The Providence Preservation Society stewards this building at 21 Meeting Street that has been known as “Shakespeare’s Head” since colonial times. Also known as the John Carter House, the building is a square, three story residence with a low hip roof, a center chimney, and a five-bay façade. The name “Shakespeare’s Head” recalls the colonial era when the building was used as a print shop and post office by John Carter, who had trained with Benjamin Franklin in Philadelphia. His family lived upstairs. The writing-related enterprises inside were advertised by a sign featuring the head of Shakespeare on a pole outside the building. John Carter built the house in 1772 and published the city’s first newspaper, The Providence Gazette, here until 1793. His family continued to live in the house after the print shop and post office were moved to Market Square.
Behind the building is a 1939 Colonial Revival Garden that is free and open to the public for exploration during daylight hours. More information is available at 24 Meeting Street, the offices of the Providence Preservation Society, M-F, 10am-5pm.
All efforts have been made to ensure the accuracy of the information on this website, however it is subject to change. Information is updated in an ongoing manner in partnership with local tourism offices, individual businesses and organizations and via a direct feed from goprovidence.com, discovernewport.org, southcountyri.com and Yelp.com.
Fall - Spring 2023-2024 RHODE ISLAND DIGITAL VISITOR GUIDE