Party At Daggett’s

1932 Benefit Street Newly minted president George Washington made his fourth and final visit to Providence in August of 1790 following Rhode Island’s ratification of the Constitution. Hard to imagine Washington, along with Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson, striding down Benefit Street just having himself a good ol’ time. According to Quahog.org (citing a piece by historian John Williams Haley),

The packet bearing the President and his official party arrived in Providence about four o’clock in the afternoon and as the ship approached the wharf cannon salutes were fired from Federal Hill, and an impressive procession was formed to escort him to his place of lodging. The shouts of the crowds, the ringing of the bells and the boom of the guns carried everyone to a high pitch of enthusiasm as Governor Arthur Fenner stepped aboard the packet and welcomed the President to Providence. Then the procession . . . moved through the streets to Mr. Daggett’s Tavern on Benefit Street. [Washington] followed the troops, music, and state and city officials, and behind marched Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson . . . and other distinguished figures present on the occasion.

The celebrating continued into the next day with much dining and cheering and toasting. The entire account is remarkable.

(Mr. Daggett’s Tavern, aka Mansion House or the Golden Ball Inn, is now a parking lot for Geoff’s Sandwich Shop, 163 Benefit Street. This 1932 image also from Quahog.org.)

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