Roger Williams Park Rose Garden History
(ongoing research)

Roger Williams Park was formed in 1873 from 102 acres of land bequeathed to the city of Providence by Betsey Williams, the great-great-great-grandaughter of Roger Williams.  At least part of this land was "originally deeded to Roger Williams by the Narragansett sachems Miantonomi and Canonicus."  The park was designed by Horace William Shaler Cleveland, who was involved in the Urban Parks Movement.

     The Elmwood Avenue area where the present rose garden is located was barren prior to the park's development.  The "good muck of the lowlands" from the south of the park was dug up and moved there to improve the soil.

   By 1887 the park had "two rose beds of 300 plants each".


A listing of the roses planted in the park circa 1936-1944 was made by Maribelle Cormack. At that time,  she meticulously mapped the park and its trees and catalogued all the major varieties of plants.

Main Source:
Marshall, David.  The Jewel of Providence An Illustrated History of Roger Williams Park 1871-1961. Providence Parks Department, Providence, 1987.

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 Date last edited: 05/29/10

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