of the Tenth Ward.


  • Ward 1. -- The southern boundary of the First Ward is a line commencing at the intersection of the old line of North Providence with the Woonasquatucket River, and running thence easterly along said river to its junction with the Moshassuck; thence up to the Moshassuck River to Church St., up Church to Benefit; thence in a direct line to Lloyd St., through Lloyd St. and a line in continuation thereof, to Seekonk River, near the junc. of Rhode Island Av., with Oriole Av. The eastern boundary is the Seekonk River. The western and northern boundary is a line commencing at the intersection of the old line of North Providence with the Woonasquatucket River, thence running north-westerly in a straight line to a stone on Branch Av., near junc. with Smithfield Av., thence northerly on Smithfield Av. to North Grove St., thence through North Grove St. to Cemetery St., through Cemetery St. to Pawtucket Av., through Pawtucket Av. to North St., through North St. and Swan Point or Neck Road to a point opposite the east end of Methyl St., thence easterly on the old northern boundary of Swan Point Cemetery to the Seekonk River.
  • Ward 2. -- Includes that portion north and east of the Woonasquatucket and Providence Rivers, bet. the line the First Ward as above described, and a line drawn from Providence River up Power St. to Brown, through Brown to Charles Field, through Charles Field to Hope, up Hope to Benevolent, through Benevolent to Govenor, through Govenor to Pitman, through Pitman to East River St., through East River to Waterman, and through Waterman to Central Bridge.
  • Ward 3. -- Includes that portion of the city bet. the Providence and Seekonk Rivers lying south of the Second Ward, as above described.
  • Ward 4. -- Includes that portion of the city bounded by the following lines, to wit: Commencing at Weybosset Bridge, and running thence up Westminster St. to Weybosset, up Weybosset to Broad, up Broad to High, up High to Dean, through Dean to Atwell's Av., through Atwell's Av. to Acorn St., through Acorn St. to the Woonasquatucket River, thence down said river to the point of beginning.
  • Ward 5. -- Includes that portion of the city bounded by the following lines, to wit: Commencing at Weybosset Bridge, and running thence up Westminster St. to Weybosset, up Weybosset to Broad, up Broad to High, up High to Fenner, through Fenner to Broad, up Broad to Beacon, through Beacon and Plain to the northerly line of the Ninth Ward, thence along said line to the river, thence up said river to the point of the beginning.
  • Ward 6. -- Includes that portion of the city bounded by the following lines, to wit: Commencing at the intersection of Fenner and High Sts., and running thence up High to Cranston, up Cranston to B, through B to Central, down Central to Major, through Major to Broad, up Broad to Linden, through Linden to West Clifford, up West Clifford to Dudley, through Dudley to the northerly line of the Ninth Ward, thence along said line to Plain St., through Plain to Broad, down Broad to Fenner, through Fenner to the point of beginning.
  • Ward 7. -- Includes that portion of the city bounded by the following lines, to wit: Commencing at the intersection of Dean and High Sts., and running thence up High St. to Cranston, up Cranston to Codding, through Codding to High, up High to Almy, through Almy to Gesler, up Gesler to Ridge, through Ridge to Atwell's Av., through Atwell's Av. to the Woonasquatucket River, along said river to Acorn St., through Acorn St. to Atwell's Av., down Atwell's Av. to Dean St., through Dean St. to the point of beginning.
  • Ward 8. -- Includes all that portion of the city lying westerly of the following line, to wit: Commencing at the intersection of Dudley St. with the northerly line of the Ninth Ward, and running thence through West Clifford to Linden, through Linden to Broad, down Broad to Major, through Major to Central, through Central to B, through B and Codding Sts. to High St., up High to Almy, through Almy to Gesler, through Gesler to Ridge, through Ridge to Atwell's Av., through Atwell's Av. to the Woonasquatucket River.
  • Ward 9. -- Includes all that portion of the city lying south of the southerly line of the Fifth, Sixth, and Eighth Wards. Commencing at the dividing line of the town of Johnston and the Eighth Ward; then running southerly to the westerly line of the N. Y., P., & Boston R. R.; thence on the westerly line of said railroad to Cranston St., and across said st. to the westerly line of Fenner Av.; thence along the westerly line of said av. to Reservoir Av.; thence in a straight line easterly to the South-westerly corner of Jonas Manton's farm, so called, on the easterly side of Eddy St. (including the whole of Roger Williams Park, part of which lies south of this line); thence on the southerly side of said farm to Providence River; and thence in a straight line easterly, passing through the most southerly portion of Starve-Goat Island at low-water mark, to the channel of the river.
  • Ward 10. -- Includes that portion of the city bounded by the following lines, to wit: Commencing at the intersection of the boundary-line of Ward 1 with the Woonasquatucket River, up said river to a point on the easterly bank of the pond north of the village of Manton, being a large elm-tree marked; running thence north-easterly in a straight line to a chestnut tree marked, on Wilbur Hill, on the easterly side of, and on, the Woodward road, so called; thence on a straight line to and across the Smithfield turnpike, near the slaughter-houses, where a post of fence bounding said turnpike is marked, and an iron spike driven therein; thence southerly, on the easterly side of said turnpike, and the Power road, so called, to the north-easterly corner of the railroad-bridge crossing the Providence and Worcester Railroad; thence easterly on a straight line to the north-west corner of Swan Point Cemetery; thence following the northern boundary of said Swan Point Cemetery to the Seekonk River; thence southerly to the boundary-line of Ward 1; thence along the northerly and westerly boundary-line of Ward 1, to the point of beginning.

