Sewing Room at the Oaklawn School for Girls

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Sewing Room at the Oaklawn School for Girls


Image of a sewing room at the Oaklawn School for Girls.

In 1880, eighteen acres were purchased from Job Wilbur to build the Oak Lawn Girls School on the New London Turnpike at what is now Brayton Avenue. This spot was picked because of its distance from the other institutions; alone among the inmates at Howard’s several facilities the girls and their visitors used the Oak Lawn Railroad station.
The Sockanosset Boys School was also located at a distance from the other institutions and also used a different train station, the small one called “Sockanosset” near the foot of Sockanosset Road. The extant but largely unused cottages at Sockanosset, at once institutional and domestic, were built between 1881-1895 and combine solid rubblestone walls, brownstone quoins, and arched windows with Stick Style porches in handsome fashion. They are sited around a circular driveway in the center of which used to stand a large administration building that housed a chapel and industrial shops. A new chapel and infirmary structure was built in 1891 from design by Stone, Carpenter and Wilson. Built of stone with a shingled porch, it is one of the most handsome buildings at Howard. A new hospital and gym were built in 1898 and an additional industrial building in 1912-1914.
Although in disrepair, the buildings at Sockanosset, beautifully sited on spacious grounds behind a stone wall, are among the finest nineteenth-century institutional buildings in the state.
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)

City of Providence- Providence Reform School Records, 1853-1880


Rhode Island Board of Charities and Corrections Annual Report, 1901


Rhode Island State Archives




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





Document Item Type Metadata

Original Format

annual reports


Rhode Island. Board of Charities and Corrections (1789-1917), "Sewing Room at the Oaklawn School for Girls," in Virtual Exhibits, Item #826, (accessed December 11, 2019).