Providence Warwick Convention & Visitors Bureau

Historic Timeline

East Side Historic Timeline


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


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.


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


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


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


John Brown sends the first Providence ship George Washington to trade with China.


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


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


A hurricane floods downtown.


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.


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. 


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