Bowen to Brown Street: Correcting an Error

Since the early stages of my research of Sarah Helen Whitman’s Providence, I’ve identified the site of her death as the attractive, off-white house with black exterior shutters overlooking Prospect Terrace at 97 Bowen Street. It’s embarrassing to admit, but it must be formally addressed (no pun intended) that I was incorrect in identifying that location. When Whitman moved into the Dailey home in 1878, it was at 97 Bowen Street. She spent no more than five months there before she passed away in June, and her wake was held in the house, too.

Just recently, my friend Donovan Loucks (webmaster of The H. P. Lovecraft Archive, and, by my proclamation, Master of Maps) brought to my attention that Whitman’s description of her view from the second story of the Dailey home didn’t quite make sense for the location I had pinned. So, he did what he does best and quickly found that in 1878, the Dailey home was perpendicular to Brown Street with the side of the house facing Bowen. Sometime between 1882 and 1899, Brown Street was extended to the front of the Dailey house and it was readdressed entirely to 133 Brown Street. This of course changed the numbering on Bowen Street, making today’s 97 Bowen Street completely irrelevant to Whitman and the Dailey family, and 133 Brown Street the correct location of the house on today’s map. 

Research is ever-developing, leaving the researcher everlearning. I’m chalking this one up as a learning experience and a reminder to double and triple check (hell, quadruple check) locations I’m investigating, especially those more obscure places that haven’t been covered as extensively by historians. Below is a photo taken today during my very first visit to the TRUE site of Sarah Helen Whitman’s death. The Dailey family home at 133 Brown Street:

The Dailey home where Whitman died in 1878. Located today at 133 Brown Street.

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