Our History

History of Tockwotton Assisted LivingOur history tells the Tockwotton story.

Born out of a commitment to make life easier for the less fortunate, it was the charitable spirit and steadfast determination of Eliza B. Rogers and fifteen other Providence women who, in 1856, founded the Home for Aged Women. Later named Tockwotton Home, it has since evolved into one of the best senior care communities of its kind in Rhode Island.

Today, as we celebrate its new waterfront location on the banks of Providence Harbor, the very aptly named Tockwotton on the Waterfront retains the spirit of compassion, charitable giving, optimism and dedication of the original sixteen founders. Their charitable example has been a continuing force through fifteen decades of development, growth and change.

It all began in March, 1856. Eliza B. Rogers and her friends sponsored a fundraising meeting at the First Baptist Church in America, on North Main Street. They made their appeal for the creation of a Home for Aged Women and received enthusiastic approval. They completed a successful fund drive in short order, rented a house for $190 a year and five elderly women moved into the single family residence on May 1, 1856 – just six weeks after the first public meeting.

Eliza Brown Gano, born 1800, was the daughter of Mary Brown and Stephen Gano, M.D. and granddaughter of Joseph Brown, founder of Brown University. In 1821 Eliza Brown married Joseph Rogers, a successful manufacturer. Eliza and most of the women who supported the Home throughout the late 19th and early 20th century were women of means. They used their good fortune and leadership skills to make life at the Home as comfortable as possible. For most of these women, their service was a lifelong commitment.

The multi-decade tenure of many officers and members of the Board began with its founders. Eliza Rogers herself served for more than 21 years. Throughout its history, a large part of what has made Tockwotton special are the volunteers from the area who have given their time and generosity to make the Home a special place to live.

In the days before buses and vans, the women of the Home were far from house bound. The spirit of volunteerism and generosity provided many opportunities for the residents to “get out of the house”. There was always a flurry of invitations to attend luncheons, state fairs, parks, outings and dinners. Free transportation on horse-drawn trollies, rails and steamboats was made available taking the women to some of the most popular places of the day in Rhode Island. The idea of enrichment, entertainment and adventure lives on today.

Through ongoing efforts to raise money, in 1864 a completely new Home for Aged Women was opened, complete with a formal dedication ceremony. This building would expand even further over the years, housing as many as 65 women by the 1940’s. Renamed Tockwotton Home in 1977, it was debt-free upon opening due to the outstanding fundraising efforts of the original founders.

From the Home’s inception, the desire for expansion and improvements remained a     constant wish among Board members. Just as important was keeping up with the latest innovations in care and current technologies. By the late 1990’s, under the leadership of a new generation of Board members, the dream of a better and larger building was beginning to take shape.

That dream is now a reality. Tockwotton on the Waterfront represents the first true senior care community developed in the Providence area in more than a decade.  Located near Bold Point Park, just one half mile from its former location, Tockwotton on the Waterfront is situated on more than 6 acres of waterfront property with views of downtown Providence.

True to its original mission, Tockwotton on the Waterfront remains a not for profit organization. Financial subsidies, funded through the Eliza B. Rogers Fund, demonstrate our commitment to serve a broad spectrum of the community with the same sense of compassion and dignity the original 16 women of Providence set out to provide in 1856.