Roger Williams Park

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Roger Williams Park Historic District
Bandstand and Casino, Roger Williams Park, Providence, Rhode Island.jpg
Bandstand and Casino
Roger Williams Park is located in Rhode Island
Roger Williams Park
Roger Williams Park is located in the United States
Roger Williams Park
LocationProvidence, Rhode Island
Coordinates41°47′02″N 71°24′39″W / 41.78399°N 71.410889°W / 41.78399; -71.410889Coordinates: 41°47′02″N 71°24′39″W / 41.78399°N 71.410889°W / 41.78399; -71.410889
BuiltFeb. 12, 1872
ArchitectCleveland, Horace William Shaler; Multiple
Architectural styleColonial Revival, Queen Anne, Other
NRHP reference #66000002 [1]
Added to NRHPOctober 15, 1966

Roger Williams Park is an elaborately landscaped 427-acre (173 ha) city park in Providence, Rhode Island and a historic district listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is named after Roger Williams, the founder of the city of Providence and the primary founder of the state of Rhode Island.


The land for the park was a gift to the people of Providence in 1872, in accordance with the will of Betsey[Note1] Williams, the last descendant of Roger Williams to inherit his land. It had been the family farm and was the last of the original land granted to Roger Williams in 1638 by Canonicus, chief of the Narragansett tribe. The family farmhouse was built in 1773 and is now known as the Betsey Williams Cottage; the cottage and the Williams family burial ground (including Betsey's grave) are still maintained within the park.[2]

The original bequest consisted of about 100 acres.[3] Additional land to the south was purchased in 1891 at a cost of $359,000,[3] consisting mostly of unimproved land that was covered with woods and ponds; it brought the total area of the park to about 400 acres.[3] The natural history museum opened in 1895.[3]

2016 renovations[edit]

New bike lanes in Roger Williams Park

The Rhode Island Foundation began a renovation effort in the park in 2016 as a celebration of their centennial,[4] beginning with the park's historic bandstand in December 2016. The renovations will expand to other park buildings and entrances.[4] In June 2017, a dedicated bike and pedestrian lane was added to Frederick Green Memorial Boulevard as part of these renovations,[5] although this change was opposed by some Cranston residents,[6] including Cranston mayor Allan Fung.[7]


Swan Boat Pond in Autumn

The park contains seven lakes which comprise approximately 98 acres (40 ha), and it is located in the southernmost part of the city of Providence bordering the city of Cranston. It was designed by Horace Cleveland in 1878 and was constructed in the 1880s. Many of the roads, bridges, and sidewalks were built by the Works Progress Administration from 1935 to 1940. The National Trust for Historic Preservation called Roger Williams Park one of the finest urban parks in the US in their 2000 annual report.[8]

It contains:


See also[edit]


Note1 Her headstone name is spelled as "Betsey Williams," but she has been mistakenly called "Betsy" through the centuries, as it appears on numerous articles, postcards, and books.


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. January 23, 2007.
  2. ^ Rootsweb, photos of Williams Family Cemetery, (accessed July 17, 2008)
  3. ^ a b c d Grieve, Robert (February 1896). "Modern Providence". The New England Magazine. New England Magazine Company. 13 (6): 788–789. Retrieved 6 April 2018.
  4. ^ a b "Rhode Island Foundation works to restore Roger Williams Park". TurnTo10. Associated Press. 11 December 2016. Retrieved 12 September 2017.
  5. ^ San Miguel, Michelle (2 June 2017). "One-way traffic pattern instituted at Roger Williams Park". Providence: TurnTo10. NBC 10 News. Archived from the original on 10 June 2017. Retrieved 12 September 2017.
  6. ^ Marrocco, Jacob (24 May 2017). "One-way Roger Williams greenway loop draws mostly negative reaction". Cranston Herald. Retrieved 12 September 2017.
  7. ^ Hill, John (17 May 2017). "Cranston residents oppose road plan in Providence park". The Providence Journal. Archived from the original on 12 September 2017. Retrieved 12 September 2017.
  8. ^ National Trust for Historic Preservation 2000 Annual Report.

External links[edit]

Media related to Roger Williams Park at Wikimedia Commons

Parks in Providence, Rhode Island

Burnside Park · India Point Park · Prospect Terrace Park · Roger Williams National Memorial · Roger Williams Park · Waterplace Park