Rhode Island November 19, 2019
The Providence Athenaeum In Rhode Island Is A Book Lover’s Happy Place
If you love to read and you appreciate history, you probably already know that Rhode Island is home to a lavish library like no other. If not, allow us to introduce you to t
he Providence Athenaeum, with roots that date all the way back to 1753. If you have yet to wander through the aisles of this magnificent structure, plan a trip to Providence as soon as possible.
The Providence Athenaeum was founded as the Providence Library Company in 1753 by a group of locals who wanted to read, but couldn't afford the cost of having books shipped from overseas.
The organization gave members access to a host of books for a small fee.
In 1836, the company set up shop in the Athenaeum, and the rest is history.
The Athenaeum, or the Ath, is named for Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom.
The Athenæum was originally located on Weybosset Street, but it found a permanent home on Benefit Street in 1838.
The property has been expanded twice, most recently in 1979.
Strolling through this massive structure can feel a bit intimidating, but fear not -- The Ath is for everyone.
You'll find all kinds of classic literature and historic gems here, including a copy of the 1855 edition of Leaves of Grass that has notes in Walt Whitman’s own handwriting.
The Providence Athenaeum has had quite a few famous literary figures walk through it.
Edgar Allan Poe and H.P. Lovecraft were both fans, and poet Sarah Helen Whitman even broke up with Edgar Allan Poe here.
Walking through this property is amazing. Artwork dons the walls of the building, and the Gothic Fountain is both beautiful and lucky.
Legend has it that if you take a sip of these mystical waters, you'll always return to Providence.
The Athenaeum still serves as a library, but it's so much more.
Parties and speaking events are often hosted here, and you can join a variety of programs and reading groups. There's even a substantial children's library for young readers.
The Providence Athenaeum is typically open daily, although hours vary.
Current Monday - Thursday hours are 10 a.m. - 7 p.m., Friday and Saturday hours are 10 - 6. On Sundays, it's open from 1 p.m. - 5 p.m. However, you may want to call before you visit, as they sometimes close on Sundays.
The Providence Athenaeum is one of Rhode Island’s greatest treasures. Learn more about its current happenings
Address: 251 Benefit St, Providence, RI 02903, USA