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|Number of 5 star ratings (5* yield %)||18 (5.1 %)|
Founded in 1636, Providence, RI, is one of the oldest cities in the U.S., and the third largest city in New England (population 177,000+). Given its age and size , it is no wonder that Providence has nearly half the state’s registered historical sites, and that several of those sites are church structures. This city has retained its early American character through its architecture.
I first chronicled my trip to Providence in an earlier post (see https://eyepointofview.com/2015/11/22/capitol-view-rhode-island-state-house-5-pix-2/), prominently featuring the Rhode Island Statehouse, and its surrounding neighborhood, College Hill. In the short distance I walked for my excursion, I saw the First Baptist Church of America (built 1775) the oldest church in the US, and the Cathedral of St. John the Episcopal (along with the graveyard by its side), which was established in 1722, the State Capitol building, and the First Church of Christ, Scientist (built 1913 – a veritable youngster!).
My walk took me to two small parks, and one overlook. With each stop, the view of the downtown Providence brought new vantage points to see the church steeples. For some, I found the actual churches, and was able to get images up close and all around; for others, the images are mostly from afar. Here’s a bird’s eye view of a few of the early American churches in Providence.
- Cathedral of St. John Episcopal (3)– Established as Kings Church in 1722, this historic structure is located on Main Street. The red doors, colorful ornate carvings, and clock tower all caught my attention – all while I was in a park across the street. Who could blame me for walking around, taking shots from the bottom, looking up at the blue sky? According to Wikipedia, the church is being repaired and renovated to become a “museum and reconciliation center” focusing on the trans-Atlantic slave trade. It is expected to open sometime in 2017, and I look forward to exploring it then.
- Red Door #2 – This door was a bright spot of color along the street side of the church. (By the way, Red Door #1 was on the front!)
- Resting Spot – This historic church has a cemetery plot next to the sanctuary. Church side cemeteries are a tradition that I don’t see that often, but as a genealogist, I have enjoyed exploring them. I was surprised when I found this one – I had walked up a hill which led to the back side of the church , and I found this charming resting spot.
- First Church of Christ, Scientist –– I spotted this dome from the bottom of the hill, convinced it was the lookout point for Prospect Terrace Park. When I arrived, after climbing the steep hill AND stairs, I was amazed to find this gem of a church structure. (It wasn’t however, what I was looking for, so I kept walking).
- Steeple: The First Baptist Church of Providence – This church is the oldest Baptist Church congregation in the US. The building itself dates from 1774-75, and is designated a National historic Landmark site. Throughout my trek in Providence, I kept seeing the steeple, and found this great viewpoint from one of the many hills. I loved the late afternoon sunlight that gave the steeple its glow.
This early American city is charming in the way it has kept its character over time. I look forward to exploring it more in future visits, the wonderful architecture, and the inside of some of these wonderful churches.