Providence, Rhode Island

Providence, Rhode Island
City
Top: Downtown Providence skyline and the Providence River from the Point Street Bridge; Middle: Federal Hill, University Hall at Brown University, Roger Williams Park, and the First Baptist Church in America; Bottom: WaterFire at Waterplace Park, and the Rhode Island State House.
Official seal of Providence, Rhode Island
Seal
Nickname(s): The Creative Capital, Beehive of Industry, the Renaissance City, the Divine City, PVD, Prov
Motto: "What Cheer?" [a]
Location in Providence County and the state of Rhode Island.
Location in Providence County and the state of Rhode Island.
Providence, Rhode Island is located in Rhode Island
Providence, Rhode Island
Providence, Rhode Island
Providence, Rhode Island is located in the US
Providence, Rhode Island
Providence, Rhode Island
Providence, Rhode Island is located in North America
Providence, Rhode Island
Providence, Rhode Island
Location in Rhode Island, United States & North America
Coordinates: 41°49′25″N 71°25′20″W / 41°49′25″N 71°25′20″W / 41.82361; -71.42222
Country  United States
State  Rhode Island
County Providence
Settled 1636
Incorporated (city) 1832
Government
 • Type Providence City Council
 •  Mayor Jorge Elorza ( D)
Area
 •  City 53 km2 (20.6 sq mi)
 • Land 48 km2 (18.5 sq mi)
 • Water 5 km2 (2.1 sq mi)
Elevation 23 m (75 ft)
Population ( 2010)
 •  City 178,042
 • Estimate (2015) [3] 179,207
 • Rank US: 134th
 • Density 3,736.0/km2 (9,676.2/sq mi)
 •  Urban 1,190,956 (US: 39th)
 •  Metro 1,604,291 (US: 38th)
Time zone EST ( UTC−5)
ZIP code 02901–02912, 02918, 02919, 02940
Area code 401
FIPS code 44-59000 [4]
GNIS feature ID 1219851 [5]
Website www.providenceri.com

Providence is the capital of and most populous city in the U.S. state of Rhode Island, founded in 1636 and one of the oldest cities in the United States. [6] It was founded by Roger Williams, a religious exile from the Massachusetts Bay Colony. He named the area in honor of "God's merciful Providence" which he believed was responsible for revealing such a haven for him and his followers to settle. The city is situated at the mouth of the Providence River at the head of Narragansett Bay.

Providence was one of the first cities in the country to industrialize and became noted for its textile manufacturing and subsequent machine tool, jewelry, and silverware industries. [7] [8] Today, the city of Providence is home to eight hospitals and seven institutions of higher learning which have shifted the city's economy into service industries, though it still retains some manufacturing activity. The city was once nicknamed the "Beehive of Industry"; it began rebranding itself as the "Creative Capital" in 2009 to emphasize its educational resources and arts community. [9]

The city is located in Providence County and is the third most populous city in New England, after Boston and Worcester. Providence has a city population of 179,154; it is also part of the Providence metropolitan area, which extends into southern Massachusetts and in turn constitutes a part of Greater Boston, the sixth-largest U.S. combined statistical area with over 8 million residents. The Providence metropolitan area has an estimated population of 1,604,291, which exceeds that of Rhode Island as a whole by about 60%. [10]

History

First Baptist Church in America is the oldest Baptist congregation in America. It was founded 1638, though the present building was occupied in 1776.

The area that is now Providence was first settled in June 1636 by Roger Williams and was one of the original Thirteen Colonies of the United States. Williams and his company felt compelled to withdraw from Massachusetts Bay Colony. Providence quickly became a refuge for persecuted religious dissenters, as Williams himself had been exiled from Massachusetts. [11]

Providence residents were among the first Patriots to spill blood in the leadup to the American Revolution during the Gaspée Affair of 1772. [11] Rhode Island was the first of the thirteen colonies to renounce its allegiance to the British Crown on May 4, 1776. [12] It was also the last of the thirteen colonies to ratify the United States Constitution on May 29, 1790, once assurances were made that a Bill of Rights would become part of the Constitution. [13]

Market Square was the center of civic life in the 19th Century, and Market House was home to the city council before City Hall was built. [14]

Following the war, Providence was the country's ninth-largest city [b] [11] with 7,614 people. The economy shifted from maritime endeavors to manufacturing, in particular machinery, tools, silverware, jewelry, and textiles. By the start of the 20th century, Providence hosted some of the largest manufacturing plants in the country, including Brown & Sharpe, Nicholson File, and Gorham Silverware.

