A freshwater spring attracted Roger Williams to this site and anchored the community.
Williams built his house across the street, and religious and civil meetings took place around its "gushing" waters.
The spring remained in community ownership until 1721.
When the land around the spring was sold, the deed stipulated that "liberty is reserved for the inhabitants to fetch water at said spring forever."
As the city grew, however, the spring was eventually hidden under buildings.
Finally, in the 1930's, the spring was uncovered and became the centerpiece of Roger Williams Spring Park.
The spring gushed forth from the hill-side in a copious stream, issuing from a shallow pool, and from boiling quicksands, and flowed down to the adjacent river.