"We reserve the right to accept everybody!
"When it was built in 1774-1775, the current Meeting House represented a dramatic departure from the traditional Baptist meetinghouse style. It was the first Baptist meetinghouse to have a steeple and bell, making it more like Anglican and Congregational church buildings. The builders were part of a movement among Baptists in the urban centers of Boston, Newport, New York, and Philadelphia to bring respectability and recognition to Baptists. Central to that movement was the creation of an educated ministry and the founding of a college. The Philadelphia Baptist Association sent Dr. James Manning to Rhode Island to found Rhode Island College [later renamed Brown University] in 1764. Beginning in Warren, college then relocated to Providence in 1770. The college president, Manning was called to be the pastor of the Providence church in 1771, and during his ministry the Meeting House was erected "for the publick worship of Almighty God and also for holding commencement in." The Meeting House has continued to be the site for Brown University's commencements since 1776 even though the university dropped its Baptist identity and connections in the 1930s and 1940s."
The RI Historical Society can provide brochures for a self guided walking tour of the city or you can join one of their guided walks on summer evenings. My son and I enjoyed a simple sunny day walk wandering past a variety of wonderfully designed structures which bound the river on the east bank. You could walk any number of areas and enjoy stunning architecture and wonderful views throughout the east side, college hill area, near Brown University as well as many other interesting pockets throughout the city.
Our state court building is an enormous brick structure which is a beautiful work of fine architecture by Jackson. It overlooks part of our river walk. You pass buildings which are part of RISD as well as commercial, office, government and bank buildings. Brick sidewalks are plentiful.
A lot more is advertised within the city as opposed to those living outside rhode island and my four days was not enough. You may find this info in the hotel or if you go on one particular tour or visitor center.
For example they have walking tours where you sample food from various restaurants and sometimes the college holds cooking classes. Plus they seem to have a lot of events from time to time as well.
Favorite thing: I've mentioned previously that Roger Williams Park is a well loved 300+ acre park separating the city from the suburbs. Not only did the master landscape architect, Cleveland, create several man made lakes, fabulous focal points, and lazy winding curves through the park, but there is a stellar collection of trees planted there. Every variety is represented and today I took my camera to try and capture the blazing autumn color to share with my VT friends from around the world.
If someone were coming freshly to my city, I think the State House would be the single site we'd visit -- and if the day shaded into evening on a WaterFire night, that would allow us to add one of the signature entertainment activities, as well. Rhode Island's history of religious tolerance is important, and while there is obviously a disconnect in time and intent between Roger Williams' founding of the First Baptist Church and the construction of the Capitol, the Williams' principles found their way into the Rhode Island Constitution. Plus, I am just a junkie for state capitols -- well, pretty much for historical buildings of any sort -- and ours is really exemplary. If my visitor arrived during the winter, we might substitute skating at the Bank of America rink; it is vast, compared to Rockefeller Center's storied rink, and has no imposing sculpture of Atlas or towering Christmas tree to draw the crowds, but you can actually SKATE there (for a Midwestern girl raised on hockey, this is important), and the city looks beautiful around you, day and night.
Fondest memory: Getting old means that inevitably things you love either die or stop happening for one reason or another. People my age might recall fondly the smell of burning leaves in the fall -- a casualty of the Clean Air Act. That, or a fastidiousness about fire hazards, is also what put paid to what was my favorite thing done around here, and now, alas, just a memory: on the night before July 4, at myriad locations along the shore of Narragansett Bay, private citizens and municipalities would construct these huge signal fires, all of which were lit at dusk and then burned for hours. The engineering to make a pile of wood twenty or thirty feet high must have been tricky, but the resulting conflagration was completely satisfactory in an atavistic kind of way -- you could picture Druids dancing (or just watch the intoxicated young people doing substantially the same thing) and the sigh as the pyre collapsed inward -- the fire's sigh, and your own collective exhalation of breath -- was a kind of benediction to the national holiday. Oh, how I miss those bonfires!
Yes, it's not in the "Must See" category. There is a good reason why. By far the worst state capitol building I have ever seen!! The capitol grounds were covered in trash, the hedges were overegrown, and there was gang graffiti on one side of the building! The inside of the house and senate chambers are the only things worth seeing. The desks are antique and very beautiful. The first Rhode Island Quarter minted is on display there as well. Unfortunately, at the time, I didn't want to take a picture, but now I wish I had to let you see how nasty it really looks. The capitol building itself would look very pretty if it were cleaned up a bit.
