Roger Williams Park was created in 1870 after Betsey Williams bequeathed 102 acres of farmland and woodland to the city of Providence to be used for public purpose. A portion of the gift included land that was originally purchased from the Narragansetts by her great, great, great, grandfather, Rhode Island Founder Roger Williams.
Horace Cleveland, a leader in the Urban Parks Movement, created the design for the Park. It was intended to serve as an escape for those working in highly industrialized Providence in the late nineteenth century. Twenty years after Betsey's bequest, the Park quadrupled in size and daily attendance had grown to 15,000 visitors.
Roger Williams Park still serves as "the people's pleasure ground" that Cleveland intended, hosting family picnics, community festival, weddings, and running groups.
Each year over 1.5 million visitors from around the state - and beyond!- enjoy the same scenery and activities as past generations.