Providence Architecture Tour (Self Guided), Providence

Providence is a beautiful city that was founded on the banks of the Providence River in 1636 by Roger Williams. The combination of old and new architecture makes for a fascinating cityscape. Take this tour to enjoy some of Providence's architectural landmarks.
How it works: Download the app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play to your mobile phone or tablet. The app turns your mobile device into a personal tour guide and its built-in GPS navigation functions guide you from one tour stop to next. The app works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

Download The GPSmyCity App

Download 'GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities' app for IOS   Download 'GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities' app for Android

Providence Architecture Tour Map

Guide Name: Providence Architecture Tour
Guide Location: USA » Providence (See other walking tours in Providence)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 8
Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.3 Km or 0.8 Miles
Author: alice
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Old State House
  • Fleur-de-Lis Studios
  • Providence County Courthouse
  • Old Stone Bank
  • Providence Athenaeum
  • John Hay Library
  • Brown University
  • John Carter Brown Library
Old State House

1) Old State House

The Old State House on College Hill, known also as Providence Sixth District Court House, is located on 150 Benefit Street. It is a brick Georgian-style building completed largely in 1762. It was used as the meeting place for the colonial and state legislatures for 149 years.

From colonial times to the mid-19th century, the Rhode Island General Assembly rotated meetings between the state's five county court houses, and five former Rhode Island state houses survive nowadays. In 1760 The General Assembly built the Old State House to replace an earlier wooden courthouse built 1730 on Meeting Street. It was largely finished by 1762 with some details being completed by 1771. Many of the Georgian architecture details were borrowed from the larger and more ornate Newport Colony House. Before 19th century alterations to the Providence State House, the two buildings resembled one another greatly. In the 19th century the large center-front tower was added. After 1853 the state legislature ceased meeting at Kent, Washington and Bristol county courthouses, but continued to alternate its sessions between here and the Newport State House in Newport into the early 20th century.At the Old State House on May 4, 1776, the General Assembly declared its independence renouncing its allegiance to the British crown, and the date is now celebrated as Rhode Island Independence Day. Debates about slavery occurred in the building in the late 18th century. George Washington visited the building in 1781 and 1790.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Fleur-de-Lis Studios

2) Fleur-de-Lis Studios

Fleur-de-Lis Studios, also known as the Sydney Burleigh Studio, is a National Historic Landmark. It was designed in 1885 by painter Sydney R. Burleigh and architect Edmund R. Willson. It now houses the Providence Art Club, which is believed to be the second oldest art club in the U.S. The house is a fine example of the American Arts & Crafts Movement.
Providence County Courthouse

3) Providence County Courthouse

The Providence County Courthouse, or Licht Judicial Complex, is a Georgian-styled building in the College Hill neighborhood of Providence. At a height of 216 ft (66 m), it is the 11th-tallest building in the city.

Architectural historian McKenzie Woodward lauds the building for its contextualism, which defers in its design to the buildings surrounding. Woodward also commends the fragmentation of the building's large mass into "visually digestible units". The Rhode Island Supreme Court and Providence Superior County Court are located within the building.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Old Stone Bank

4) Old Stone Bank

Old Stone Bank's most prominent feature is its amazing golden dome. The bank was built in 1854 in the Greek Revival style by C.J. and J.R. Hall. It originally housed a bank, but today Brown University uses the building as a venue for art exhibitions and events. The Old Stone Bank is one of the few buildings in Providence that has remained virtually unchanged from its original state.
Providence Athenaeum

5) Providence Athenaeum (must see)

The Providence Athenaeum, founded in 1753, is the fourth oldest subscription library in the United States. In 1753 a group of private citizens started The Providence Library Company to gain access to a collection of books that they could not afford individually. Members paid a small subscription fee to the library to purchase books which all members could share. Stephen Hopkins, signatory of the Declaration of Independence, was a leading member of the early organization. Many of the early books had to be purchased from England.

In 1758, a fire destroyed the first collection of books, which were then housed at the Providence court house. Shortly after Brown University moved to Providence in 1770, the library offered students the use of its books. In 1836 the Providence Library Company merged with the Providence Atheneum (founded in 1831), and the merged organization became known as the Providence Athenaeum. In 1838 a new Greek Revival building was completed on Benefit Street by the Philadelphia architect, William Strickland.

Operation hours: Monday to Thursday: 9 am - 7 pm; Friday: 9 am - 5 pm; Saturday: 9 am - 1 pm.
Sight description based on wikipedia
John Hay Library

6) John Hay Library (must see)

The John Hay Library is the second oldest library on the campus of Brown University in Providence. Located on Prospect Street, opposite the Van Wickle Gates, it replaced the outgrown former library, now Robinson Hall, as the main library on the campus. Today, the John Hay Library is one of five individual libraries that make up the University Library. The Hay houses the University Library's rare books and manuscripts, the University Archives, and the Library's special collections.

