Secretary of State Office’s Treasure Trove of Images

Mt. Hope Bridge Opening

Opening of the Mt. Hope Bridge in 1929. (Image via Secretary of State’s office)

I’ve enjoyed spending a day or so paging through the Secretary of State’s virtual archives, exploring the 502 photographs, documents, and other items collected and archived by our government; and then placed online for our convenience.

It’s really an incredible bit of historical documentation. My personal favorite image is at right; the opening of the then privately operated Mt. Hope bridge in 1929 (there’s actually a series of photographs from the opening). The description doesn’t explain who’s in the photo; why there are Indians there, who the two whites are, are left up to speculation on the part of the viewer; I’m guessing something to do with the fact that Mt. Hope used to be a major Wampanoag center. I’m guessing the white on the left was the governor of Rhode Island at the time, Norman S. Case; but the one on the right remains an enigma.

Part of the charm for me in the archive is that it doesn’t appear to have been organized by date. Images appear in series, the 1960s, the 1970s, then jump back to the 1910s and 1920s, the 1940s float by, then the 1840s; then to the 1930s, 1890s, etc., etc.

Here are a few highlights:

There are plenty more interesting images, and a few pictures of architecture or events that are dying to be Photoshop-collaged into pictures of the modern day.

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A native-born Rhode Islander, educated in Providence Public Schools, went to college in North Carolina and a political junkie and pessimistic optimist.

3 responses to “Secretary of State Office’s Treasure Trove of Images”

  1. Chris Barnett

    The Cranston coal mine was located where the parking lot now is for Office Max and the former Borders bookstore at Garden City Center off Reservoir Avenue.

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  2. leftyrite

    Is there a Viking connection here?

    I remember reading, many moons ago, about some theory or some relatively uncorroborated surmise, that Vinlanders from, maybe, Greenland, mined some coal in Cranston. 

    This would have been after their iron age, so maybe, they made enough heat
    to jolt their first bolt. 

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  3. leftyrite

    Check out the business area of the East Providence Post Office, with its Depression-era mural that should take your breath away.

    Look at what you’re losing, baby.

    Look at what you’re losing.

    Unless you puff out your chest, like Mighty Mouse, put on that goddam cape,

    and fight back.

    Kids of the Neighborhood !

    Those of imagination.

    It’s afternoon. it’s cold,

    and the possibilities are endless.

    Let’s run up the block to look at the grasses.

    Let’s go to the bakery

    and look at the girl with the boobs.

     

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