ca. 1640s

Establishing a New Town

Without a formal government, the early settlers in Providence worked together to set the rules for the new town. Property owners met every two weeks to address issues. Each property consisted of a “home lot” (a thin slice of land that ran from the waterfront up today’s College Hill and to the flat land on top) as well as a six-acre lot at a distance for planting. This unusual land distribution led to a clear naming system for Providence’s future east-west streets, with familiar names including Olney, Angell, Waterman, Wickenden and Power. The land belonging to Brown family founder Chad Brown can be seen at the center.