Deeply rooted in Rhode Island history
Roger Williams Park was created in 1871 after Betsey Williams bequeathed 102 acres of farmland and woodland to the city of Providence to be used for public purpose. A portion of the gift included land that was shared with her great, great, great grandfather, Rhode Island founder Roger Williams, by the Narragansett sachems Canonicus and Miantonomo.
Horace Cleveland, a leader in the Urban Parks Movement, created the design for the Park. It was intended to serve as an escape for those working in highly industrialized Providence in the late nineteenth century. Twenty years after Betsey’s bequest, the Park quadrupled in size and daily attendance had grown to 15,000 visitors.
Comprised of more than 435 beautiful acres and offering a range of recreational and educational opportunities, Roger Williams Park still serves as “the people’s pleasure ground” that Cleveland intended, hosting family picnics, community festivals, weddings, and running groups. Each year over 1.5 million visitors from around the state – and beyond! – enjoy the same scenery and activities as past generations. The People’s Park truly represents Rhode Island’s rich and diverse history.