J. Jerome Hahn

Distinguished gentlement at the historical well
J. Jerome Hahn (second from right) stands at the well in Roger Williams Spring Park with the mayor of the City of Providence and other distinguished guests.

NPS photo

Joseph Jerome Hahn (1868-1938) was a member of the Rhode Island Superior Court and the second person of Jewish faith to be admitted to the Rhode Island Bar.

In 1928, he purchased a piece of land on North Main Street from Jacob Seagraves. Many years earlier, Gabriel Bernon, the land’s first European owner, had written into the deed that the spring waters be available to the public forever. The spring's owners always honored that committment.

When Hahn purchased the lot, a small basement door let people to the spring that no longer had safe drinking water. Recognizing the historical significance of that spot, Hahn donated the land to the City of Providence and participated in the construction of a public park, later known as Roger Williams Spring Park. He wished the site to be in remembrance of his father, Isaac Hahn, in gratitude for the religious freedoms that were inspired by Roger Williams and now enjoyed throughout America. With the establishment of the National Memorial in 1965, Roger Williams Spring Park was gifted to the American people by the City of Providence. It’s now known as the Hahn Memorial and is within the larger Roger Williams National Memorial.

J. Jerome Hahn was born August 20, 1868 in Albany, New York, the first child of Isaac and Rosa Hahn. The family moved to Providence, Rhode Island in 1870 where Isaac owned and operated a store on Westminster Street. Jerome went on to serve as a lawyer, judge in the Rhode Island Superior Court and became a justice of the Rhode Island Supreme Court in 1931. The “Bloodless Revolution” of 1943 removed him from office when the Democratic Party swept state elections and dismissed the entire RI supreme court. He was chair of the commission that designed and built the Providence County Courthouse (1930) at 250 Benefit Street in Providence.

He was married to Katherine Louisa Marr. He was made Honorary President of Temple Beth-El for his many years of service. J. Jerome Hahn died at home at 323 Angell Street on December 6, 1938. He is buried at the Congregational Sons of Israel Cemetery (Temple Beth-El Cemetery) in Providence.

Last updated: December 16, 2023

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