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New book introduces Providence’s first settlers and links to a smartphone walking-tour map

First Owners of the Providence Towne Street Home Lots: A Walking Tour with an Interactive Online Map Paperback • Available now on

PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND, UNITED STATES, February 6, 2023 / — Pocket-size paperback book available at and poster-size map at

𝙁𝙞𝙧𝙨𝙩 𝙊𝙬𝙣𝙚𝙧𝙨 𝙤𝙛 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙋𝙧𝙤𝙫𝙞𝙙𝙚𝙣𝙘𝙚 𝙏𝙤𝙬𝙣𝙚 𝙎𝙩𝙧𝙚𝙚𝙩 𝙃𝙤𝙢𝙚 𝙇𝙤𝙩𝙨 is a uniquely informative book that answers the question: What was Providence like in its early 17th-century years? None of the 52 early settlers’ original homes along what was once Providence’s Towne Street (now Main Street) exist today, but, thanks to this publication, strollers can walk in the settlers’ shoes and imagine why they saw the locale as a refuge for the “distressed of conscience.” The 52-page book profiles each of the original lot owners along the riverside street and includes access to a GPS-enabled smartphone map, which allows those on a walking tour of the 21st-century street to display each owner’s profile.

Author Michael Swanson says he “frequently walked down Providence’s Main Street where Roger Williams laid out 52 lots for early settlers and became curious about the settlers’ stories. I found an 1886 book that had a good map of the lots, but the biographies emphasized land deeds and not why the settlers were ‘distressed of conscience,’ as Williams put it. I became interested in a lot owner named Robert Coles, my wife’s ancestor, who was chased out of Massachusetts Bay for reasons other than religion. I decided to write a modernized version of the 1886 book in which I touch on why they came to Providence and include overlooked female settlers.”

An introduction to the book provides the historical context of the original settlement of Providence and the homes along Towne Street.

Michael Swanson
Independent Author
+1 615-794-7740
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