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Lovecraft’s College Hill Walking Tour

The following map and descriptions are used as a basis for walking tours at the NecronomiCon. An Adobe Acrobat version is also available.

Marine Corps Arsenal Providence Art Club Providence Athenaeum First Baptist Church 10 Barnes Street Brick Schoolhouse Home of the Clarks Colonial Apartments Providence County Superior Courthouse Benjamin Cushing House Sullivan Dorr House Little white farmhouse Fleur de Lys Studio Golden Ball Inn Halsey House Stephen Harris House Stephen Hopkins House Jenckes Street John Hay Library Joseph Brown House Benfit-Dexter House List Art Building Market House H.P. Lovecraft Memorial H.P. Lovecraft Memorial Square Samuel B. Mumford House Old Court Bed & Breakfast Old State House Pendleton House Prospect Terrace Roger Williams National Memorial Park First Church of Christ, Scientist F.E. Seagrave House Shakespeare's Head Henry Sprague House Cathedral of St. John, Episcopal Van Wickle Gates Sarah Helen Whitman House
[Map of College Hill]
  1. Roger Williams National Memorial Park – Commemorating the site on which Roger Williams founded Providence in 1636.
  2. Cathedral of St. John, Episcopal, 271 North Main Street (1810) – Founded in 1720 as King’s Church, both Lovecraft and Poe haunted the graveyard of this church. It is on the National Register of Historic Places, and is both a National Historic Landmark and a National Historic Site. (SH, CDW)
  3. Sarah Helen Whitman House, 88 Benefit Street (1783–92) – Home of the poetess courted by Poe.
  4. Sullivan Dorr House, 109 Benefit Street (1809) – Designed by John Holden Greene, this house sits on land that was once owned by Roger Williams, and where he was originally buried in 1683.
  5. F.E. Seagrave House, 119 Benefit Street – In 1933 Lovecraft nearly moved into this house instead of the Samuel B. Mumford House.
  6. Stephen Harris House, 135 Benefit Street (1763) – “The Shunned House” of Lovecraft’s story, which Lovecraft referred to as the Babbitt House. This house was abandoned and in poor condition during Lovecraft’s day. (SH)
  7. The Old Court Bed & Breakfast, 144 Benefit Street (1863) – Originally built as a rectory for St. John’s Episcopal Church, this building is now a lovely B&B. In Lovecraft’s Providence & Adjacent Parts, Henry L.P. Beckwith comments that this building was Lovecraft’s basis for the home of Dr. Elihu Whipple in “The Shunned House” although the Benjamin Cushing house (see number 9) is a much more likely candidate. (SH)
  8. The Old State House, 150 Benefit Street (1762, 1850–51, 1867, 1904–06) – From this building Rhode Island declared its independence from Great Britain on May 4, 1776 – two months before the other colonies did so. It is now a National Historic Landmark. (CDW)
  9. Benjamin Cushing House, 40 North Court Street (1737) – A more likely candidate for the Dr. Elihu Whipple house, this “Georgian homestead with knocker and iron-railed steps” is the oldest house on College Hill. (SH)
  10. Shakespeare’s Head, 21 Meeting Street (1772) – John Carter, apprentice to Benjamin Franklin, published the Providence Gazette and Country Journal in this building, which was also a post office and bookstore. It is now home to the Providence Preservation Society. (CDW)
  11. The Brick Schoolhouse, 24 Meeting Street (1769) – Built to serve as a school and for town meetings, this building became the temporary home for Brown University when it moved from Warren to Providence in 1770. It is on the National Register of Historic Places. (CDW)
  12. Site of the Golden Ball Inn (1783) – Demolished since Lovecraft’s day, this inn had such illustrious visitors as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, the Marquis de Lafayette, and Edgar Allan Poe. (SH, CDW)
  13. Home of Franklin C. and Lillian D. Clark, 161 Benefit Street – This was once the home of Lovecraft’s uncle and aunt.
  14. The Marine Corps Arsenal, 176 Benefit Street (1840) – This building is the armory of the Providence Marine Corps of Artillery.
  15. The Colonial Apartments, 175–185 Benefit Street (1929) – Lovecraft bemoaned the fact that this “wretched ultra-modern apartment-house with all urban sophistications” replaced the “bit of actual country remaining” on College Hill.
  16. Benefit-Dexter House, 187 Benefit Street – Once the Knowles Funeral Home, where the funerals of Lovecraft and his aunt, Lillian, were held.
  17. Providence Art Club, 10 and 11 Thomas Street (1786–89 and 1791) – Lovecraft and his aunts attended art shows here. (CC)
  18. Fleur de Lys Studio, 7 Thomas Street (1885) – This house was built by Providence artist Sydney Richmond Burleigh, and was given as the home of artist Henry Anthony Wilcox in “The Call of Cthulhu.” (CC)
