Norbauer emblem

HP Lovecraft Walking Tour of Providence

On 28 November 2011, Alan and I undertook a perambulatory tour of Providence with an eye toward the sites and sights important to the life and works of Howard Phillips Lovecraft. In case one might wish to replicate that excursion, the trajectory and enumerated points of interest follow.

Map

Google maps

View interactive map for details. The trip presupposes starting at the Providence railroad station (A). See also HPLovecraft.com's Guide To Lovecraftian Sites in New England, from which I borrowed much information and inspiration.

Providence Athenaeum (B)

251 Benefit St.

This was a favorite reading spot of HPL and his greatest source of inspiration, Edgar Allen Poe.

Unlike at the (otherwise rather more impressive) Boston Athenæum, photography is not prohibited here and anyone can roam the stacks freely. Only to withdraw books is a membership required.

List Art Center (C)

HPL's final home, the Mumford House (now at 65 Prospect St), was located here. No doubt he would find the modernist List building that replaced it utterly abhorrent.

Lovecraft at 66 College Street
Lovecraft on the steps of the Mumford House.

Lovecraft Memorial (D)

Near the John Hay Library at Brown, where the largest collection of Lovecraft manuscripts is housed.

Lovecraft at Van Wickle Gates at Brown
Lovecraft sitting at the nearby Van Wickle Gates of the Brown campus.

Lovecraft Birthplace (E)

454 Angell St. Perhaps needless to say, this isn't the original building but merely its location.

There is now a Starbucks across the street, an excellent spot to pause for mid-stroll refreshment and meditation.

Lovecraft House (F)

598 Angell St. Lovecraft's home from 1904-1924, at which point he moved to New York.

Lovecraft at 598 Angell St

Ladd Observatory (G)

Perhaps no single location is more significant to the development of cosmicism.

The late Prof. Upton of Brown, a friend of the family, gave me the freedom of the college obseratory, (Ladd Observatory) & I came & went there at will on my bicycle. Ladd Observatory tops a considerable eminence about a mile from the house. I used to walk up Doyle Avenue with my wheel, but when returning would have a glorious coast down it.

HPL Letter to Reinhardt Kleiner
16 November 1916

Being here, and in a place so close to the writing of the Great Texts, had a certain numinous quality.

10 Barnes St. (H)

"The Call of Cthulhu" and most of the other Great Texts would have been written during HPL's tenure here (1926-1933).

Prospect Terrace (I)

This used to be a favorite contemplative spot of HPL. I enjoyed imagining him sitting on these benches, overlooking the city, dreaming up "horrors unnameable and unaccountable that leer down from the external universes."

Lovecraft Funeral Location (J)

Formerly the Horace B. Knowles Funeral Home.

Providence Art Club (K)

HPL attended exhibitions here, including some featuring the work of his aunts.

Fleur de Lys House (L)

According to Lovecraft.com, some of the bas-reliefs on this building may have an inspiration for those described as being created by Henry Anthony Wilcox in "The Call of Cthulhu."