Grace Church (Providence, Rhode Island)

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Grace Church
Grace Church Providence.jpg
Grace Church (Providence, Rhode Island) is located in Rhode Island
Grace Church (Providence, Rhode Island)
Grace Church (Providence, Rhode Island) is located in the US
Grace Church (Providence, Rhode Island)
Location Providence, Rhode Island
Coordinates 41°49′18″N 71°24′50″W / 41.82167°N 71.41389°W / 41.82167; -71.41389Coordinates: 41°49′18″N 71°24′50″W / 41.82167°N 71.41389°W / 41.82167; -71.41389
Built 1845
Architect Upjohn, Richard; Cram, Goodhue & Ferguson
Architectural style Gothic Revival
Part of Downtown Providence Historic District (#84001967)
NRHP Reference # 72000042 [1]
Significant dates
Added to NRHP June 19, 1972
Designated CP February 10, 1984

Grace Church is an historic Episcopal church at 175 Mathewson Street at Westminster Street, in downtown Providence, Rhode Island.

The building[edit]

The church building was designed by architect Richard Upjohn and built in 1845-46, when the area had a much more residential character. It is a relatively simple expression of Gothic Revival architecture, and is notable as the first building in which Upjohn used asymmetry in a church's massing.[2] The building was remodeled in 1912 by Cram, Goodhue & Ferguson with a parish house addition.[citation needed] The parish house connects with the church through several narrow, twisting stairwells and passages.[3]


1886 engraving

By 1829, the population of Providence was spreading from the east side of the Providence River to the west.[4] 25 parishioners of the St. John's Episcopal Church on Providence's East Side built a small church on the site of the old Providence Theater on the west side.[4] By 1835 the congregation grew to 260, and by 1844, the building was becoming too small and unsafe.[4] Richard Upjohn, the foremost architect of his time, was hired to design a new building on the same site. The new (current) building was completed in 1846.[4]

Grace Church was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972.[1]

By the early 21st Century, the church was badly in need of repair, suffering from crumbling stonework and leaky stained glass windows.[3] The closing of the Cathedral of St. John in 2012 put added pressure on Grace Church.[3] In 2015, a multimillion-dollar restoration project was undertaken to expand and preserve Grace Church.[3] In addition to repairs, the old parish hall will be extended with an accessible glass-enclosed single-story structure, which will allow the church to host suppers and events.[3]


When Grace Church was established, the neighborhood around Westminster Street was more residential and the church was associated with Providence's Protestant elite.[3]

After a long period of declining residential character, the Providence downtown is once again growing in population. The Grace Church congregation is drawing a more diverse congregation, including many from the city's growing Liberian community.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b National Park Service (2007-01-23). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  2. ^ "NRHP nomination for Grace Church" (PDF). Rhode Island Preservation. Retrieved 2014-10-13. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Anderson, Patrick (12 July 2015). "Age and Grace: Episcopal church restoration to open doors in Providence". Retrieved 13 July 2015. 
  4. ^ a b c d "History of Grace". Grace Church Providence. Retrieved 22 April 2015. 
  5. ^ Representative Men and Old Families of Rhode Island. 1. J.H. Beers & Company. 1908. p. 4. Retrieved 22 April 2015.