City Hall was built in 1878

Providence residents ratified a city charter in 1831 as the population passed 17,000. [11] From its incorporation as a city in 1832 until 1878, the seat of city government was located in the Market House, [15] located in Market Square, which was the geographic and social center of the city. The city offices quickly outgrew this building, and the City Council resolved to create a permanent municipal building in 1845. [15] The city offices moved into the City Hall in 1878.

During the Civil War, local politics split over slavery as many had ties to Southern cotton. Despite ambivalence concerning the war, the number of military volunteers routinely exceeded quota, and the city's manufacturing proved invaluable to the Union. Providence thrived postwar, waves of immigrants and land annexations brought the population from 54,595 in 1865 to 175,597 by 1900. [11]

By the early 1900s, Providence was one of the wealthiest cities in the United States. [16] Immigrant labor powered one of the nation's largest industrial manufacturing centers. [16] Providence was a major manufacturer of industrial products from steam engines to precision tools to silverware, screws, and textiles. Giant companies were based in or near Providence, such as Brown & Sharpe, the Corliss Steam Engine Company, Babcock & Wilcox, the Grinnell Corporation, the Gorham Manufacturing Company, Nicholson File, and the Fruit of the Loom textile company. [16]

People gathering in Waterplace Park, opened in 1994, just before a WaterFire event. On the left can be seen the Waterplace condominiums, constructed in 2008. The entire area had been covered in railroad tracks, and the river was covered with paved bridges until the late 1980s.

From 1975 until 1982, $606 million of local and national community development funds were invested throughout the city. In the 1990s, the city pushed for revitalization, uncovering the rivers (which had been covered by paved bridges), relocating a large section of railroad underground, creating Waterplace Park and river walks along the rivers' banks, and constructing the Fleet Skating Rink (now the Alex and Ani City Center) [17] and the 1.4 million ft² Providence Place Mall. [11]

Despite new investment, poverty remains an entrenched problem as it does in most post-industrial New England cities. Approximately 27.9 percent of the city population is living below the poverty line. [18] Recent increases in real estate values further exacerbate problems for those at marginal income levels, as Providence had the highest rise in median housing price of any city in the United States from 2004 to 2005. [19]

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Providence
беларуская: Провідэнс
български: Провидънс
brezhoneg: Providence
čeština: Providence
dansk: Providence
Deutsch: Providence
eesti: Providence
euskara: Providence
فارسی: پراویدنس
føroyskt: Providence
한국어: 프로비던스
Bahasa Indonesia: Providence, Rhode Island
italiano: Providence
עברית: פרובידנס
Kapampangan: Providence
Kreyòl ayisyen: Providence (Rod Aylann)
Кыргызча: Провиденс
кырык мары: Провиденс
latviešu: Providensa
lietuvių: Providensas
Ligure: Providence
lumbaart: Providence
नेपाल भाषा: प्रभिदेन्स
norsk: Providence
پنجابی: پروویڈنس
polski: Providence
português: Providence
русский: Провиденс
संस्कृतम्: प्राविडेन्स्
sardu: Providence
shqip: Providence
Simple English: Providence, Rhode Island
ślůnski: Providence
српски / srpski: Провиденс
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Providence, Rhode Island
suomi: Providence
svenska: Providence
українська: Провіденс
Tiếng Việt: Providence, Rhode Island
Volapük: Providence
ייִדיש: פראווידענס
žemaitėška: Provėdensos