Fondest memory: It was trashy. I'ts sad too because it looks like it could be a VERY beautiful building. Get rid of the trash and gang graffiti all over the place, and it will be spectacular.
Favorite thing: A view of East side, close to Brown University. It was very overcast and spitting with rain when I took this photo. The building on the left is the University Book Store, where Mary won a pair of socks in a free raffle! We went in there for Post Cards, but found them to ve a little expensive, and not a particularly good selection. Just over the road was a small gift and sweet store, where we found just what we were looking for, and at a better price too.
Here is a view of the white marble staricase, leading to the official State Rooms.
In December 1900, the Secretary of State and his staff were the first to occupy the new offices. Early in 1901, other state officers and the General Assembly followed. On June 11, 1904 the new capitol building, terrace, approaches and grounds were officially turned over to the state by the architects and builders. The building, power house, connecting tunnel, furnishings and decorations cost in excess of three million Dollars, an astronomical figure for that day. Today's replacement value has been estimated in excess of twenty-five Million Dollars!
Favorite thing: Visitors are welcome to enter the Capitol Building, and there is no entrance fee, unlike many public buildings in the United Kingdom. do chose your viewing time carefully, though. We arrived during a wedding ceremony, and only had time for a very quick look around, before the next wedding ceremony was to take place. The security guard was most helpful.
Construction of Rhode Island's new Capitol Building started on 16th September, 1895. Approximately 327,000 cubic feet of white Georgia marble, 1,309 tons of iron floor beams and 15,000,000 bricks were used in its construction.
the Building boasts the second largest of the four famous unsupported marble domes in the world - the others being St. Peter's in Rome, the Taj Mahal in India and the Minnesota State Capitol. Standing atop the dome, 235 feet above the terrace, and 313 feet above mean high water mark, is the statue of the Independent Man. The building is 333 feet long and is 180 feet wide through the central vestibule section.
Providence´s old district courthouse. You should see it.
Fondest memory: Getting up early in the morning around 6.30 am, and talking a walk around town. The sun was rising and it was freezing cold with blue skies. I walked through the historic district and across the Brown University campus. Then I took a rest on a bench at the river close to downtown - and watched the city waking up. The start of a great day...
While walking around the downtown core, I noticed that the biggest thing about Providence is renewal. Whole sections of downtown has been completely rebuilt in the past few years. The most noticeable site is the Providence Place Mall.
This mall is fully self contained and is very accessible to everything - in Providence, all roads led to the mall....
Go to Federal Hill for a taste of Italy. Federal Hill is full of Italian restaurants and delis. I really liked that. I ended up eating at an Oyster Bar Restaurant on Federal Hill. *Excellent* food, and a nice, professional waiter. You may want to take the Trolly up to Federal Hill. Traffic & parking can be a nightmare there.
Fondest memory: My fondest memory of Providence are the nice friends I made there, and the good weather. Compared to where I grew up, Providence was nearly balmy all the time!
Favorite thing: Pick up a copy of The Phoenix newspaper. This paper will give you listings of things to do and what events are happening that week. There are lots of things to do in Providence if you let whatever happen, happen...
Providence is a beautiful city. I have lived here all my life. When you are here you MUST have dinner at one of the many Italian restaurants on Historic Federal Hill. You can also shop all day at the new Providence Place Mall (a 16 screen Hyots cinema and IMAX cinema will be opening in April),go ice skating or rollar blading at the new Fleet Skating rink,take a walk through beautiful Water Place Park, take in a Broadway show at the Providence Performing Arts Center, visit the Brown University area (a.k.a. 'College Hill') for eclectic shops, cafes, restaurants and cinemas. There is so much to do in this wonderful, cultural city.
Fondest memory: My last fond 'touristy' memory is my last visit to Providence Place Mall. I went to Dave & Buster's. For those of you who have never been to a Dave & Buster's---you have to experience it. It is an 'adult playground'!!. It is a restaurant, bar and entertainment complex. They have all the latest video games, excellent food, loud music and a friendly staff! It was great.