Old Providence: A New Virtual Resource

Old Providence is a free interactive site for architectural, historical, and genealogical research. Watch the intro video for an overview of Old Providence.

My Vision

Providence, Rhode Island, is experiencing a period of rapid transformation. Historic buildings are being repurposed and neighborhoods are changing. Let’s explore the history of the city together using this new time-sensitive mapping tool.

My goal is to document the history of the city of Providence, Rhode Island, in images pinned on a series of historical maps. Markers and images can be added by institutions or individuals. All images are watermarked to identify the owner of the original image.

Old Providence is also a research tool. It brings together visual resources from many collections in one place. This makes it easier to understand the historical context of the images or of a particular address/neighborhood.

Educators, historians, preservationists, realtors, and those interested in Providence will find images and information to be better able to study the history of the city.


On this free site you can explore the city by street address, building name, or clicking markers on the maps.

Users can filter maps and markers by year, by using the slider at the top. You can view markers in the context of historical maps. Buildings are pinned to the map based on their built date.

Click any marker on the map and it opens to a new window so that you can see the building that once stood on the site or the building that still stands on the site.

Users can discover historical and architectural facts by reading the captions that accompany each image. Anyone can add additional information to an image marker in the box in the marker window.

For instance, type “Crown Hotel” in the search box at the top of the screen.  You’ll see a single marker. Click that to be taken to a new window where you’ll see a brief historical sketch and be able to  explore a series of images of the interior and exterior of the building.

How to Participate

Anyone can add markers or images to existing markers by registering on the site and being approved by the admins. Non-copyrighted material can be uploaded.

To add a marker first register as a user. Then click the plus sign in the upper right hand corner of the screen to fill out a series of forms about the marker.  Watch this video for assistance.

You can also share your knowledge of the city by typing a comment or story in the box beneath the image.

All markers, images, and information are curated by the admins. Once approved they will appear live on the site.

Want to Volunteer?

There are thousands of images waiting to be added to oldpvd.com.  You can help! Volunteers can live anywhere. If you are interested in helping please register at Old Providence.

I’m excited about watching this site grow as more people use it. So please invite your family and friends to participate. Please contact me, if you have any questions.

Can This Be Created for My Community?

Yes. Absolutely. Old Providence is run by software called ChronoCharts. You can contact Mike Bronner (GeneaLabs, LLC) via their contact form to set up a meeting to review your project and go over implementation and start-up details.

ChronoCharts is a solution to present time- and location-based information in an interactive and intuitive manner. It allows you to move both through time and space, visualizing change over time. It is best for state- and city-level historical projects, but also for organizations that wish to publish their archives in a highly interactive manner.