Notes on collections at the RIHS
Once upon a time on Benefit Street stood a church that looked like this. The First Congregational Church, now the First Unitarian Church,. was built in 1794-1795, with two spires and a portico. During this period, the church was presided over by the Reverend Enos Hitchcock, who had served as a chaplain with the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War.
Reverend Hitchcock died in 1803, so was spared the loss of the church in 1814 when it was burned down by Peleg Gifford, who left a lit candle in one of the towers. (Gifford was to be the first inmate of the Dexter Asylum.)
The congregation engaged John Holden Green, and the current building was finished and dedicated in 1816. now when you walk down Benefit Street, this is the steeple you’ll see.