Archive for the ‘History’ Category

Old Stone Bank History of Rhode Island: Auton House   Leave a comment

Auton House, from Recollections of Auton House (1881).

Auton House, from Recollections of Auton House (1881).

Alias Hoppin.
by John Williams Haley

This article comes from an Old Stone Bank educational pamphlet published by the Providence Institution for Savings on March 2, 1931. Transcribed by Christopher Martin.

* * * * *

AUTON HOUSE… who would recognize it now? In fact, how many have ever even heard the name? It is not in the property files of Providence. Officially it does not exist. But the initiated, familiar with its origin, revel in their intimate knowledge of its full significance. For them the name “Auton” conveys up the picture of a charming mid-nineteenth century Providence family, one which was in some respects similar to the Alcott family of Concord, Massachusetts.

Auton House stands on Westminster Street at the corner of Walnut Street, nearly opposite the Modern Theatre. At this writing it serves as the home of several business concerns, its first floor given over to stores, its second and third floors to offices and workshops. Someday it will probably be torn down, destroyed to make room for a modern office building; but now, in spite of its constant usage for more than 120 years, its brick walls seem as sturdy as the day they were raised.

And this was the house in which twelve little Autons were born, in which eleven grew up, and of which one paused, in his later years, to reminisce. He called his reminiscences Recollections of Auton House, issuing them in the form of a small book and illustrating it himself. In it he tells of countless little details in the child life of the Auton family, describing many a piece of mischief—the romps and games in the nursery, the thoughtless persecution of poor Deborah, the tyranny of T. Auton in the matter of jonnycake—and portraying character after character, from Rosannah to Mother Auton, with tender humor and intimate understanding.

But so far we have been talking ambiguously; so far you know nothing about Auton house except its location. Let us then unfold the rest of the mystery without more ado.

The Auton family was none other than the Hoppin family of Rhode Island. And the author of the reminiscences was Augustus Hoppin, the ninth in line of the twelve children. Perhaps desiring the opportunity to expand more liberally upon the theme that engrossed him in his writing, he hid his family behind the pseudonym “Auton.” “Auton”, it seems, is a Greek word meaning “self” and therefore was a very apt choice. For distinction among the eleven living children, Augustus Hoppin then prefixed the correct first initial of each individual before his fictitious surname. Thus, in order of arrival in the world, they were

J. Auton………. William Jones Hoppin
A. Auton (girl)…… Anna Jones Hoppin
T. Auton……. Thomas Frederick Hoppin
S. Auton (girl)…….. Sarah D. Hoppin
F. Auton………. Francis Edwin Hoppin
H. Auton…………… Hamilton Hoppin
E. Auton (girl)….. Eliza Jones Hoppin
W. Auton……… Dr. Washington Hoppin
A. Auton…………… Augustus Hoppin
H. Auton (girl)… Harriet Jones Hoppin
C. Auton………. Dr. Courtland Hoppin

The family moved into Auton House in 1815, although it had been built some eight years earlier, and continued to occupy it until 1874, the year of Mother Auton’s death. The father of the family was Thomas Coles Hoppin who, with his brother Benjamin, engaged in business as a merchant, dealing in such commodities as dye-stuffs, drugs, and Chinaware and importing many goods from the West Indies and China. Both men became influential and highly respected citizens of the community. From the various bits of description Augustus Hoppin gives us, we can picture his father as an individual of unusual charm. The former writes that if ever a father was loved by his children Father Auton was, their greatest delight arising in being compared with him whether in matter of virtue, feature, or eccentricity. He would often thrill them when they were quite small by swinging them in a circle until they were literally flying through the air, like the partner of a spinning, dance performer. Every morning, early, it was he who would take a basket on his arm and set out for the heart of the town to do the daily marketing. On each trip one of the elder boys would be taken along to help in bringing home the purchases, and it was not unusual for Father Anton, after buying a live gobbler in the stalls, to give it to his son to carry. This the young man would have to do, regardless of his attire and of the affront to his vanity if he chanced to meet any friends (particularly those of the opposite sex) on the way. Nevertheless, despite the possibility of being ordered to carry an obstreperous turkey home, the chance to accompany Father Auton on his morning expeditions was considered a privileged one and was valued accordingly.

Not all of Father Auton’s shopping was done in the market-place, however, for many farmers would come into the town and cry their products through the streets from house to house. When a huckster with a wagon load of berries came up Westminster Street, Father Auton would stop him, sample his goods, and then, if they proved satisfactory, buy five or six quarts.

Mother Auton was the daughter of Governor William Jones of Rhode Island, and one of the best mothers imaginable, catering to her large brood with wisdom and love. Her ministrations extended outside of her family as well, for her sympathy and intelligent advice was sought by many a distressed female, whether black or white. She survived Father Auton by about twenty-four years, and it is of her in this latter period of her life that Augustus Hoppin gives us an especially fine picture.

“Mother Auton never would sit at a desk,” he writes. “Neither ‘secretary’ nor ‘davenport’ suited her purpose. The little gifts presented to her from time to time, and admirably adapted to write at were always gratefully accepted, but never used. She took her writing materials on her broad motherly lap, pushed her cap-strings from her face, adjusted her gold spectacles over her ample nose, dipped her pen daintily in the ink (just enough to fill it without blotting), and away it ran so merrily and easily over the paper that she would be on her fourth page before we children, who were seated around her, had half gotten through sucking our oranges…

“There she sat in her chair every Sunday morning for over forty years, writing the weekly epistle, with bended head and benign expression, while the wood fire hissed and sputtered, and the old canary sang in the sunlight.”

We have already mentioned Deborah, the long-suffering maid. She was the break-water against which the tireless waves of the young Autons’ energy buffeted endlessly. She slept in the nursery with the children, being allotted a thin strip along the edge of the larger bed, but she was only allowed to sleep after she had brushed the bed clean of the crumbs which fell from the children’s final rations of jonnycake and had supplied all round with a last drink of water. Even then, with the first light of day, she was unmercifully pushed out of bed by several pairs of small feet braced against her back. Yet, though slowly worn to a shadow, she never complained of her lot, and faithfully ministered to all the childish wants, from the youngest to the oldest, doctoring colds, combing hair, answering questions, drying tears, and adjusting sashes and ties.

Far different was she from Rosannah, the colored mistress of the kitchen. The latter was almost regal in her bearing, seldom smiling yet warm-hearted for all of that. She would dole out slices of bread to the small army of young ones that daily invaded her sanctuary, and she alone knew just what pinch of salt or dash of pepper was needed to make each dish exactly suited to the fastidious taste of Father Auton. But like many of the old-time cooks she could not endure the modern types of cooking equipment, and when coal stoves and ovens came into vogue, she resigned her culinary throne.

What became of the many young Autons who filled the old house with so much noise and merriment? What of those urchins who deliberately caught colds in order to stay home from school, who climbed all over poor Deborah, who played house in the nursery, who set out their shoes (instead of stockings) to be filled with candy and trinkets on Christmas Eve?

Well, the eldest, William Hoppin Jones [sic], turned to law and established a considerable practice in New York, later entering the diplomatic service and going to London. The next among the boys, Thomas Frederick, became a distinguished artist, his notable works being the chancel windows depicting the evangelists in Trinity Church, New York, and his bronze statue of a dog, now in Roger Williams Park. Others, among the boys, became well-known physicians and architects, while the girls attained social prominence, one marrying Elisha Dyer, Governor of Rhode Island in 1857.

