Providence Women's City Missionary Society Laundry

155 Clifford Street, Providence, RI


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Built In



Providence Women's City Missionary Society Laundry, built at 155 Clifford Street in 1903. The Providence Women's City Missionary Society was a voluntary society founded in 1867 to aid the city's indigent women. A basic goal in their efforts was to create an "industrial home" where women might learn skills that would enable them to earn a living. A lack of finances delayed the creation of such an institution until 1897, when the Society, following the example of Trinity Church, Boston, established a laundry where needy women could find employment and learn the trade. The laundry's success enabled the Society to move it out of rented quarters and into this new building, designed specifically as a laundry. For several years the laundry was able to support itself, but in 1908, a depression reduced the amount of business at the same time that large commercial laundries began to compete with hand-wash laundries. By 1912, both business and the number of applicants for positions in the laundry had decreased to the extent that the Society closed the laundry and sold the building. In the course of its existence, the laundry paid $42,000 to its employees, all of them needy women. The Society itself continued its other activities for many more years before publishing its final report in 1940. The laundry building was soon taken over by the J. & H. Electric Company, a firm that specialized in furnishing and servicing electrical motors and other apparatus for the jewelry industry and other manufacturers. Source - National Register of Historic Places The building is now serving as Johnson & Wales Physicians Assistant program