Snowtown Featured in a Recent Issue of Smithsonian Magazine

PAL Laboratory Manager Heather Olson contributed to a recent Smithsonian Magazine article on the historic Snowtown Neighborhood in Providence read the article.

“Before Rhode Island Built Its State House….” The October 5 online edition of Smithsonian Magazine reported recent work on the history and archaeology of Providence’s Snowtown neighborhood, highlighting PAL’s work with the archaeological collection and the Snowtown Project. Snowtown was a small, mixed-race neighborhood in early-1800s Providence. It was the site of a racially motivated mob attack in the fall of 1831, but it was also home to a diverse community of poor Black and white laborers; eventually becoming the home of waves of migrants and laborers, extra-legal entrepreneurs and widowed mothers. By the end of the 19th century, the Snowtown community was displaced by railroad construction and urban development, including the RI State House completed in 1904. Recent efforts by PAL and the Snowtown Project researchers have focused on bringing this important part of Rhode Island history back in focus through intensive archival research, interpretation, and public programming.