But last, and especially, we must speak of Augustus Hoppin, the author of the “re-collections.” He, too, was a noted artist, famous as an illustrator. It was he who did the illustrations for the original edition of Holmes’ Autocrat of the Breakfast Table. He wrote a good many books, but of them all none is more delightful, more thoroughly charming than Recollections of Auton House, a pen portrait of a 19th century Rhode Island family.

Return to Old Stone Bank History of Rhode Island index.

* * * * *

John Williams Haley (1897-1963), former vice president of the Narragansett Brewing Company, was best known for his weekly radio program, “The Rhode Island Historian,” which ran from 1927 to about 1953 on WJAR. Several hundred of his radio scripts were published in pamphlet form by the Providence Institute for Savings (“The Old Stone Bank”), and many were later reprinted in the four-volume Old Stone Bank History of Rhode Island.

* * * * *

Editor’s Notes

Most of the major players in this story are buried in Swan Point Cemetery.

Left, Augustus Hoppin, from a 1925 Rhode Island Independence Day program. Right, his grave at Swan Point Cemetery.

Left, Augustus Hoppin, from a 1925 Rhode Island Independence Day program. Right, his grave at Swan Point Cemetery.

Hamilton Hoppin, (1821-1885), left Rhode Island to pursue business interests in New York. There, he married Louisa Howland, daughter of Samuel Shaw Howland, a prosperous merchant. In the 1850s, portions of the extended Howland family began summering in Newport, and in 1855 Hamilton Hoppin purchased property in Middletown. By summer 1857 a house was ready for occupancy. The house was featured, under the name Inn at Shadow Lawn, in the 2002 PBS documentary Ghosts and Vampire Legends of Rhode Island. Today it’s known as the Inn at Villalon.

Auton House as it appeared circa 1918, quarters of the Providence Wall Paper House. From Old Providence, printed for The Merchants National Bank of Providence in 1918.

Auton House as it appeared circa 1918, quarters of the Providence Wall Paper House. From Old Providence, printed for The Merchants National Bank of Providence in 1918.

An earlier account of Auton House, from Old Providence, printed for The Merchants National Bank of Providence in 1918, offered these details:

It requires a considerable stretch of the imagination, when the stranger to-day views the Auton House at the upper corner of Westminster and Walnut Streets, to place it in the midst of spacious grounds. It is now in the heart of the commercial district, and is the home of the Providence Wall Paper Company. “It was built,” according to information given by Mr. William W. Chapin, “in 1807 by Isaac Greenwood, who removed to Boston in 1810, first advertising his house for sale, and saying in the advertisement that it had been built three years before. The house was bought by Benjamin Hoppin, brother of Thomas C.; and in 1815 Benjamin conveyed it to Thomas C. The family occupied it until the death of Mrs. Hoppin in 1874. The interior of the house has been changed beyond recognition, except that in the shop of the Providence Wall Paper Company there remains the original fan-light over what were old-fashioned folding doors—not sliding doors—separating the two parlors when desired.”

The dog statue by Thomas F. Hoppin is known as “The Sentinel.” He designed it and had it cast by Gorham Manufacturing in 1851. It is variously credited with being either “the first bronze statue cast in America,” “the first bronze statue cast in Rhode Island,” or “the first bronze dog statue cast in America.” It was exhibited at the Crystal Palace in London during the Great Exhibition of 1851, and won a gold medal from the New York Academy of Design.

"The Sentinel" in 1958, with a young rider astride.

“The Sentinel” in 1958, with a young rider astride.

“The Sentinel” depicts Black Prince, a mastiff owned by the Jenkins family who lived in the 1798 John Innis Clark House at 383 Benefit Street. On November 20, 1849, a fire broke out in the house and Black Prince barked frantically to alert the family. Some accounts say he broke his chain, and that is why a short length of chain dangles from the statue’s studded collar. Despite his efforts only two family members survived—Moses, 15, and Anna, 17. Anna later married Thomas Hoppin, and he built an Italianate villa (which still stands) on the ruins of the Clark mansion. “The Sentinel” stood watch over their front lawn for several decades.

In 1896 the Hoppin family gave “The Sentinel” to the City of Providence. It was installed in the Japanese garden at Roger Williams Park, and later moved to the zoo grounds. Generations of children have climbed on his back to pose for a photograph.

Westminster and Walnut, the former site of Auton House, as seen in January 2014.

Westminster and Walnut, the former site of Auton House, as seen in January 2014.

Auton House was replaced, as Haley predicted, by a multi-story office building—the non-descript 1971 addition to the 1917 New England Telephone and Telegraph Building. As of 2014 it’s occupied by Verizon.

* * * * *

Return to Old Stone Bank History of Rhode Island index.

Map of Camp Yawgoog, 1967   Leave a comment

Map of Camp Yawgoog from 1967.

Map of Camp Yawgoog from 1967.

Portions of the movie Moonrise Kingdom, the events of which took place in September 1965, were filmed here. The style of this map is very similar to the style of the map used in the movie.

* * * * *

Return to Quahog.org |

Posted December 23, 2013 by stuffiex in Facts & Folklore, History

Tagged with , ,

Pictuesque America: Newport   Leave a comment

An agreeable vintage tour of the “Isle of Peace.”

[This article comes from Picturesque America, volume I (1872), pages 358-376, edited by William Cullen Bryant. Transcribed, and links added, by Christopher Martin. Click on images for a larger view.]

* * * * *

"The Walk on the Cliff," otherwise known as Cliff Walk.

“The Walk on the Cliff,” otherwise known as Cliff Walk.

THE original name of the island on which Newport stands was Aquidneck, or the “Isle of Peace,” and the present title was given to it because of its natural resemblance to the Isle of Rhodes, in the Mediterranean. It is hard to believe that, more than a hundred years ago, this was, with one exception, the most important port of entry in the American colonies, with two hundred vessels engaged in foreign trade, three or four hundred more employed in distributing the products landed here along the shores of our own land, from Massachusetts to Virginia, supplying the wholesale merchants of Boston, New York, and Philadelphia, with their various stores, and with a regular line of packets running between Newport and London—not less than twenty-two hundred seamen at one time sailing from this harbor. As long ago as 1728, Bishop Berkeley writes that “Newport is the most thriving place in all America for bigness. I was never more agreeably surprised than at the sight of the town and harbor.” In those days New-Yorkers were sometimes admonished that, if they only had the enterprise of the Newporters, with their natural facilities, they might, in process of time, become a formidable rival in trade and commerce!

"Newport from the Bay." Note Limerock Lighthouse on the rock outcropping at right.

“Newport from the Bay.” Note Limerock Lighthouse on the rock outcropping at right.

Merchants built stately mansions by the waterside, some of which may still be seen, with their wainscoted walls, mahogany stairways, marble mantels, and tiled fireplaces, indicative of a period when the warehouses were not sufficient to contain the wealth of products that was discharged at these wharves, and the streets and sidewalks were—a sore temptation this must have been to the boys of the period—often lined for days with the tropical fruits of the Indies. Gentlemen of wealth and culture had their country-seats in the vicinity of the town, surrounded by flower-gardens, and orchards, and fish-ponds, and winding walks, and other features of luxurious rural elegance, where the rich and fashionable gathered and kept high revel.

