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Grace Church (Providence, Rhode Island)

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Built  1845
Added to NRHP  June 19, 1972
Opened  1845
Architect  Richard Upjohn
NRHP Reference #  72000042
Designated CP  February 10, 1984
Phone  +1 401-331-3225
Grace Church (Providence, Rhode Island)
Location  Providence, Rhode Island
Part of  Downtown Providence Historic District (#84001967)
Address  175 Mathewson St, Providence, RI 02903, USA
Architectural style  Gothic Revival architecture
Similar  St Stephen's Church, Beneficent Congregational Church, All Saints Memorial Church, Cathedral of St John, Saint Martin's Church - P

Grace church providence rhode island

Grace Church is an historic Episcopal church at 175 Mathewson Street at Westminster Street, in downtown Providence, Rhode Island.


The building

The church building was designed by architect Richard Upjohn and built in 1845-46, when the area had a much more residential character. It is a relatively simple expression of Gothic Revival architecture, and is notable as the first building in which Upjohn used asymmetry in a church's massing. The building was remodeled in 1912 by Cram, Goodhue & Ferguson with a parish house addition. The parish house connects with the church through several narrow, twisting stairwells and passages.


By 1829, the population of Providence was spreading from the east side of the Providence River to the west. 25 parishioners of the St. John's Episcopal Church on Providence's East Side built a small church on the site of the old Providence Theater on the west side. By 1835 the congregation grew to 260, and by 1844, the building was becoming too small and unsafe. Richard Upjohn, the foremost architect of his time, was hired to design a new building on the same site. The new (current) building was completed in 1846.

Grace Church was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972.

By the early 21st Century, the church was badly in need of repair, suffering from crumbling stonework and leaky stained glass windows. The closing of the Cathedral of St. John in 2012 put added pressure on Grace Church. In 2015, a multimillion-dollar restoration project was undertaken to expand and preserve Grace Church. In addition to repairs, the old parish hall will be extended with an accessible glass-enclosed single-story structure, which will allow the church to host suppers and events.


When Grace Church was established, the neighborhood around Westminster Street was more residential and the church was associated with Providence's Protestant elite.

  • Rhode Island Governor Elisha Dyer and his family were members of Grace Church.
  • Rhode Island Governor Nehemiah R. Knight and Senator Albert C. Greene are buried in the church cemetery.
  • After a long period of declining residential character, the Providence downtown is once again growing in population. The Grace Church congregation is drawing a more diverse congregation, including many from the city's growing Liberian community.


    Grace Church (Providence, Rhode Island) Wikipedia

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