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 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. A number of private schools also relocated to the area between 1910 and 1920, making it an even more desirable location for the upwardly-mobile professional class.
We encourage you to attend this year’s Festival to learn more about this tucked-away enclave on Providence’s East Side.