WARREN ASSOCIATION of Baptist churches was formed at Warren, R. I., in 1767, and until 1843 was the only organization of its kind in the State. In that year the Providence Association, formed of churches that had belonged to the Warren Association, was organized. In 1859 the churches in the southern part of the State separated, and formed the Narragansett Association. The churches in Providence belonging to the Warren Association are, the First, Central, Congdon-st., Friendship-st., Union, South and Broadway. The total membership of these churches, by report of 1882, was 2,242; this number, with total membership of churches in Providence, belonging to the Providence Association, makes the membership of the regular Baptist churches for 1882, 3,834. The number of churches in the Warren Association is 22. Yearly anniversaries are held by each association.

WASHINGTON BRIDGE, or India Bridge, an old wooden structure, the only covered bridge for foot-passengers and vehicles in the city, crosses the Seekonk River at India Point, about 3/4 of mile below Central Bridge. It is said to have derived its name from a wooden statue of Washington, which adorned a bridge built here by John Brown in 1793. The bridge and statue were carried away by a freshet in 1807. The present structure has a draw 38 feet wide, operated by hand. A short distance below is a railroad-bridge, also of wood, used by the Providence, Warren, and Bristol, and the Boston and Providence Railroads.

WASHINGTON SQUARE, Benefit, cor. India St., is a small grass-plat much resorted to by the poor people who live near it. It was set apart for a public square by the Fox-Point Ass'n in 1816; deeded to the city in 1830; it was graded, fenced, and planted in 1852, and received its present title in 1857.

WASHINGTON TROTTING-PARK. -- This race-course, which was in a flourishing condition about 40 years ago, and was in use until within 15 years, is now an open field on Broad St., near the city line.

WATER-WORKS. -- Four times, in 1853, 1856, 1864, 1866, attempts to supply the city with pure water were made, and defeated by the popular vote. A committee appointed by the Common Council in July, 1866, authorized J. Herbert Shedd, civil engineer, then of Boston, to make surveys, and present plans and estimates. Mr. Shedd's report, made in 1868, treated of four different souces of supply; the most expensive of which, the Pawtuxet-river plan, was adopted by the tax-payers, Feb. 15, 1869. A Board of Water Commissioners was chosen in Oct., 1869, and the preparatory work of introduction began at once. Water began to flow ino the city Nov. 18, 1871; and 12 days later, - Thanksgiving Day, - the event was celebrated by sending up great jets of water from service-pipes conducted to the bridges which cross the river. The total cost of construction to Sept. 30, 1881, was about $5,100,000; over 160 miles of main pipes had been laid. In 1880 the control of the water-works passed into the hands of the Board of Public Works. See also Hope Reservoir, Pawtuxet River, Pawtuxet Water, Pettaconset Pumping-Station, and Sockanosset Reservoir.

WEST BURIAL-GROUND. -- See Cemeteries.

WESTMINSTER CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH (Unitarian), Mathewson St. The church edifice is a cement-covered, stone building, with a fine portico in the Ionic style. Judge Staples in his 'Annals of Providence', published in 1843, says , 'There is no church in the city which is more chaste in its style of architecture, or which exhibits more classic taste in its exterior, than this.' About ten years ago, the interior of the building was greatly improved so as to carry out the architectural design in its completeness. The church has had only 4 different pastors since its completion in 1829. Rev. Augustus Woodbury, the present incumbent, has served the society since 1857.

