Slocum-Ormsbee-Chace, Samuel & William Foster, Charles Tillinghast, & Hiram Hill Houses
99, 93, 89, & 85 Power Street, Providence, RI, USA
11 properties from 1812 through 1849
Fox Point is the southernmost neighborhood on the East Side of Providence. It is bounded by the Providence and Seekonk Rivers, Interstate 195, and the College Hill and Wayland neighborhoods. Originally used for farmland, Fox Point’s economy quickly changed to maritime affairs with the construction of Providence’s first port at India Point in 1680, named for the “Indiamen” trading ships traveling between Fox Point and the West Indies.
Changes to the waterfront, primarily by infill of land, and the construction of Interstate 195 have removed much of its historic landscape; however, this neighborhood has retained an interesting denseness of historic buildings. Happily, due to the construction of the new I-Way, many of the streets lost after the construction of Interstate 195 will be restored.
The neighborhood derives its name from “Foxes Hill,” where Native Americans noted that a plethora of foxes inhabited that section of the land. That hill was leveled in the late 19th century as part of a massive public works project. Once the area’s street grid had been laid, Fox Point developed as a residential neighborhood. Many of the oldest existing houses in the city are in Fox Point, mostly on Sheldon, Transit, Arnold and John Streets.
With the completion of the Boston and Providence Rail Road, and regular steamship connections to ports along the East Coast, Fox Point became an attractive location for industry. New industry attracted many immigrants, first Irish who concentrated in the waterfront section known as “Corky Hill” and then by the second half of the 19th century, by Portuguese and Cape Verdeans. Many Portuguese-American institutions remain in Fox Point, though the Portuguese community is much smaller than it once was. Ongoing commercial revitalization of Wickenden Street and Ives Street provide visitors and neighbors alike with a quirky mix of mainstay family businesses such as bakeries, markets, and hardware stores along with a delectable mix of multicultural cuisine.