"View from Fort Adams."

“View from Fort Adams.”

People were attracted to the town, not only because of the salubrity of the climate and the beauty of the scenery, but also by the fact that liberty of conscience ruled supreme in Newport. Quakers lived unmolested there; Baptists built their first meeting-house there; Calvinists preached their sternest doctrines without offence; Hebrews crowded their commodious synagogue; Moravians opened their love-feasts to all who would pay their fourpence-ha’penny, distributing to each his sweet buns and cup of chocolate; and Churchmen prayed fervently for the king and all the royal family. The synagogue, built in 1762, stands today in as good repair as it ever was, although its doors are rarely if ever opened for public worship; and old Trinity Church, erected nearly a century and a half ago, with its crown-surmounted spire, and huge, square pews, with the wardens’ poles indicating where the dignitaries sit, and lofty pulpit, with its hexagonal sounding-board, and reading-pew and clerk’s seat planted far down the aisle, and ancient organ, presented by Bishop Berkeley, adorned with crown and mitre, and the little chancel, denuded of nothing but the lion and unicorn, which were taken from the wall after the Revolution and burnt by patriotic hands—every thing looking just as it did when ancient gentlemen in scarlet coats, and laced ruffles, and silver buckles, and curled wigs, and ladies in their rich brocades, crowded the edifice, and reverently knelt while the priest prayed, and the sonorous clerk acted as their proxy in the response. One portion of the structure, we are glad to say, was long ago removed—the two pens in the organ-loft, pierced with little funnel-holes, through which the poor negroes deposited there might see, without being seen.

"The Drive."

“The Drive.”

Fifty years ago Newport was a torpid, quiet place, its trade extinct, the streets deserted; wharves that were once vocal with busy traffic mouldered away and sunk out of sight under the waters; land of no value; population reduced; strangers rarely finding their way to this old, forgotten town by the sea; the houses weather-worn, unpainted, and falling to pieces—who would then have thought of investing his money in the desolate acres that fringed the borders of this forlorn, dilapidated little village?

The Revolution seemed to have ruined Newport beyond redemption; when the British troops evacuated the place, and the French fleet under D’Estaing entered the harbor in 1780, it was a desolation. In the course of a few years the business of the town had somewhat revived, and, at the beginning of the present century, we find the names of several eminent merchants engaged in commerce there, the house of Gibbs & Channing wielding what in those days was regarded as an immense capital; but the second blow which Newport received by the embargo and the War of 1812 proved fatal, and from that period her commercial doom was sealed.

What Newport is today all the world knows. One or two of these desolate, rocky acres is now a fortune to their possessor. A combination of attractions exceeded by no other watering-place on the continent has once more drawn the inhabitants of our towns and cities to this spot, not for purposes of traffic, but for health and recreation; men of culture and of wealth, foreign ministers and noblemen, authors and politicians, clergymen and actors, high-bred women of the old school and fashionable women of all schools, gather here every season; some to lead a quiet, rational, domestic life, and some to display their finery; spacious hotels are crowded with visitors, cottages—every thing here is called a cottage—of every variety of architecture, Swiss, Gothic, French, Elizabethan, and American, and of every degree of cost, from the humbler structure that is rented for a thousand a year up to the stately mansions in which hundreds of thousands are invested, line the spacious avenues, or nestle among the foliage in the more retired and quiet streets; the grandest steamers in the world land their passengers here every morning, and smaller craft ply all the day up and down the Narragansett shores; every afternoon Bellevue is a whirl of splendid equipages night and morning, bands of music fill the air with melody, and “all goes merry as a marriage-bell.” When the chill winds of autumn drive these summer residents bock to their city homes, the old town relapses into its winter sleep—not as profound a slumber as it slept for some two or three generations, for there is always work to be done in preparation for the next campaign—still it is very quiet; windows are boarded up, gates locked, some of the more fashionable shops closed, and horses and carriages are seen no more on the broad avenues.

This is, in brief, the threefold aspect which Newport has presented during the last hundred and fifty years. We now turn to the special points of attraction, as indicated by our artist.

"On the Beach." This scene is of First, or Easton's, Beach, Newport.

“On the Beach.” This scene is of First, or Easton’s, Beach, Newport.

In entering Newport Harbor, Fort Adams, forming an angle on the right-hand corner, presents to the eye a singularly beautiful and picturesque appearance. Fortress Monroe is the only structure of the kind in the United States that exceeds it in size and cost, and a few years ago it would have seemed as if its massive walls must be strong enough to resist any assault that could be made upon them, and its multitude of ponderous cannon have been too formidable to allow the passage of any ship that floated into the waters of the Narragansett Bay. But guns have recently been constructed that would send this granite pile, with its bastions and battlements, flying into the air like broken crockery; so that its use, as a citadel of defence, is at an end. At the same time the necessity of such a protection against the attacks of a hostile fleet has ceased; just under the guns of the fort lies what is known as Torpedo Island, where scientific men are now making and testing a new submarine projectile, which no precaution can hinder from finding its way to the keel of any ship that ventures near the shore, and blowing it to fragments. The morning and evening gun may continue to salute the break and the close of the day for many years to come, the Stars and Stripes to float over the fortress, the soldiers to keep watch and ward upon the walls, but it will no more be regarded as a stronghold of defence—only as an interesting relic of the past.

Fort Adams is a favorite place of resort with the summer residents of Newport, especially on the afternoons when the regimental band plays, and the dashing down of carriages and the clatter of hoofs over the steep, stone declivity under the frowning archway which opens into the spacious parade-ground, covering a space of eleven acres, and the roll of vehicles around the broad, circular drive that surrounds the enclosure, make a pleasing change from the somewhat dull and monotonous military routine to which the officers and soldiers are subjected. The amount of money that has been expended here by the government—more than a million and a half of dollars—makes it a very costly place of amusement, and might have been spent more profitably; but amusement is better than carnage, and, if these modern improvements in the science of war should put an end to all strife, none will mourn.

"Old Fort Dumpling." The fort was destroyed when Fort Wetherill was constructed around 1800.

“Old Fort Dumpling.” The fort was destroyed when Fort Wetherill was constructed around 1800.

Entering the harbor, on the left your eye rests upon a small, oval fort, gray, time-worn, and dilapidated, standing on the island of Conanicut, and known by the somewhat inexpressive name of “Dumpling.” A controversy is now pending in regard to the date of its erection, some persons contending that it was built long before the Revolution, while others believe that it was thrown up by the British at the period when their troops occupied Rhode Island. The first historical notice of its existence is found in a letter addressed by General Pigot, commander of the English forces, to Sir Henry Clinton, in which he says that “the guns of Beaver Tail and Dumpling are unserviceable, as the French fleet entering the harbor would cut off communication with Conanicut.” The date of this letter is 1778. The fort has been left for many years to the corroding wear and tear of the elements, but, while the interior works have been gradually destroyed, the outer walls remain as complete and firm as they ever were. As a means of defence it would be of little service in these days, however thoroughly it might be manned, for one of our modern shells dropped into the centre would blow the whole affair to fragments. Compared with Fort Adams, one of the largest and most completely equipped defences on our shores, which, with its massive walls and long rows of guns, frowns upon Dumpling from the opposite side of the bay, this little tower looks somewhat insignificant; but, as a picturesque ruin, it has its charms, and has become a favorite place of resort for pleasure-parties, who cook their fish and bake their clams on the spot that once resounded to the thunder of artillery. For a century the winds have beat upon the old fort; the Cross of St. George has waved over it; the French fleet swept round it as the vessels moved up to their winter-anchorage in the harbor; the Stripes and the Stars long ago supplanted the British ensign; it is more venerable than the Republic; and we trust that it will be left undisturbed for ages, as it is one of the few memorials in existence of our early history, and may do something to take away the reproach brought against us by our brethren over the sea that we have no ruins in the United States.

