Providence Historical Buildings 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 city is nearly as old as the United States themselves. It has many interesting historical and architectural landmarks. Take this self-guided walking tour to visit some of the Providence's historical buildings.
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Providence Historical Buildings Tour Map

Guide Name: Providence Historical Buildings Tour
Guide Location: USA » Providence (See other walking tours in Providence)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 12
Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.0 Km or 1.2 Miles
Author: alice
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Providence County Courthouse
  • Old Stone Bank
  • Governor Stephen Hopkins House
  • Providence Athenaeum
  • Brick School House
  • Old State House
  • Old Court Bed & Breakfast
  • Sullivan Dorr House
  • Sarah Helen Whitman House
  • Cathedral of St. John
  • Fleur-de-Lis Studios
  • Market House
Providence County Courthouse

1) 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

2) 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.
Governor Stephen Hopkins House

3) Governor Stephen Hopkins House (must see)

The Governor Stephen Hopkins House, built in 1708, is a museum that was the home of Stephen Hopkins, a governor of Rhode Island and signatory of the Declaration of Independence.

Stephen Hopkins purchased the house in 1743 and made a large two story addition to the original house that was built in 1708. The house is now owned and managed by the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America. It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1978.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Providence Athenaeum

4) Providence Athenaeum

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
Brick School House

5) Brick School House

The Brick Schoolhouse (Meeting Street School or Providence Preservation Society) is an historic colonial meeting house and school at 24 Meeting Street. The school was built in 1768 to serve as a school and meeting place for town meetings. When Brown University moved from Warren to Providence in 1770, the building temporarily housed the school and classes were again held at the school after University Hall housed French troops during the American Revolution.

In the 1790s a group of Rhode Islanders led by John Howland successfully advocated for free public schools, and started one of the first free public schools in 1800 within the Brick Schoolhouse at 24 Meeting Street. Over the next two centuries the building housed various schools including "a school for black children, a cooking school, and a fresh air school for tubercular children, the first such program in America.

From 1946 to 1957, the Meeting Street School met in the Brick Schoolhouse" educating children with cerebral palsy. The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1972. The building currently serves as the headquarters for the Providence Preservation Society, a group founded in 1958, which hosts various educational and community events at the property.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Old State House

6) 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
Old Court Bed & Breakfast

7) Old Court Bed & Breakfast

Old Court Bed & Breakfast was first built in 1863 by Alpheus Morse. It is a beautiful Victorian-style building that is full of lovely 19th-century furniture. Some people believe that local writer H.P. Lovecraft based the home of Dr. Elihu Whipple in his book "The Shunned House" on this bed & breakfast.
Sullivan Dorr House

8) Sullivan Dorr House

The Sullivan Dorr House was built from 1809 to 1810 and was designed by John Holden Greene. The house is a mixture of Palladian, Georgian, and Gothic styles. It belonged to the famous Providence family, the Dorrs. The house is located on land that once belonged to Roger Williams, who founded the colony of Providence in 1636. Williams was initially buried here, but his remains were later moved to Prospect Terrace Park.
Sarah Helen Whitman House

9) Sarah Helen Whitman House

The Sarah Helen Whitman House, also known as the John Reynolds House, was built between 1783 and 1792. The building is famous for being the home of Sarah Helen Whitman, a woman who writer Edgar Allan Poe once courted. Whitman was a poet and essayist herself. The house is located next to the Cathedral of St. John.
Cathedral of St. John

10) Cathedral of St. John

The Cathedral of St. John, located at 271 North Main Street, is the seat of the Episcopal Diocese of Rhode Island of The Episcopal Church. The parish was originally organized in 1722 as King's Church, a wooden structure that was renamed St John's Church in 1794. That building served Providence until 1810 when work began on what would become the Cathedral of St. John. The Episcopal Diocese of Rhode Island was formed in 1790, but it was not until 1929 that St John's Church was designated the Episcopal seat and was renamed the Cathedral of St. John.

The cornerstone for St. John's Church was laid in 1810 and the church was dedicated in 1811. The building was designed by Federal-era architect John Holden Greene, who designed many buildings in Providence. A Cathedral corporation was formed in 1909 and in 1929, the church was designated the Episcopal seat. The building was renovated in 1855, 1866, 1906, and 1967, and still retains its architectural integrity, but is in a state of deterioration and was listed on the Providence Preservation Society 10 Most Endangered Properties List in 2007, 2008 and 2010.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Fleur-de-Lis Studios

11) 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.
Market House

12) Market House

Market House is an historic market house in Market Square. The house was built in 1775. Originally, the bottom level of the structure was used as a market and the upper level was used for holding meetings in the tradition of English public market buildings. Similar buildings existed in other American cities, such as Faneuil Hall in Boston and the Old Brick Market in Newport. Providence's Market House was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1972.
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.
Brown University Walking Tour

Brown University Walking Tour

Brown's campus on College Hill offers a classic New England college experience among brick quadrangles, scenic greens, soaring modern architecture, renovated centuries-old structures, state-of-the-art laboratories and world-class libraries.

All of this is located within the heart of Rhode Island’s vibrant capital city, known for its restaurants, innovative arts scene, youthful energy and...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.2 Km or 1.4 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: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.9 Km or 2.4 Miles