In the Western part of Providence, on Plainfield Street and on Webster Avenue, two early 19th century farmhouses have survived, at least until the 1980s according to Providence, A Citywide Survey of Historic Resources. The Alverson farm house at 569 Plainfield Street, stands on what was a large farm extending north from Plainfield Street, and the Plain Farm at 108 Webster Avenue extended from Laurel Hill and Terrace Avenues and Hillwood, Whitehall and Plainfield Streets. King Farm was also located in Silver Lake -- the Neutaconkanut Hill Conservancy gives a little background on the King family's land holdings in the neighborhood.
The Silver Lake Neighborhood page in the City of Providence's website describes the area as rural
...with sparse agricultural development throughout the 18th century and much of the 19th century. In 1710, the Plainfield Road was laid from Silver Lake to Plainfield, Connecticut. Soon thereafter, in 1720, the area's first settlers established King Farm. By the end of the century, several more families established farms in the area, primarily along the highway.
While the Silver Lake settlement was part of Providence, its remote location allowed for very little involvement with the city. In fact, by the mid-1700s, a large portion of Silver Lake residents sought to secede from Providence. In 1759, the town of Johnston annexed Silver Lake, thus reinforcing its rural character for well into the next century. In fact, there is a now defunct dairy farm structure still standing on Lowell Avenue near Pocasset Avenue.
I expect there will be more relevant information at next week's presentation on The history of Neutaconkanut Hill and it’s original boundaries on Wednesday, June 22, 2011, at 6:30pm at the Mohr Library in Johnston
I'll be doing some library and archival research in the coming weeks once the website is up, but for now I'm gathering preliminary information for this ongoing project that will document agricultural activity in Providence, RI, since its earliest English settlement 375 years ago in 1636. Gardens, farms, and greenhouses that "used to be" and that currently exist can be listed in a new website that I'm building. Providential Gardener is adding a brief description about a farm or garden with historical roots weekly here until the website is ready for prime time.
Do you know of an historical garden in Providence that should be included? Do you know of sources of information or photos and maps that depict agricultural land in Providence in years past? Please let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.