"Brenton's Cove."

“Brenton’s Cove.”

Brenton’s Cove is approached by a causeway leading to Fort Adams, and affords one of the finest views that can be obtained of Newport: “The tall and delicate spires of the churches cut sharp against the blue sky; the public buildings stand out in noble relief; and the line of houses, as they rise one above another on the hill-side, is broken by open grounds and clusters of shade-trees. Each spot on which the eye may chance to rest recalls some event that happened there in earlier times.” Looking out from this cove, you might once have seen poor Burgoyne sailing for England after his sad defeat; Cook‘s famous ship Endeavor was condemned, dismantled, and left to decay upon these shores; the Macedonian, prize of the frigate United States, was brought to anchor here; the British fleet, under Lord Howe, and the French fleet, under D’Estaing, both sailed by this rocky cove, one bringing misery and the other joy to the hearts of the old inhabitants of Rhode Island.

Taking the road leading west, we pass what remains of the house built by Governor William Brenton, through grounds that were in his day “adorned with rare and costly plants, gravel-walks, groves and bowers, and all that wealth and a refined taste could furnish,” until we come upon the southern shore, where Brenton’s Reef stretches for a mile or more into the sea.

In the picture all is placid and serene; but, when the breakers dash upon that fatal reef, and the strong waves whiten its jagged ridge, it is a place of terror. Many a vessel has been wrecked there; and the mouldering gravestones along the edge of the ocean show where the bodies of the drowned sailors were once buried. Why they should have been deposited there, where the winds and the waves sound a perpetual dirge, and the spray of the ocean always dampens the sods which cover them, instead of being taken to some rural ground, where the birds sing and flowers bloom, we do not know. No doubt they were buried by the hands of strangers, and perhaps, after all, this was the most fitting place for their bodies to rest; and many a solemn thought has been suggested by these humble memorial-stones to the gay crowds who drive by, as the summer sun is sinking in the horizon.

"The Spouting Cave." This video by a group of brave (or foolhardy) young men shows that Spouting Cave still exists.

“The Spouting Cave.” This video by a group of brave (or foolhardy) young men shows that Spouting Cave still exists.

Following the southern shore, we next come to what is known as the Spouting-Rock. After a southeasterly storm, the apparatus is in working-order; and, during the “season,” multitudes assemble there to see the intermittent fountain play. The construction of the opening beneath is such that, when it is nearly filled and a heavy wave comes rolling in, the pent-up waters can find relief only by discharging themselves through a sort of funnel into the air. It is, however, a somewhat treacherous operator: for a long time there may be no spouting done; and, even when the waves roll in from the right quarter, it is not easy to tell just when the horn intends to blow. If the interesting couple depicted in our sketch remain standing much longer where they are, before they know it the fountain may spout up some forty or fifty feet, and they will go home with drenched clothes and a wet skin. But the ocean-view is, at this spot, so indescribably grand after a storm, that the temptation to linger as near the edge of the rocks as possible is almost irresistible, and we have seen many a gay company pay the watery penalty.

"Purgatory." The proportions in this engraving are very much exaggerated.

“Purgatory.” The proportions in this engraving are very much exaggerated.

Beyond the bathing-beach, where hundreds of fashionable people may be seen dashing about in the waves on every pleasant day, rise the precipitous rocks, with the deep and sharp-lined fissure, known as “The Purgatory.” How it ever came to be called by this singular name, tradition does not inform us. A little beyond this chasm, there is a pleasant spot, shaded by trees, and commanding a beautiful view, which is known as “Paradise“—so that, when a stranger in that region asks the way, he is likely to be told that he must pass by Purgatory to Paradise.

The opening in the cliff extends one hundred and sixty feet, and is fifty feet deep at the outer edge. It is from eight to fourteen feet wide at the top, and from two to twenty at the bottom. It was once supposed that the water at the base was unfathomable; but at low tide it is actually not more than ten feet in depth.

It was formerly the prevailing theory that this fissure was occasioned by it sudden upheaving of the rock; but, after careful examination, Professor Silliman came to the opinion that it was probably formed by the gradual eating away of the softer portions of the stone at a very early period.

Like most places of the kind, Purgatory has its legends.

Some little time after the settlement of the country by the whites, an Indian woman murdered one of the colonists, in revenge for certain wrongs inflicted upon her people. Walking, one day, near Purgatory, she was accosted by a person, appearing to be a well-dressed Englishman, who proposed to fight with her. The stout squaw was not unwilling to accept the challenge, and in the struggle she was gradually dragged toward the edge of the chasm, when her opponent seized her in his arms, and leaped into the abyss. At this moment the cloven foot appeared, his goodly garments fell off, and he was revealed in his true Satanic personality. Why the devil should have felt himself called upon to interfere in this way to punish the woman for the wrong that she had done to the English settlers, does not appear; but, as the print of his feet and marks of blood are still visible on the stones, it is not for us to gainsay the story. At any rate, it is easy to see that such a belief on the part of the Indians might have tended to promote general security.

"Distant View of Purgatory."

“Distant View of Purgatory.”

Another legend pertaining to this spot is not quite so tragical, and perhaps can be better authenticated. A beautiful but giddy girl, heiress to a large estate, had for some time received special attentions from a young man, in all respects her equal, and whose affection, notwithstanding appearances to the contrary, she warmly reciprocated in her heart. But the passion for coquetry was so strong with her, that she could never resist the temptation to torment her admirer; and, one day, as they stood together on the brink of Purgatory, and he was pleading, with impassioned eloquence, for some pledge or token of love from her, she said, “I will be your wife if you will show the earnestness of your devotion to me, and your readiness to obey all my wishes, by leaping across this abyss.” Without a moment’s hesitation, the young man sprang to the other side of the rock, and then, politely lifting his hat, he complimented the beautiful girl upon her charms, told her candidly what he thought of her character, bade her final adieu, and she saw his face no more. After this, as the tale runs, she went mourning all her days.

It is not to be presumed that this is the scene which our artist intended to portray in his sketch; for, although the young damsel seen there is coquettish enough in her appearance for almost any thing unreasonable, the aspect of her companion is certainly not very suggestive of foolhardy courage—to say nothing of the absolute impossibility of his being able to leap the opening at the point which this interesting couple occupy.

"Berkeley's Seat," also known as Paradise Rocks or Hanging Rock.

“Berkeley’s Seat,” also known as Paradise Rocks or Hanging Rock.

