Providence Warwick Convention & Visitors Bureau

Historic Timeline

Providence Walks: The East Side Tour - Timeline

1636          

Roger Williams establishes Providence as a place of religious freedom and liberty of conscience. - click here for a brief bio of Roger Williams >>

1663     

Rhode Island’s Colonial Charter is approved by King Charles II. It is the first time in modern history a monarch signed a charter guaranteeing individuals freedom to practice the religion of their choice without government interference.

Read the charter here and be sure to visit the newly opened charter museum.

1687

King James II of England issues the Declaration of Liberty of Conscience extending tolerance to all religions.

1772

Providence citizens burn the British ship Gaspee as an act of colonial defiance to British customs agents,later known as the "Gaspee Affair."

1784

The slave trade is abolished in Rhode Island. 
- click here for a brief history of slavery in Rhode Island >>

1787

John Brown sends the first Providence ship George Washington to trade with China. - click here for more on The China Trade >>

1828

The Blackstone Canal is completed as Rhode Island industry continues to expand.

1849

George Henry Corliss of Providence patents the Corliss Steam Engine, a technological innovation fueling the Industrial Revolution in America.

1938

A hurricane floods downtown.

1959

The College Hill Study, a landmark report to preserve the historic buildings of the East Side, is released. The study confirmed for the first time in America that preservation could be a tool of urban renewal.

1983

Ground is broken on the Capital Center re-development project, resulting in the shifting of rivers, train tracks and highways, and the re-shaping of Downtown Providence.

Click here to read a history of the project from the American Planning Association. 

2011

Interstate Highway 195 is relocated from Downtown Providence to beyond the Fox Point Hurricane Barrier, allowing for future development.