Power Plant at the State Institutions

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  • Power Plant at the State Institutions

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Power Plant at the State Institutions


Image of the power plant at the State Institutions.

In 1872, work began on the oldest remaining institutional building on the Howard Reservation-the workhouse and house of correction, until recently the minimum security prison. The three-story building was the first of many built from the stone quarried on the farm by inmates and constructed by Horace Foster, the master mason who had worked on many of the Sprague families’ Pawtuxet Valley mills. To avoid all unnecessary expense, plaster was applied directly to the stone. Completed in 1873, the building cost almost $100,000 and was heated by steam. The philosophy behind the design of the building was clearly stated:
We have endeavored to combined convenience with strength, durability, safety, and depend upon proportions alone for the appearance of the structure.
Excerpt from: Historical Preservation Commission’s Statewide Historical Preservation Report P-C-1 on Cranston, 1980

See also:
Cranston: National Register of Historic Places, 1984

Report of the Committee of State Charities and Corrections Upon the State Institutions at Cranston, Made to the Senate, at its January Session, 1883

Report of the Joint Special Committee on the State Asylum for the Insane Made to the General Assembly at its January Session, A.D. 1868

Rhode Island Historical Preservation Commission:  Statewide Preservation Reports, 1975 - 1982

Article Written by William F. Gleason, M.D....on a State School for Feeble-Minded Children, 1907

Report of State Commission on Public Welfare Institutions, 1943

Special Legislative Commission to Study the Howard Complex records, 1970-1972

External Related Resources:
Rhode Island Historical Society: Rhode Island State Institutions Records, 1839-1968 (bulk 1885-1944)

Missouri State Archives exhibit- Quest for a Cure: Care and Treatment in Missouri's First State Mental Hospital


Accession 2015-28


Rhode Island State Archives


c. 1914


Copyright is in the public domain unless otherwise specified. We reserve the right to restrict reproduction of materials due to preservation concerns.





Still Image Item Type Metadata

Original Format

lantern slides


Rhode Island. Board of Charities and Corrections (1789-1917), "Power Plant at the State Institutions," in Virtual Exhibits, Item #773, http://sos.ri.gov/virtualarchives/items/show/773 (accessed September 20, 2019).