“Berkeley’s Seat” is in Paradise, within easy walking-distance of the house which he built and occupied nearly a century and a half ago. Out of regard to the memory of Charles I., to whom he was indebted for certain favors, he called his place Whitehall, one of the palaces occupied by the king. It is still standing, and in good repair. There is the room which he occupied as a study, with its tiled fire-jambs, and low ceiling, and undulating floor, and the little chamber where he slept; and it is pleasant to think that, in the sunny court-yard adjoining, he once walked—perhaps discussing with his friends the state policy of Walpole, or the probable future of the new Western land, “whither the course of empire” had already begun “to take its way,” or the medical virtues of tar-water, or it may be some of the profounder problems of the soul which occupied his thoughts. When the weather was favorable, he betook himself to the sheltered opening in Paradise Rocks, which is now consecrated by his name. This he is said to have fitted up with chairs and a table; and tradition says that it was in this rocky cave he wrote his “Minute Philosopher.” With the broad expanse of ocean before him, and its monotonous roll sounding in his ear, it may be that he was able to give his thoughts a wider range, and fix them more intently upon the subtile questions which he was so fond of contemplating, than was possible in the pent-up little room where he kept his books; and it may have been easier for him to bring his mind to the conclusion that there is nothing in the universe but soul and force—no organic substance, no gross matter, nothing but phenomena and relations and impressions—than it would be if he were shut in by doors and walls, and nearer to his kitchen.

This portion of the island does not lie within the boundaries of the city of Newport, having been set off, many years ago, in order to avoid the taxes, and is now known as Middletown. It was, however, the Newport of Berkeley, chosen by him as a residence because of its superior fertility as well as natural beauty, for the good dean was something of a farmer as well as metaphysician. This southeastern shore has heretofore been little resorted to by strangers, and few persons have as yet made it their summer residence; but the recent opening of new roads leading directly to the town, and the construction of broad avenues which intersect the whole region, and which will soon be lined with shade-trees, must, before long, transform the scene, and make this a favorite resort for visitors. Here are three miles of drive over a rich and luxuriant sward, that does not require an inch of grading, bending down toward a shore diversified by picturesque rocks and groves and sandy beaches, where you look out toward the southeast on the broad ocean, and northward upon the interior country—a combination of attractions found perhaps nowhere else upon our coast, and which, in process of time, will lead multitudes, who desire retirement and quiet, with all the pure delights that come of a salubrious atmosphere and beautiful scenery, to build their houses and plant their gardens here.

In the following strains Mr. Longfellow tells how “the Viking old” found his way from “the wild Baltic’s strand” to our strange shores, and built here “the lofty tower” by the sea, commonly known as “the old stone-mill:”

“Three weeks we westward bore,
And, when the storm was o’er,
Cloud-like we saw the shore
Stretching to leeward;
There for my lady’s bower
Built I the lofty tower,
Which, to this very hour,
Stands looking seaward.”

"Commodore Perry's Statue and the 'Old Mill'."

“Commodore Perry’s Statue and the ‘Old Mill’.”

We wish that we could believe in our having so respectable a piece of antiquity in Rhode Island. Inasmuch as this interesting and unique structure dates back to the prehistoric times of the colony, no record of its construction being in existence, and, still further, as it has a close resemblance to certain edifices still existing in Northern Europe, many have been willing to accept the tradition that it must be of Danish origin. One theory is, that this old ruin was originally an appendage to a temple, and used for religious offices, as a baptistery. Others suppose that it was erected as a tower of defence, and that, after the walls had crumbled until they were reduced to their present height, a wooden mill was erected on the summit.

The first authentic notice of the edifice is found in the will of a Mr. Benedict Arnold, dated 1677, in which he bequeaths his “stone-built windmill” to his heirs. About the middle of the last century it was surmounted by a circular roof; and one of the old inhabitants, in a deposition signed in 1734, says, “It is even remembered that, when the change of wind required that the wings, with the top, should be turned round, it took a yoke of oxen to do it.” There is abundant tradition to show that it has been used for various purposes; and a hundred and fifty years ago it was known as the Powder-Mill—the boys, as late as 1764, sometimes finding powder in the crevices; and, at a later period, it was used as a hay-mow. It is somewhat singular that such a substantial and peculiar structure should have been erected simply as a windmill, but this may be explained by the facts that the first wooden mill was blown down in a great storm that occurred in 1675; that Governor Arnold was unpopular with the Indians, and would be likely to build a mill that would withstand both storm and fire, and look like a fort at least; and, still further, he may have seen old mills in England of the same style—there being an engraving in the Penny Magazine, of 1836, of one near Leamington, which is the very counterpart of the Newport mill. The various traditions connected with this old relic impart to it a special interest; and, unless it is upheaved by the earthquake or demolished by lightning, it is likely to stand for many generations.

At a little distance from the old Stone Mill, on the easterly side of the public square, stands the statue of Commodore Matthew Calbraith Perry, erected by his son-in-law, Mr. Belmont. The material is bronze; and the accurate proportions, the graceful attitude, the well-disposed drapery, and the speaking likeness, combine to give this statue a high place among our works of art. It would be well if Mr. Belmont’s example should be followed by other wealthy citizens of our republic.

We have now glanced at Newport as it was a hundred years ago, as it was fifty years ago, and as it is to-day. What will be its appearance fifty years hence? The streets of the older part of the town may continue to be as narrow as ever; and, unless a wide-spread conflagration should sweep them away, the ancient wooden houses may crowd upon the gutters, as they have always done; the venerable stone-mill will stand in its place, a monument of the prehistoric ages of Newport; Trinity Church, we trust, will be undisturbed, whether the congregation abide by its courts or not; the Jewish Synagogue is secured from ruin by a perpetual endowment; the port-holes of Fort Adams may still show their iron teeth, unless, indeed, the advance of military science should have made all such stone fortresses unserviceable, or the universal dominion of the doctrines of peace—which God, in his mercy, grant!—have swept them all away.

The natural features of the region will remain unchanged; the same rocks will frown upon the sea; the same purple haze rest at eventide upon the land-locked harbor; the same veil of ocean-mist temper the brightness of the noontide sun, and tide rise and fall on the sandy beach with the same rhythmical flare; the storm thunder with the same loud turbulence; but, meanwhile, what changes will the hand of man have wrought? Within the last twenty years miles upon miles of barren pasture have been converted into lawns and gardens and verdant groves; millions have been expended in the erection of beautiful villas and stately palaces; the tide of population has set in like a flood; and such are the peculiar advantages which Nature has bestowed upon this lovely spot, that no caprice of fashion can ever turn back or arrest the flow of its prosperity. Regions now unoccupied will soon be covered with habitations; the summer population will spread itself all over the southern portion of the island, from east to west, and then crowd back into the interior, until the whole area from south to north is made a garden of beauty. Newport will never again become a busy mart of traffic; its ancient commerce will never return there; the manufactures which have made “the Providence Plantations” so rich will never flourish in “the Isle of Peace,” for the soft and somewhat enervating climate is not conducive to enterprise and activity; but those who need relief from the high-strung excitement of American life, the merchant who wants rest from his cares, statesmen and writers who would give their brains repose, will find it here. The men of our land, above all others, require some such place of resort, to allay the feverish activity of their lives—a place where they may come together periodically, not for debate, and controversy, and labor, and traffic, but for pleasant talk, and rational recreation, and chastened conviviality. They need to dwell where, for a part of the year, they can see the sun rise and set, and scent the flowers, and look out upon the waters. This green island seems to have been made by a kind Providence for such uses as these, where men may forget their cares and cease from their toils, and behold the wondrous works of God, and give him thanks.