The John Hay Library opened in November 1910, serving from that time until 1964 as the main library of the University. It was designed in the English Renaissance style by the eminent Boston architectural firm of Shepley Rutan & Coolidge. The Library is named for John Hay, class of 1858, who served as Abraham Lincoln’s private secretary during the Civil War and later became Secretary of State. His papers and personal library form part of the collections at the John Hay.

The library was named for John Hay (Class of 1858), the private secretary and assistant to Abraham Lincoln, at the request of Andrew Carnegie, who contributed half of the $300,000 cost of the building. It was constructed to a design by the Boston architectural firm of Shepley Rutan & Coolidge with Vermont white marble in an English Renaissance style. The library was dedicated on November 10, 1910 and had an estimated collection of 300,000 volumes.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Brown University

7) Brown University (must see)

Brown University is a private, Ivy League university located in Providence. Founded in 1764 prior to American independence from the British Empire as the College in the English Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations early in the reign of King George III (1760–1820), Brown is the third oldest institution of higher education in New England and seventh oldest in the United States. Brown was the first college in the nation to accept students regardless of religious affiliation.

Brown's main campus is located atop College Hill, in the East Side, across the Providence River from downtown Providence. This is the where the University was relocated in 1770 after it was first established in Warren, Rhode Island, in 1764. The main campus consists of 235 buildings and covers 143 acres (0.58 km2). A salient feature of Brown's campus is that many of the academic departments reside in smaller, Victorian-era houses that the University has acquired over the years from the surrounding neighborhood.

Adjacent to Brown's main campus, and further down the Hill to the west by the Providence River, is the campus of the Rhode Island School of Design. Thayer Street, which runs through Brown's campus, is a commercial district that hosts many restaurants and shops popular with students and faculty from Brown and RISD.
Sight description based on wikipedia
John Carter Brown Library

8) John Carter Brown Library

The John Carter Brown Library, founded in 1846, is administered separately from the Brown University, but has been located on the Main Green of the campus since 1904. It is generally regarded as the world's leading collection of primary historical sources pertaining to the Americas before 1825. It houses a very large percentage of the titles published before that date about the discovery, settlement, history, and natural history of the New World.

The "JCB", as it is known, publishes Bibliotheca Americana, the main bibliography in the field. Typical of its noteworthy holdings is the best preserved of the seven surviving copies of Bay Psalm Book, the first extant book printed in British North America. There is also a very fine Shakespeare First Folio, added to the collection by John Carter Brown's widow (a Shakespeare enthusiast) on the grounds that it includes The Tempest, a play set in the New World.

The JCB holdings comprise more than 50,000 early titles and about 16,000 modern books, as well as prints, manuscripts, maps, and other items in the library's specialty. The library occupies a Beaux-Arts style building designed by Shepley, Rutan, and Coolidge. The 1904 edifice was expanded in 1990 by architects Hartman-Cox of Washington, D.C.

Opening hours: Monday to Friday: 9am - 5 pm, Thursday: until 7:00.
Sight description based on wikipedia

Walking Tours in Providence, Rhode Island

Create Your Own Walk in Providence

Create Your Own Walk in Providence

Creating your own self-guided walk in Providence is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Providence Art Galleries Tour, Part 2

Providence Art Galleries Tour, Part 2

Providence is nicknamed "the creative capital” in part because of its amazing array of art galleries and studios. Art lovers will be stunned by the quality and variety of work on display. Take this tour to visit some of Providence's most popular galleries.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.4 Km or 2.1 Miles
Providence Shopping Tour

Providence Shopping Tour

Providence is a great destination for those who enjoy shopping. The city was once the capital of industry in the U.S., and today it is considered the country's “creative capital”. Take the following tour to visit some of Providence's most popular art galleries, antique stores, jewelry stores and other notable shops.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.6 Km or 1.6 Miles
Providence Landmarks Tour

Providence Landmarks Tour

Providence is a beautiful city located on the banks of the Providence River, nearly as old as the United States themselves. It has many interesting historic and architectural landmarks. Take this tour to visit some of Providence's most notable sights.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.7 Km or 2.3 Miles
Providence Introduction Walking Tour

Providence Introduction Walking Tour

Providence, the capital of Rhode Island, is one of the state's oldest and most beautiful cities whose new architecture blends harmoniously with historic buildings, e.g. in places like College Hill, where Gothic and Georgian styles create a fascinating mix of colors and shapes. The city is a home to Brown University and the Rhode Island School of Design, among many other notable attractions....  view more

Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.1 Km or 3.2 Miles
Providence Religious Sites Tour

Providence Religious Sites Tour

Providence's name alludes to “God's merciful Providence”. The original colony was founded by Roger Williams, a religious exile. Today the city is home to a variety of churches and cathedrals and is quite tolerant of religious differences. Take this tour to visit Providence's beautiful and historic places of worship.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.1 Km or 2.5 Miles
Providence Museums Tour

Providence Museums Tour

Providence was established in 1636 and is one of the original thirteen colonies of the U.S. The city has a long history, and over the years has been home to many well-known artists, politicians, writers and more. This fascinating heritage is reflected in the city's numerous museums and historic houses. Take this tour to visit the best museums the city has to offer.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.8 Km or 1.7 Miles