Thursday, January 31, 2013

Architecture ~ The Hope Club ~ Providence

The Hope Club
6 Benevolent St.
Providence, Rhode Island

Two summers ago, Bear and I were enjoying a stroll down Benefit Street when we heard the gentle strains of harp music in the air. We followed it to a building on the corner of Benefit and Benevolent Streets, a big Victorian with a hexagonal room protruding from the side. The music was coming from those windows, and naturally we were intrigued. The sign outside the entrance told us this was The Hope Club. We hadn’t heard of it before.

B_32 College Hill - Hope Club (1885) - 6 Benevolent Street at Benefit Street - Looking North-East
Hope Club ca 1990 by California Cthulhu (Will Hart)

Curious, we climbed the stone stairs, entered and looked around. To the right, a small room with leather chairs and dark wood bookshelves. To the left, an elegant lobby with couches and a fireplace. And in front of us, a greeting window that looked a bit like a hotel check-in desk. In a moment a young woman came out to greet us. When I explained that we were curious about the building, she politely explained that it’s a private club. That was our cue to exit.

Fast forward a year and a half to January 2013. The Providence Monthly’s 2013 Ten to Watch party is being hosted at The Hope Club! Finally, a chance to see behind the exclusive doors. I was as excited at the prospect of being allowed inside as I was at the opportunity to meet Providence’s up-and-comers.

The interior is understated and elegant.

The lobby is lush with dark woods, fireplaces and comfortable furniture.

Providence Monthly's 2013 10-to-watch party by I {heart} Rhody
lobby

That hexagonal bump-out is a beautiful dining room.

via The Hope Club
There are several meeting rooms and function spaces, including the ones that were open to us on the night of the party.

via The Hope Club

Providence Monthly's 2013 10-to-watch party by I {heart} Rhody
bar area
Members also enjoy use of the guest rooms and other amenities.

The Hope Club is proud of its history, and keeps a case of artifacts near the elevators for perusal.

Providence Monthly's 2013 10-to-watch party by I {heart} Rhody
artifacts
It was established on February 27, 1875. A year later, the State of Rhode Island granted a charter to the Club for social and literary culture.

In 1886, the present four-story building was erected. The architects were Gould and Angell.

There is a book with detailed history of the Club, but I haven't been able to access it yet. Also, as it's a private club, there's very little information available on their site.

I did learn that membership is invitation-only and requires the recommendation of two members, along with a vote from the board of directors. There's no mention of what the cost of annual dues are, but in 1875 they were $25.

All the research I've done tells me that the Hope Club offers premiere service. From my one experience, I'd have to agree. If you've got the means, it would be a beautiful venue for a wedding or other event.

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