* * * * *

Return to Quahog.org |

Old Stone Bank History of Rhode Island: At the Point of the Candlestick   Leave a comment

Small victory.
by John Williams Haley

[This article comes from The Old Stone Bank History of Rhode Island, Vol. II, pages 99-100, published by the Providence Institution for Savings, 1931. It was also included in an undated pamphlet titled “King Philip and Other Stories,” published by the same institution. Transcribed by Christopher Martin.]

* * * * *

at the point of a candlestick-01b

It was May [1778] in Rhode Island, the first spring after the dreadful winter of ice and snow and suffering at Valley Forge.

Three long years had the men of Warren, Rhode Island, watched and planned against and fought the foe, and three long years had the Warren women knitted and sewed and deprived themselves that the hardships of the Continental soldiers might be lessened.

A month before, the French alliance had been signed, and many believed that, because of this, the war would be over, but the wiser ones knew that the end was still far off.

In 1776, there were only 1,005 inhabitants, including slaves, in the town of Warren, and with the departure of volunteers to join Washington’s army, but a very small fighting force remained. However, the few men that were still available planned an expedition against the British forces in Rhode Island. They had built seventy whale-boats, and these, together with the reconditioned row-galley Washington, lay in the Kickemuit River in readiness for the attack upon the British stronghold. In addition to the boats, a great supply of tar, pitch and powder was available for use in the bold exploit.

They believed that the expedition would succeed, for the utmost secrecy had been preserved. True, everyone in Warren knew of the idea—even Mr. Holland, the Englishman. But everyone in town was known to be loyal. And Mr. Holland was loyal—he was the schoolmaster and a trusted personage.

But someone transmitted the secret to General Pigot, the commander of the British forces in Rhode Island. There was a “Watch House” on a high bank of the Kickemuit River, yet for once it must have lacked a watchman, for on the 25th of May a body of troops which Pigot had despatched from Newport to Bristol marched on to Warren and took the town completely by surprise.

There were British soldiers and their cohorts, the Hessian mercenaries, five hundred strong in all. Under Lieutenant-Colonel [James] Campbell they at once began a systematic tour of destruction and pillage. The majority hurried to the Kickemuit River, where the patriots’ boats lay in readiness for the planned attack upon the British. These they burned, together with the Washington. Continuing their riotous invasion, they also burned the Baptist Church, the Baptist parsonage, and other buildings. And to make a good job of it, they blew up the powder house and burned all the stores of pitch and tar. Who could have betrayed the plans of the patriots? No one knows.

While the soldiers were preparing to burn the grist-mill, the miller cried, “Spare the mill, brothers!”

“Brothers?” repeated one of the soldiers. “Do you call us that? If we are your brothers, we shall do you a favor and take you out of this nest of rebels.” Accordingly he signaled to his comrades and the miller was taken away as a prisoner. Perhaps the miller was the traitor.

However, it is more than likely that Mr. Holland was not as loyal as his fellow townsmen had believed. When the British soldiers were leaving the town, they stopped and cheered loudly when they reached his house. He immediately came out and joined them, and with them disappeared from Warren forever.

The British retreat was a brilliant one. Colonel Campbell feared that other counties might come to Warren’s aid, yet he wanted to leave a last touch of British pomp with the despoiled patriots. Heading the line were the prisoners with their guards. Behind them marched the Hessians, wearing great boots and huge fur caps, the boots filled with plunder of every description. Following were the British in their scarlet coats, their gold lace, their three-cornered hats, and their small-clothes and buckled shoes. Last of all marched Colonel Campbell. Drums were beating, flags were flying, and it was a very gay affair.

But the Colonel was not last, for far behind straggled a diminutive drummer. His drum was very large, he was very tired, and he was very full, not of the clear water from the spring of Massasoit, but of good West India rum. As he passed in front of the hotel with faltering steps, a group of women, among them a young girl named Nellie Easterbrooks, noticed him. These women were excited and worked up to the last pitch of anger because of the brutal treatment they had been forced to undergo from the insolent invaders. All sorts of outrages had been committed by the Hessians and British while they were accumulating plunder, including one instance where a group of bullies forced a woman to hand over all her best china while they deliberately broke it piece by piece. Nellie Easterbrooks had been listening to the stories told by these women. She was a small girl, but she had a fierce impetuosity backed up by daring.

The drummer might have gotten by safely had Nellie not seen him. She sprang up, stirring the group of women to action. “Let’s take that man!” she cried. Running inside the hotel, she seized a tall brass candlestick and rushed with it into the street. In a wild burst of anger, the other women followed her.

She pointed the candlestick, glistening in the sun, full at the drummer and commanded him to halt. White with fear, the man threw up his hands, crying, “Don’t fire, ladies, I surrender!”

Women wore aprons in those days, and everyone of those present tore hers to strips and bound him with them. Then they dragged their bewildered captive into the hotel and locked him into a closet there.

It is said that he was very glad to be captured, for his drum was getting extremely heavy and he was having great difficulty in maintaining a soldierly bearing. One story has it that he was later exchanged for an American prisoner, while another has it that he remained in Warren and married one of the women there. If he did marry a Warren girl, it was surely not Nellie Easterbrooks. She married one Nathaniel Hicks West of Bristol, who was a true patriot and not a subject of King George.

Return to Old Stone Bank History of Rhode Island index.

* * * * *

John Williams Haley (1897-1963), former vice president of the Narragansett Brewing Company, was best known for his weekly radio program, “The Rhode Island Historian,” which ran from 1927 to about 1953 on WJAR. Several hundred of his radio scripts were published in pamphlet form by the Providence Institute for Savings (“The Old Stone Bank”), and many were later reprinted in the four-volume Old Stone Bank History of Rhode Island.

* * * * *

Editor’s Notes

THIS TABLET PLACED BESIDE THE GUSHING WATERS KNOWN FOR MANY GENERATIONS AS MASSASOIT'S SPRING COMMEMORATES THE GREAT INDIAN SACHEM MASSASOIT "FRIEND OF THE WHITE MAN" RULER OF THIS REGION WHEN THE PILGRIMS OF THE MAYFLOWER LANDED AT PLYMOUTH IN THE YEAR OF OUR LORD 1620

THIS TABLET
PLACED BESIDE THE GUSHING WATERS
KNOWN FOR MANY GENERATIONS AS
MASSASOIT’S SPRING
COMMEMORATES THE GREAT
INDIAN SACHEM MASSASOIT
“FRIEND OF THE WHITE MAN”
RULER OF THIS REGION WHEN THE
PILGRIMS OF THE MAYFLOWER
LANDED AT PLYMOUTH
IN THE YEAR OF OUR LORD 1620

Small-clothes: A euphemism for knee breeches, or pants.

The “spring of Massasoit” was located at what is now the end of Baker Street in Warren. The spring has been dry since 1900 or so, but a stone with a plaque still marks the spot around which the Wampanoag village of Sowams once stood.

Nellie Easterbrooks West’s patriotism was commemorated when a Warren chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution was organized in her name in 1920.

