This 1.2 acre fenced playground was created through a gift to Providence in July, 1917, by Mrs. Josephine E. Potter in memory of her daughter Gladys. Two stone tablets at the park entrance state:
“The Gladys Potter Garden/ December 4 1883/ November 16 1891”
“This garden was given by a mother in loving memory of her little girl who loved this spot and who used to walk here with her father when it was a part of an attractive ravine/ MCMXX”
Gladys Arnold Potter was born in Providence to Isaac Mathewson Potter and Josephine Elizabeth (Arnold) Potter. Gladys was their only child. Walking with her father, she would have seen some of the houses on Humboldt Avenue. Gladys passed away in her home at 211 Hope Street before she turned eight. Mrs. Potter later moved to 10 Orchard Avenue.
The Providence Atlas of 1882 shows a spring at the northeast corner of Humboldt and Wayland flowing eastward in a stream to the Seekonk River, creating the “ravine” named in the stone tablet. By March 1919, this area had been filled in, and the park was dedicated in 1920. In making her gift to the city, Mrs. Potter expressed the hope that “this parcel of land shall be a place of beauty and satisfaction to the neighborhood and a place where persons interested in such things may stop and rest and enjoy the beauty of the flowers and the cultivated garden which will be established here.”
Mrs. Potter’s bequest to the Rhode Island Hospital established the Potter Building in memory of her daughter and husband. Visitors can see a bronze plaque commemorating the gift, and a large oil portrait of little Gladys Potter.
– 2010 Festival of Historic Houses Guidebook