In 1880, the Shepard Company Department Store opened 
in two floors of a small building at the corner of Westminster 
and Clemence Streets in downtown Providence. 
What was initially a small retail venture would by 1903 grow to 
be the largest department store in New England In 1974, 
suburban retail establishments finally took their competitive toll on
the Shepard’s Department Store when it filed for bankruptcy, 
thus ending nearly one
hundred years of business.

Photo by Paul Clancy
Courtesy of the Providence Preservation Society


  1. I remember Shepards very well, that's where I got my first job in 1965.. started out over the minimum wage at $1.30 an hr., minimum was 1.25. Worked in the supply room keeping all depts. stocked with bags, boxes, tape, etc. Worked with a great staff.

    Mike Wilcox, Johnston RI

  2. Does everyone remember meeting at the Shepard's clock? My mom told me if I ever got separated from her, to go to the Shepard's clock and wait for her. One Christmas they had a parade down Westminster Street in which Santa Claus appeared with a live reindeer. I was animal crazy and just ran after that reindeer, then realized I had lost my mom. So that's where she found me a not an hour later, under the Shepard's clock.

  3. Anyone know who worked in the photo department of Shepard's, and knew of the Photo contest they ran in 1965?

  4. yes I grew up in the west end skipping school and hanging out downtown was the thing to do....I was part of the small hippie era....The Mouth Piece coffee house run by reverend Brown was the place for us lost souls to hang......I remember when it was converted to an outside mall .......But oh yes meet at the clock was used by all people !!!

  5. I reminice about downtown Providence and my first job in my blog babaratales.blogspot.com. It is all about growing up in the 50's love to hear others memories

  6. Somewhere in RI is sold an art print of the Shepard's clock; there are summer and winter versions I am told. Does anyone know who sells these?

    1. The print is the Trolley and the Clock by Spencer Crooks, you might find a copy at Providence Picture Frame , a signed one will more expensive, they appear on sale at auctions and sometimes at older estate sales. A nice memory of the Shepard Store.

  7. Too bad these landmark institutions fell by the wayside. Providence went with them. No reason to go downtown on the bus anymore. All teenagers from the area would do it. Fun times.

  8. does anyone remember the thin mints in pastel colors we could get in Shepard's
    Donna Berry

  9. Worked there in 1973 with hair down to my shoulders. I worked in the men's department. Felt a little out of place but was welcomed by a nice man and women who I worked with. Can't remember their names.

  10. I believe it was in 1968 that I was part of a group of college students who were hired by the Shepard Co. to advise students on fashion, who would be heading off to college. We all went to different colleges, I was hired to represent the Midwest region, since I went to Purdue. We were all provided with outfits, wool jumpers, etc. and did at least one fashion show, advised by a local TV/Radio personality named Bunny, I think(?) It was a great summer working with all of the college girls who were hired.