Monday, April 30, 2012
Cherry & Webb, Gladdings, and Shepard
The bridge was built shortly before 1900, and allowed the ladies who shopped to move from one store to another without having to step outside into the rain, snow, or mud.
Gladdings was the oldest of the three stores--it started in Providence in 1766 under a different name (using a bunch of grapes as its trade sign), but was sold to Watson & Gladding in 1807. Watson left the business in 1815. The store was originally located at 6 Cheapside (now North Main Street) but moved to 93 Westminster in 1878, and to this location at 291 Westminster in 1891, where it continued to use the bunch of grapes sign. Gladdings declared bankruptcy in 1972; the building is now used by Johnson & Wales University. According to the Rhode Island Historical Society, the use of the bunch of grapes sign by Gladdings and its precursor owners constitutes the longest use of a trade sign in American history.
Shepard opened in 1880 at this location (corner of Westminster and Clemence) and was the largest of the 3 stores. It went bankrupt in 1974, and the beautiful historic building is now used by the University of Rhode Island.
Cherry & Webb was a Massachusetts chain, founded in 1888, that went bankrupt in 2000.
Interestingly enough, this alley served as one of the filming sites for an episode in the first season of Body of Proof. The show is set in Philadelphia, but it was filmed in Providence the first year, and in Southern California after that. When they shot this scene with all these logos visible, it seemed to me that someone on the production team wasn't being very careful about not giving away the location!
Illustration Credits and References
Photo by author.
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