Providence, RI

Only in Providence, Rhode Island: Turk's Head Building

Tracey Folly

A single glance is all it takes to see that One Turk's Head Building in Providence is one of a kind.
Detail from One Turks Head Building, Providence, Rhode Island 02903Tracey Folly/Author

It only takes a single glance at the Turk's Head Building in Providence, Rhode Island to see that this is not your garden variety office building. Perched upon the third-floor facade like a gargoyle peers the somewhat menacing face and upper torso of a man wearing an ornate robe and a turban. The figure is so detailed that it even has distinguishable fingernails on its massive hands.

He is the Turk of One Turk's Head Building, and if his past is any indication of his future, he's there to stay. After all, the stone head of an Ottoman warrior has been there just as long as the building has, more than a century.

Over the years, the guardian of the building has gained a sort of celebrity status in Providence. But that only makes sense. Who wouldn't want to visit an address with a giant stone head watching over the street?

The distinctive edifice is actually located at 1 Weybosset St, Providence, RI 02903, but it has been known as One Turk's Head Building for decades. Since its construction, the Turk of One Turk's Head Building has peered down upon it and Providence for more than a century with his inscrutable gaze.

Wikipedia tells the story of the stone Turk's head from which the building gets its name:

The skyscraper's peculiar name dates back to the early nineteenth century, when shopkeeper Jacob Whitman mounted a ship's figurehead above his store. The figurehead, which came from the ship Sultan, depicted the head of an Ottoman warrior. Whitman's store was called "At the sign of the Turk's Head". The figurehead was lost in a storm, and today a stone replica is found on the building's 3rd floor façade.
Detail from One Turks Head Building, Providence, Rhode Island 02903Tracey Folly/Author

Don't let the full-length photo of One Turk's Head Building fool you. Perhaps the Turk's head seems almost indistinguishable from the rest of the structure in some pictures. However, in real life, it is quite prominent and breathtaking. Once you see it, you won't forget it, and there is nothing like wandering the streets of the City of Providence and coming across this building for the very first time.

It's breathtaking.

One Turk's Head Building is just a small part of the reason why Providence is a historic city that attracts tourists from all over the world.
Turks Head Building, Providence, Rhode Island 02903Tracey Folly/Author

You can learn more about One Turk's Head Building here.

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