Sunday, May 27, 2007
My town, Providence
Providence is aflame with beauty, sophistication, and convenience, making every visit a joy. A variety of events and attractions ensure the delight of anyone who spends time here.
Splayed across seven hills on the Providence and Seekonk rivers, PROVIDENCE was Rhode Island's first settlement, founded "in commemoration of God's providence" on land given to Roger Williams by the Narragansett Indians (his insistence that Indians should be paid for their land being waived in his own case). Now New England's fourth largest city, it has been the state capital since 1901, and flourished as one of the most important ports of call in the notorious "triangle trade," where New England rum was exchanged for African slaves, who were then sold for West Indian molasses. Since Slater's invention of the water-powered textile mill, port trade and industry have been the mainstays of the economy. Today Ivy League Brown University and the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD or "Rizdee") give the place a certain cultural verve (although this admittedly doesn't stray far beyond the immediate environs of College Hill on the east bank of the river), and the many original colonial homes on Benefit Street emphasize a historical importance almost absent from the somewhat drab downtown across the river. Ethnic diversity is provided by Little Italy on Federal Hill, west of the river, and by fairly voluble Greek and Portuguese – and especially Cape Verdean – communities.