Providence is the capital and most populous city of Rhode Island, founded in 1636. The city was founded in 1636 by renegade preacher Roger Williams and incorporated as a city in 1831 and became the sole capital of Rhode Island in 1900. At the beginning of the 20th century, Providence was the most significant industrial manufacturing city. Iron, steam engines, industrial products, machinery tools, silverware, jewelry, and textiles were the primary industries. In the early 1900s, Providence hosted some of the largest manufacturing plants in the country, including Brown and Sharpe. Jewelry making and silverware attracted both American and foreign craftsmen to the city as the industry grew in prominence.
The Great Depression disrupted the rapid growth, and industries began to decline notably textiles. From the 1950s to the 1980s, Providence was a notorious bastion of organized crime. In the late 1970s, the city started to upgrade the infrastructure of the neighborhoods, downtown, and commercial districts. Here below are some stunning photos of old Providence from the early 20th century that capture street scenes, landmarks, and everyday life.