2020 Commercial 046


The exuberantly decorated facade and front yard at 46 Commercial Street speaks of an equally exuberant 53-year love affair between Raffaello LaMantia and J. Edward LaVelle, known as “J,” who died in 2013. This full Cape with Victorian trim was originally the Richard Tarrant house at the east end of Long Point. It was constructed in approximately 1820. The Rev. Frank Orr Johnson, the priest in charge of St. Mary of the Harbor in the late 1920s and early 30s, lived here. LaMantia and LaVelle, whose names are recorded in a hand-painted plaque, bought the property in 1988, after selling the abutting 48 Commercial Street. They also lived in Providence, and they appeared together — three years before LaVelle’s death — in the 2010 video, Valuing All Families: Marriage Equality in Rhode Island. The private back yard is now known as the J. Edward LaVelle Memorial Garden.

¶ Last updated on 20 June 2018.

For further viewing online

Valuing All Families: Marriage Equality in Rhode Island (2010), by the GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders, at 0:21 and 3:52.

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