  19. First Baptist Meetinghouse, 75 North Main Street (1775) – The congregation was founded in 1638 by Roger Williams, and this is the third church they built in Providence. It is the oldest Baptist church, the mother church of the Baptists, and a National Historic Landmark. (CDW)
  20. Market House, 4 South Main Street (1773–74) – The lower floor of this building served as a market; the second was used as a banquet hall, barracks, and office for the first mayor. The “Providence Tea Party” took place here in 1775. Markers at its southwest corner show the high water marks during the gales of 1815 and 1938. (SH, CDW)
  21. Providence County Superior Courthouse, 250 Benefit Street (1924–33) – This immense building houses the State Supreme Court, the Superior Courts, the Attorney General’s department, and other offices.
  22. Joseph Brown House, 50 South Main Street (1774) – From 1791 to 1929 this building was occupied by the Providence Bank, the oldest banking institution in New England and second oldest in the country. It is now an office building. (CDW)
  23. Stephen Hopkins House, 15 Hopkins Street (1707, 1743) – Hopkins was the first Chancellor of Brown University, Chief Justice of the Superior Court of Rhode Island, ten times governor, and signer of the Declaration of Independence. A National Historic Landmark. (CDW)
  24. Providence Athenæum, 251 Benefit Street (1836–37) – A frequent haunt of Lovecraft’s, Poe courted Sarah Helen Whitman here. The library owns a copy of the American Review in which Poe signed below his anonymously published poem, “Ulalume.” (SH, CDW)
  25. Pendleton House, 232 Benefit Street (1904–08) – Lovecraft visited this museum which was the first in the United States to have an American wing. It contains Charles L. Pendleton’s collection of 18th Century American furniture, silver, china, and paintings.
  26. List Art Building (1969–71) – Lovecraft’s final home was moved from this location in 1959 (see number 30) to make way for the List Art Building. From the kitchen of the Mumford house, Lovecraft claimed he could look into the stacks of the John Hay Library.
  27. Van Wickle Gates (1901) and Brown University (1770) – These gates are opened twice a year: once to allow new students in, and once to allow graduates out. A photograph in Selected Letters shows Lovecraft seated here and has the caption, “Lovecraft in Brooklyn.”
  28. John Hay Library, 20 Prospect Street (1910) – Named after the Brown graduate who was Assistant Private Secretary to Abraham Lincoln and Secretary of State under Presidents McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt. It holds the largest collection of Lovecraft manuscripts. (CDW, HD)
  29. H.P. Lovecraft Memorial – Erected in 1990 through the efforts of S.T. Joshi, Will Murray, Jon Cooke, and the Friends of H.P. Lovecraft.
  30. H.P. Lovecraft Memorial Square – A plaque honoring Lovecraft was installed at the northwest corner of this intersection in 2013.
  31. Samuel B. Mumford House, 65 Prospect Street (1825) – Lovecraft’s final home, moved to this location in 1959. Lovecraft describes it not only in his letters, but as the home of Robert Blake in “The Haunter of the Dark.” (HD)
  32. First Church of Christ, Scientist (1913) – This site, one of the highest points in Providence, was used for a warning beacon against Indians in 1667 and against the British in 1775. It was claimed that the beacon could be seen as far away as Cambridge, Massachusetts. (CDW)
  33. Prospect Terrace, 75 Congdon Street (1867) – This small park was one of Lovecraft’s favorite haunts. The third resting place of Providence’s founder, Roger Williams, is here. The statue in honour of Williams was erected in 1939. (CDW)
  34. Henry Sprague House, 100 Prospect Street – The address of this house was used as the address of the Ward house in The Case of Charles Dexter Ward. (CDW)
  35. 10 Barnes Street – This was Lovecraft’s home from April 1926 to May 1933. It was also the home of Dr. Marinus Bicknell Willett in The Case of Charles Dexter Ward. (CDW)
  36. “Little white farmhouse” – A colonial home mentioned in The Case of Charles Dexter Ward. (CDW)
  37. Halsey House, 140 Prospect Street (1801) – Built by Colonel Thomas Lloyd Halsey, this home was reputed to be haunted in Lovecraft’s time. It served as the Ward house in The Case of Charles Dexter Ward. (CDW)
  38. Jenckes Street – One of the steepest streets on College Hill; better walked down than up! (CDW)

CC – “The Call of Cthulhu”
CDW – The Case of Charles Dexter Ward
HD – “The Haunter of the Dark”
SH – “The Shunned House”

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This page last revised 16 October 2022.
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