At the turn of the 20th century the accessibility of modern utilities expanded beyond captains of industry to middle-class citizens. The Paterson Park neighborhood was one of the newly-accessible neighborhoods designed for the upwardly-mobile professional middle class. These were the homes of physicians, insurance agents, importers, chemists, lawyers, jewelers, and professors of the day, and also where the writer H.P. Lovecraft spent the early part of his life.
While today we may not consider sewage lines revolutionary, at the time these homes were created they were the leading edge of infrastructure in America. The new century also spawned a nation-wide appreciation for city planning and the development of public parks and recreational facilities. Paterson Park residents could enjoy the nearby Blackstone Park as well as the Seekonk River. Having access to the only unpolluted and undeveloped water parcels in the city was a major attraction for the neighborhood. Between 1910 and 1920, several schools — including the Lincoln and Wheeler Schools — built new buildings in the area, and a dramatic expansion of streetcar and rail service helped residents reach nearby communities and Downtown.
This year’s festival kicks off with a preview party on the evening of Thursday, June 13, at Lincoln School’s 1870 Dwight House. Self-guided private house tours will take place Saturday, June 15, from 10 am – 4 pm, while Sunday, June 16, will feature guided walking tours of the neighborhood and its green spaces.
We encourage you to join us and learn more about this tucked-away enclave on Providence’s East Side.