WESTMINSTER STREET, from Great Bridge to High St., five-eighths of a mile in length, is the main thoroughfare and the centre of the retail trade.

WEST SIDE is a natural division, rather than a term in common use. It may be considered as comprising all that portion of the city west of the Providence and south of the Woonasquatucket Rivers. It is the most important district, contains nearly one-half of the population, and embraces the centre of the mercantile intersts. Elmwood, So. Providence, and Roger Williams Park, are some of the localities, and the City Hall, Cathedral, High School, and R. I. Hospital, some of the edifices, in this section, mentioned elsewhere.

WEYBOSSET BRIDGE. -- See Great Bridge.

WHARVES. -- The principle wharves in Providence River and Harbor at present are Lonsdale Wharf, used by the steamers of Providence, Norfolk, and Baltimore Line; Ives' Wharf, used by Winsor-Line steamers (these, and some others not much used, are between India and Fox Points); the pier of the N.Y., P.&B.R.R. in S. Providence; the Wilkes-barre Coal Pier, E. Providence. Between Crawford-st. Bridge and Hill's Wharf, on the west side of the river, is a series of wharves, piers, and docks, at which most of the coal, lumber, grain, etc., brought to the city in coasting vessels, is unloaded. Between Crawford-st. Bridge and Fox Point there are no docks, and the only important landing-place is the quay of the Fall River Steam-boat Co. In the early history of Providence the first wharves were on the east side of the river. During the last century many wharves and docks existed between Town St. and the river. By the end of the century the docks 'north of Crawford St. had been filled up, and had become highways.' The Sept. gale of 1815 destroyed many of the remaining wharves, and resulted in the filling-up of the docks. Daniel Anthony's map of 1803 shows the space now bounded by a line drawn from the Crawford-st. Bridge through Harkness, Pine, Eddy, and Ship Sts., to have been a cove. A plat dated 1815 shows wharves existing in this cove. Until the building of the Crawford-st. Bridge, and the widening of Dyer and S. Water Sts., a few years ago, vessels came up to the Great Bridge. In 1877 the project was broached of building a sea-wall from Hill's Wharf to Sassafras Point, and then to construct a series of piers running from this wall to harbor line. Drawings of the proposed improvements were made, copies of which may be seen in the mayor's office, City Hall. As yet no part of the project has been realized except the pier of the N.Y., P.&B.R.R.

'WHAT CHEER NETOP', was the friendly salutation with which the Indians greeted Roger Williams at his first landing upon Slate Rock on the bank of the Seekonk River.

WHAT CHEER SQUARE is a deep hollow at the cor. of Gano and Fremont Sts. It marks the first landing-place of Roger Williams on our shores. In 1878 a new street was laid out bet. this spot and the Seekonk River, and the Committee on Parks was authorized to raise a portion of 'Slate Rock', - so called - until the street was brought to a grade. This had never been done, and a board fence ten ft. high still protects this cherished relic.

WHIPPLE HOUSE on the north side of Abbott St., east of North Main, is the oldest dwelling in the city, dating back more than 200 years. Its original owner, Samuel Whipple, born in 1643, was the first person buried in the North Burial-Ground. Roger Williams and his associates are said to have held religious meetings here; and possibly for this reason the building was spared by the Indians when they burned the town, March 30, 1676. It is still in good preservation, though somewhat altered from its original plan.

WOLFE TONE GUARDS is an Irish-American militia organization, named in honor of Theobald Wolfe Tone, the celebrated Irish patriot. It is Co. B in the Fifth Battalion R. I. militia, and has an armory at 54 North Main St.

WOMAN'S CHRISTIAN TEMPERANCE UNION, aided by benevolent ladies, opened, Feb. 23, 1882, the 'People's Coffee House' at 227 Eddy St. The objects are to provide a place where workmen and apprentices can obtain meals at reasonable rates, away from the allurements of the run-shops; and also to feed, clothe, provide work, etc., for homeless strangers and poor people. The rooms are large and well situated for the objects in view. The enterprise is supported by contributions. Rev. Samuel Davis, manager.

