A demure little building set back from the street, this is one of the country’s oldest public schools. Providence attempted public education quite early – and unsuccessfully. In its earliest years, this housed a multiple-age school for young children on the first story, while students at today’s Brown University used the second story until the completion of the College Edifice. After 1800 it again served, successfully and continuously, as an elementary school. In the mid-nineteenth century, it was a school for black students. In 1908 large sections of the second-story walls were removed to convert it to an “open air” school. It served as a school for handicapped children in the mid-twentieth century, and the institution founded here, known as Meeting Street School, remains a pioneer in education. Still owned by the City of Providence, the building has been leased since the 1960 to the Providence Preservation Society, which beautifully maintains it.
Update: In 2013, the Providence Preservation Society purchased the Brick School House from the City of Providence. In 2015, it once again became the headquarters of the Society.