In the 1773 cottage that today sits beneath a massive sycamore tree, Betsey Williams, the great-great-great granddaughter of Roger Williams, was born and raised with her sister Rhoda. The surrounding fields and marshes were their playground, and as adults their livelihood.  It was in the cottage that the sisters wove cloth to supplement their income and also invited neighbors to dine and dance with them. Upon her death in 1871, Betsey bequeathed the cottage and 102 acres of surrounding farmland to the city of Providence, which became the foundation of Roger Williams Park.

Join an opening reception for the beautifully restored Betsey Williams Cottage, which hasn’t been open to the public for nearly three decades:

  • Explore the cottage and learn about its preservation, history, and significance to Roger Williams Park
  • Share your ideas for the Park, and for future uses of the cottage
  • Hear lively tunes by the Vox Hunters, whose repertoire includes historic Rhode Island music

Free and open to the public. Please click here to RSVP. 

Event Note: Betsey Williams Cottage is located near the Park’s Elmwood Avenue entrance. Parking is available on streets surrounding the Rose Garden; see a Park map. Due to tremendous response and limited capacity of the Cottage, we have added an Open House on Wednesday, August 15 from 5:30-7:30 PM; click here to RSVP.

To learn more about efforts to revitalize Roger Williams Park, visit

This event is presented by the Roger Williams Park Conservancy, in partnership with the City of Providence Parks Department and Doors Open Rhode Island.  The restoration of Betsey Williams Cottage was funded by the Rhode Island Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission and the Rhode Island Foundation’s Campaign for Roger Williams Park.


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