It all started with a desire to preserve the history and story of my beloved Fox Point (on Providence’s East Side) in order to share it with my children and grandchildren. I realized one day what a great community I grew up in and that I wanted to share this with as many as I could for posterity recalls.
In 1985, with my life-long friend Johnny Costa, I began compiling the Lou Costa Collection on Fox Point – a wide assortment of family photographs, news clippings, community newsletters, church bulletins, and images showing neighborhood buildings – to document decades of history, primarily over the 20th century.
I’ve attended a lot of funerals over the years! That’s where you really see all the old photos come out and people reminisce. But recently, while organizing my collection with my long-time associate Phyllis Pacheco, who is a former librarian at Fox Point Branch Library, and Dr. Annie Valk and her students at John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage (JNBC), I decided it was time to locate my materials in a place that would ensure my goal of preserving and making them available free to everyone. After some consideration, I turned to PPL and Kate Wells, Curator of PPL’s Rhode Island Collections. And, I am so glad I did!
What a beautiful, great secret this library is. I was amazed by the Rhode Island Collection and I realized it was the perfect place for my collection. I know and trust it will be shared with people for generations to come. I was pleased that my collection quickly became part of PPL’s 2017 Exhibition & Program series exhibit on food culture, as well as other projects.