Back to About

Our History

We’ve come a long way, baby.

For generations, Garden City has served the greater Providence community and surrounding region. But we can’t celebrate where we are today without taking a moment to appreciate the journey. Browse the timelines below or watch our 70th anniversary video to see just how far we’ve come.


Nazarene Melocarro purchases the land to create a “Garden City” where people can live, work and play all within walking distance from their homes. As soldiers returned home from World War II looking to settle down and buy family homes, Garden City quickly grew into a bustling community.


Stores begin to open at Garden City, including Almacs Super Market, Gladings Department Store and Garden City Tailors and Shoe Repair. Two original stores still serve customers at Garden City Center today, Newport Creamery and Sweenor’s Chocolates.


Garden City grows to include a bowling alley, cinema and several department stores, making it the go-to for community gatherings, nights out and shopping – a legacy that continues today.

Fun Fact: The original cinema (now Whole Foods Market) hosted many special events, including Ms. Rhode Island Universe.


The gazebo, which will become an iconic symbol of Garden City and the centerpiece of many events, is added. From summer concerts to the perfect spot to enjoy with an ice cream, almost every local can recall a special memory at the gazebo.


The first summer concert is held at Garden City Center. A long-time favorite event, these concerts started as small jazz concerts for a few listeners, to the highly anticipated summer staple that draws thousands of listeners throughout the state.

Early 2000s

Garden City Center continues to grow and evolve, adding more stores and restaurants to its eclectic mix. With the finalization of “Phase 4,” GCC welcomed new restaurants like Legal Sea Foods and Tavern In The Square.

Garden City Today

Although GCC celebrated its 70th birthday in 2018, the center feels as vibrant as ever. Now, under the new ownership of WS Development, Garden City is embarking on its next chapter, with plans to freshen up the beloved center’s look and feel while maintaining its charm, history and prominence within the community.