Return to Old Stone Bank History of Rhode Island index |

Old Stone Bank History of Rhode Island: The Arcade   Leave a comment

Loved, boasted of and admired.
by John Williams Haley

This article comes from The Old Stone Bank History of Rhode Island, Vol. I, pages 80-81, published by the Providence Institution for Savings, 1929. Transcribed by Christopher Martin.


The Arcade circa 1900. Postcard courtesy of Louis McGowan.

The Arcade circa 1900. Postcard courtesy of Louis McGowan.

THE city of Providence as we know it today, presents an interesting study in contrasts. In the very midst of historic sites that still seem to breathe the air of centuries gone by, rise towering structures of steel and stone that majestically dwarf their humble but honored companions. Everywhere about the city the rat-tat of riveting gun and the shrill whistle of a steam-shovel remind us that a continual transformation is taking place. A modern and magnificent Court House rises just south of College Hill, completely overshadowing that row of picturesque old buildings along South Main Street, places rich in the heritage of Rhode Island history, where some of the great industries of this community had their birth. There is one century-old building that seems to withstand the ruthless hand of time. Located in the very heart of the business district of the city, the Arcade seems to keep up with the times, and justify its existence almost at the very foot of giant sky-scrapers.

Years ago the Arcade was the show-place of Providence—loved by the children, boasted of by the citizens, and admired by strangers. At the time of its erection over one hundred years ago, there was scarcely a shop or business place of any kind in its vicinity on Westminster Street. The business section of the town was then on South Water Street and North and South Main Streets, and was known as Cheapside. The Arcade is said to have been inspired by the Madaleine of Napoleon in Paris, and at the time it was built several others were erected in this country. The Providence Arcade is said to be the only one remaining. It is built entirely of granite, and runs from Westminster to Weybosset Streets.

Each of the columns weighs thirteen tons, and, with the exception of those in the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, they are the largest in America. It is still boasted that one of them was blasted out of the Bear Rock Ledge on the borders of the town of Johnston, and completed by the work-men in thirty days. James Olney agreed to haul the monoliths to Providence, and, after constructing a special low gear, and strengthening the bridge at Olneyville, he guided fifteen yoke of oxen, drawing their burden of twelve tons, through the woods. One column was broken in the moving, and after replacing it and getting the twelve others in place, the contractor announced that he was practically ruined. The broken column now stands on the Field lot in the old North Burying Ground.

When six of these pillars had been left near the Weybosset Street Bridge, the architects of the Arcade, Russell Warren and James Bucklin, assisted in placing them. Major Bucklin was in charge of the setting of each one. This task was completed in a single day. One man only was hurt when the building was constructed, and during the actual time the work was carried on, one man was killed. The Arcade cost $145,000. The east half was owned by Cyrus Butler, the west half, by the Arcade Corporation. Someone remarked at the time of its erection that “it was built on ground before then occupied by a nest of combustible sheds.” The news of the day referred to it as “a monument to the energy, good taste, skill and courage of its constructors, of which their descendants, and our city may well be proud.”

The Arcade interior, circa 1900. Postcard courtesy of Louis McGowan.

The Arcade interior, circa 1900. Postcard courtesy of Louis McGowan.

The fashionable folk of Providence were delighted with the fine things found in the Arcade displays—forerunners of the modern department stores—and a millinery shop most often visited was that of the “Three Sisters.” These sisters were devoted members of St. John’s Church, and greatly respected in Providence. The story is told of a member of that church who returned her bonnet to the milliners, asking that the bow on it be changed “to the congregation side,” as its beauty was wasted on a blank wall.

At the time of the September Gale the milliners were hastening with a brother, who was very ill, from their home on Mathewson and Weybosset Streets. The carriage in which they were taking him out of the reach of a rapidly rising tide was overturned, and it was with great difficulty that he was rescued from the water. A neighbor, on her return home after the flood had subsided, complained that her parlor rug was ruined with dead fish and slime, and that she found a “little dead swine” on the top of her piano.

The three sisters, as age was creeping on, sold their shop in the Arcade and moved to a rose-covered cottage in the country, where, familiarly called Aunt Ria and Aunt Patty, they were the fairy god-mothers of the community. Many a child climbed the haircloth sofa, examined the precious knick-knacks on the what-not, and sat in the comfortable living room, while marvellous [sic] doll’s clothes were designed from a never-failing supply of bright-colored silk scraps.

“Aunt Patty was very lame—a misstep on the stairs had caused this—so that she seldom went farther than her own garden. She was a dear, familiar figure to the villagers, seated on her little green wooden stool, weeding, or leaning on her cane to examine some new blossoms, while the winds played with her soft white curls, on either side of her sweet old face… Beneath the front steps dwelt a toad, which was very tame, and sat blinking in the sun while some child fed it with rosebugs… At last, growing too feeble to keep house longer, the beloved milliners moved again to town.”

So you see that when the historic landmarks of our city make way for modern progress and twentieth century ideas of beauty and efficiency, we gradually erase from our minds happy memories of some face, figure or event of the past. There is probably an interesting romance threaded in the true history of the old Arcade. Hundreds of business projects, thousands of clerks, and millions of eager shoppers have come and gone during the century of its existence.

Return to Old Stone Bank History of Rhode Island index.


John Williams Haley (1897-1963), former vice president of the Narragansett Brewing Company, was best known for his weekly radio program, “The Rhode Island Historian,” which ran from 1927 to about 1953 on WJAR. Several hundred of his radio scripts were published in pamphlet form by the Providence Institute for Savings (“The Old Stone Bank”), and many were later reprinted in the four-volume Old Stone Bank History of Rhode Island.


Editor’s Notes
More information on The Arcade can be found under Attractions.

An earlier, unattributed version of this article can be found in Old Providence: A Collection of Facts and Traditions relating to Various Buildings and Sites of Historic Interest in Providence, printed for The Merchants National Bank of Providence (1918). Portions of the second and third paragraphs also show up in The History of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Volume 3, by Thomas Williams Bicknell (1920).

Bear Rock Ledge quarry is located in the southeast quarter of the interchange of Route 295 and Putnam Pike (Route 44). It has been long abandoned and overgrown. According to Richard M. Bayles in his History of Providence County, Rhode Island, Volume 2 (1891), the site was later quarried by Emor J. Angell beginning in 1861, “and during the winter of 1867 and 1868 [he] quarried 6,000 feet of curbstone, from that locality alone.”

James Olney, described as both a farmer and a stone cutter, was born July 23, 1792, in Rhode Island, and died August 29, 1868, in Johnston. He is buried in Johnston cemetery #9.

The Fields Memorial, North Burial Ground, Providence. Photo by Quahog.org.

The Fields Memorial, North Burial Ground, Providence. Photo by Quahog.org.

The Field lot in the North Burial Ground is dominated by a monument made from the broken pillar. The monument consists of about a four- or five-foot section of the column, on its side, balanced atop a plinth. The monument is inscribed with the names of Field family members whose remains were moved to North Burial Ground from the family farm on Field’s Point in 1865.

James Champlin Bucklin was born July 26, 1801, died September 28, 1890. He is buried in Swan Point Cemetery, Providence. He was also the architect of Brown University’s Manning Hall (1833).

Cyrus Butler was born May 9, 1767, and died August 22, 1849. He is buried in North Burial Ground, Providence. He contributed much of the financing for Butler Hospital, which was named for him.

