Lost America: William Wilkinson House, Providence, Rhode Island.


American history–or the history of any land–is more than just political events, leaders, battles, and the kind of thing you find in history books. It’s about people’s homes, families and private lives; indeed that is the bulk of history, and virtually none of it ever makes it into the historical record. I’m taken by photos like the one above, which is of a house owned by one William Wilkinson, which stood at 69 College Street in Providence, Rhode Island. It’s a beautiful Federal style home, very classic New England, built in 1818. Somebody–many people–lived here over the years. In this house, husbands and wives made love, argued and made up, probably children were born, probably somebody died, there were arguments perhaps over money, politics or business, there were dreadfully hot summer days and bone chilling winter nights, and life went on. We know virtually none of it. I can’t even…

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