North Providence Union Free Library

1810 Mineral Spring Avenue
Providence, RI 02904


History Of The North Providence Union Free Library

Before the library was founded in North Providence, many events took place to shape the growth of the town. North Providence was founded in 1765 with the village of Pawtucket being the center of the town since it was more densely populated than the western side of the town. By 1874, the town changed from an agricultural society to a manufacturing one. By 1809, the Lyman family built a mill at Greystone and a post office opened at Fruit Hill in 1825. By 1849, because of the mill population in Centerdale, a post office was opened to serve the new residents. From 1824, the most prominent land owning family in Centerdale was the Angell Family. James Angell, who built a tavern in 1824, had a son James Halsey Angell, who, in turn had two sons, Frank and George. Frank, in particular, developed a great love of books and reading which caused him to spearhead the establishment of a library at Centerdale.

In 1868, anyone desiring to borrow a book needed to travel to Providence which at that time was practically a full day's travel. Since Centerdale had around 200 residents, the formation of a town library seemed necessary. Frank Angell and two friends, Marcus M. Joslin and Alexander W. Harrington, saw this need and met to make plans for the formation of a library. Since the town could not fund this project, fund raising  was a necessity. The first idea was to hold a local entertainment at Armory Hall in Centerdale, now the site of "Our Place". A play titled "All That Glitters is not Gold" was produced and presented on October 31, 1868. Although attendance was not large, it was "worthwhile". The performance was repeated on November 28, 1868 but using a different title, "The Factory Girl".

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