Return to Old Stone Bank History of Rhode Island index.

Images of Market House and Market Square, Providence, RI   1 comment

I put this page together as a reference for Sheila Lennon’s May 10, 2013 Time Lapse Blog post for the Providence Journal.

Click on any of the images to view full-size.

Market House circa 1881. From Picturesque Rhode Island by Wilfred H. Munro

Market House. From Picturesque Rhode Island by Wilfred H. Munro (1881).

A view of Market Square during the Great Gale of 1815. From Providence Planations for 250 Years by Welcome Arnold Greene (1886).

A view of Market Square during the Great Gale of 1815. From Providence Plantations for 250 Years by Welcome Arnold Greene (1886).

Market Square circa 1830. From Market Square Memento by Ctizens Bank (1954).

Market Square circa 1830. From Market Square Memento by Ctizens Bank (1954).

Market Square circa 1835. From Market Square Memento by Citizens Bank (1954)

Market Square circa 1835. From Market Square Memento by Citizens Bank (1954)

Market Square in 1844. From Providence Planations for 250 Years by Welcome Arnold Greene (1886).

Market Square in 1844. From Providence Plantations for 250 Years by Welcome Arnold Greene (1886).

Market House in the 1860s. From Old Stone Bank History of Rhode Island Vol. 4 (1944).

Market House in the 1860s. From Old Stone Bank History of Rhode Island Vol. 4 (1944).

Market House circa 1880. From a stereoview.

Market House circa 1880. From a stereoview.

Market Square circa 1886.  From Providence Plantations for 250 Years by Welcome Arnold Greene (1886).

Market Square circa 1886. From Providence Plantations for 250 Years by Welcome Arnold Greene (1886).

View toward the harbor from Market Square, circa 1886.  From Providence Plantations for 250 Years by Welcome Arnold Greene (1886).

View toward the harbor from Market Square, circa 1886. From Providence Plantations for 250 Years by Welcome Arnold Greene (1886).

View toward Westminster Street from Market Square, circa 1886.  From Providence Plantations for 250 Years by Welcome Arnold Greene (1886).

View toward Westminster Street from Market Square, circa 1886. From Providence Plantations for 250 Years by Welcome Arnold Greene (1886).

Market Square, circa 1890. Photo by P.H. Rose.

Market Square, circa 1890. Photo by P.H. Rose.

View from Market Square toward Westminster Steet, circa 1890. From Market Square Memento by Citizens Bank (1954).

View from Market Square toward Westminster Street, circa 1890. From Market Square Memento by Citizens Bank (1954).

Market Square circa 1898. From Providence Board of Trade Thirtieth Year (1898).
Market Square circa 1898. From Providence Board of Trade Thirtieth Year (1898).

Market House, circa 1898. From Providence Board of Trade Thirtieth Year (1898).

Market House, circa 1898. From Providence Board of Trade Thirtieth Year (1898).

Market House circa 1911. From Points of Historical Interest in the State of Rhode Island by the Rhode Island Department of Education (1911).

Market House circa 1911. From Points of Historical Interest in the State of Rhode Island by the Rhode Island Department of Education (1911).

Market House circa 1930. From The Book of Rhode Island by the Rhode Island State Bureau of Information (1930).

Market House circa 1930. From The Book of Rhode Island by the Rhode Island State Bureau of Information (1930).

View of Market Square from College Street, circa 1954. From Market Square Memento by Citizens Bank (1954).

View of Market Square from College Street, 1950. From Market Square Memento by Citizens Bank (1954).

Market Square. Postcard from the Collection of Louis McGowan.

Market Square. Postcard from the Collection of Louis McGowan.

Market Square. Postcard from the Collection of Louis McGowan.

Market Square. Postcard from the Collection of Louis McGowan.

Market Square. Postcard from the Collection of Louis McGowan.

Market Square. Postcard from the Collection of Louis McGowan.

Market Square. Postcard from the Collection of Quahog.org.

Market Square. Postcard from the Collection of Quahog.org.

Market House. Postcard from the Collection of Quahog.org.

Market House. Postcard from the Collection of Quahog.org.

Market Square. Postcard from the Collection of Quahog.org.

Market Square. Postcard from the Collection of Quahog.org.

Market House. Postcard from the Collection of Quahog.org.

Market House. Postcard from the Collection of Quahog.org.

Market House, December 29, 1999. Photo by Quahog.org.

Market House, December 29, 1999. Photo by Quahog.org.

Market House, July 18, 2011. Photo by Quahog.org.

Market House, July 18, 2011. Photo by Quahog.org.

Market House, December 3, 2011. Photo by Quahog.org.

Market House, December 3, 2011. Photo by Quahog.org.

Photo by Quahog.org.

Photo by Quahog.org.

Photo by Quahog.org.

Photo by Quahog.org.

Photo by Quahog.org.

Photo by Quahog.org.

Market House, December 29, 1999. Photo by Quahog.org.

Market House, December 29, 1999. Photo by Quahog.org.

Photo by Quahog.org.

Photo by Quahog.org.

Photo by Quahog.org.

Photo by Quahog.org.

9-11 Memorials   1 comment

Cut short the thread of life…

The attacks of September 11, 2001 are often compared to Pearl Harbor, but we’re unaware of any Pearl Harbor memorials in Rhode Island, while there are several 9-11 memorials. Here is a list of the ones we know of.

Block Island, North Lighthouse: Two granite benches. “IN MEMORY OF THOSE WHO PERISHED ON SEPTEMBER 11, 2001. We WILL NEVER FORGET.” “Sit AND ENJOY A FRIENDSHIP SHARED, A LAUGH, A KISS, FOR THESE ARE THE THINGS I DEARLY MISS. DEREK O. SWORD, NOVEMBER 30, 1972 – SEPTEMBER 11, 2001.”

Cranston, Waldron Avenue: Stone memorial. “This memorial is dedicated to the memory of Renee Newell, loving wife and mother, who lost her life in the tragedy of September 11th which claimed so many lives and wounded the soul of every American.” The back of the stone lists the other Rhode Islanders who lost their lives aboard the planes that hit the towers: Carol Marie Bouchard, Amy Jarret, Kathryn LaBourie and Shawn M. Nassaney.

East Providence, Freedom Green, intersection of North Broadway, Roger Williams Avenue and Centre Street: Pocket park, Dedicated November 11, 2002. In addition to quotes from Franklin D. Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy and George W. Bush, there’s a bench with a plaque “IN MEMORY OF THE TERRORIST ATTACKS ON AMERICA. VICTIM CAROL (DELLEFEMINE) BOUCHARD. WORLD TRADE CENTER — FLIGHT #11. 9-11-01, LEST WE NEVER FORGET.”

Providence, Waterplace Park: Wall of Hope, a permanent display of thousands of ceramic tiles painted by Rhode Islanders “of all ages, races, religions and cultures.” The installation was dedicated on September 11, 2002.

More tiles can be seen adorning the exterior wall of the Providence Journal garage at the corner of Sabin and West Exchange Streets.

Are you aware of any other 9-11 memorials in Rhode Island? Drop us a line at stuffie@quahog.org

Posted September 10, 2011 by stuffiex in Attractions, Facts & Folklore, Graves, History

Tagged with , , , ,