WOMAN'S FOREIGN MISSIONARY SOCIETY. -- The Providence Branch of this society, composed of the eight M. E. churches and the Haven M. E. Church in East Providence, pledges a certain annual sum towards the support of the Female Hospital in Bareilly, India, and raises a fund for contingencies, called the Contingent Fund.

WOMAN'S SUFFRAGE ASSOCIATION, The Rhode Island, holds regular monthly meetings at its rooms in the Hoppin Homestead Building, 283 Westminster St. Here papers are read and discussed, and usually followed by an informal tea. Mrs. E. B. Chace, pres't, Mrs. M. J. Channing, cor. sec'y.

WOMAN'S UNION MISSIONARY SOCIETY, with its headquarters in New York City, has in Providence a branch, with 100 members. This association is undenominational, and directs its efforts to the spiritual development of the women in the East. Three American mission homes in India - viz,., at Calutta, Allahabad, and Cawnpore - are in most successful operation; and special women's work is done in Burmah, China, Japan, Syria, Greece, and Cyprus. The Providence branch was established in 1870. Miss Emily Waterman, pres.; Miss Mary S. Stockbridge, sec. and treas.

WOMEN'S CHRISTIAN ASSOCIATION AND YOUNG WOMEN'S BOARDING HOME, org'd in 1867, established in the same year a boarding-home for business women, where home comforts and privileges should be enjoyed at moderate rates. This home, in 1872, was permanently located at 66 Fountain St., and is a desirable residence for young women desiring to live economically and well, and also an agreeable temporary home for ladies travelling alone. In the summer of 1878, the ass'n opened a 'Seaside Cottage' at Conanicut Park, on the bay, as a resort 'for women requiring rest and change of air, unable to pay the high prices of hotels and boarding-houses.' Many a person has gained renewed health and strength here, and the institution is worthy of liberal support. The ass'n was incorporated in 1870, and an act passed in 1877 exempts its property from taxation so long as it is used for the benevolent purposes specified in the charter.

WOMEN'S CITY MISSIONARY SOCIETY, an important local charity, was org'd in 1867, 'to assist the poor in efforts to help themselves, and to engage in general missionary work in the city.' A visiting committee is appointed for each ward, and all cases are carefully investigated; thus preventing, to a great extent, imposture and misapplied aid. During the year ending Nov. 14, 1881, 2,018 visits were made, and assistance rendered to 707 families, with an expenditure of nearly [$] 2,500. The society is supported by annual subscriptions and donations.

WOMEN'S CLUB, THE RHODE ISLAND, established spring of 1876, 'to form a recognized centre for social and mental culture'. Meetings are held twice a month, at Franklin Society Rooms, at which scientific and literary papers are read, followed occasionally by discussions. Many representative New England women, as well as eminent gentlemen have addressed the club Mrs. E. K. Churchill was instrumental in its organization. The Churchill Memorial lectures were established by this society. Present membership, 135. Pres't, Miss Sarah E. Doyle; sec'y, Miss L. P. Bucklin.

WOMEN'S MISSIONARY SOCIETIES. Nearly ever religious denomination has one or more of this class.


WOONASQUATUCKET LIBRARY, Atwell's Av., at junc. of Harris Av., has a collection of over 1,600 well-selected vols., and a reading room supplied with the leading periodicals. It is the private property of the Richmond Manuf. Co., whose print-works are in this vicinity, and has existed as a reading-room for nearly 15 years, as a library for about 10 years. It is open every week-day evening except Saturday, and from 4 to 6 P.M. on Saturdays. Though intended for the especial benefit of employees of the Richmond Co., residents in its neighborhood are allowed to enjoy its priviledges. The Co. reserves the right to forbid its use by objectionable persons.

WOONASQUATUCKET RIVER, The, rising in the north-eastern part of the State, flows in a generally south-westerly direction until it enters the 'Cove'. Early in the century, its water-power was used to run saw and grist mills; but, on the springing up of various small cotton-factories, the water supply in the summer was found to be insufficient. To obviate this serious hinderance to business, bet. 1823 and 1838, four reservoirs were built for storing the surplus water until needed. From its source to its outlet, it is essentially a manufacturing stream; and some important manufactories are along its banks. The Providence and Springfield R. R. follows its course for several miles.

WORK'S GYMNASIUM, 26 Washington St., open daily from 9 A.M. to 9 P.M. Visitors admitted.