Located in the northwest section of Providence, the Hope neighborhood is roughly bounded by the border between Providence and Pawtucket to the North, Hope Street to the East, Rochambeau Avenue to the South, and North Main Street and Interstate 95 and the North Burial Ground to the West. Although principally a residential neighborhood, Hope has two commercial corridors, Hope Street and North Main Street.
The area that now comprises Hope was first settled in the seventeenth century by farmers and tavern keepers who followed the Pawtucket Road (now North Main Street) out from the center of Providence. These settlers and their descendants established a strong, rural community that survived well into the nineteenth century. Unlike many of Providence's neighborhoods, Hope experienced little industrial or urban development in the early years following the Civil War.
Although North Main Street grew as a commercial thoroughfare during the 1860s, it was not until streetcar service came to the Hope neighborhood area in 1875 that suburban residential development began. In a slow but accelerating process, farms were sold and sub-divided into plots for single- family homes. Now, one of the largest shopping centers in the city exists off of North Main Street on the site of one of Providence's two former drive-in theaters and the former sites of the "Cycledrome" where the once National Football League champions, the Providence Steam Rollers, played in the early 20th century.
Since the 1940s, a large section of the Hope (Summit) neighborhood has been occupied by the Miriam Hospital. In 1945, Miriam moved from the West End to a two-acre site along Summit Avenue. The Hospital has since expanded four times, adding wings in 1952, 1967, 1978, and 1989 and a major new medical building opened in 2008. Miriam Hospital now occupies two city blocks from Fifth to Seventh Streets. The strong presence of Miriam Hospital has not, however, weakened this neighborhood's identity.
Although officially designated by the City as the Hope Neighborhood, many residents refer to the area as the Summit Neighborhood. An active community organization, the Summit Neighborhood Association, publishes a quarterly newsletter, encourages resident participation in neighborhood affairs, and works to improve neighborhood conditions. Today, this strong community commitment helps make Hope (Summit) one of Providence's most stable and independent residential neighborhoods.
While the vast majority of housing units (85%) in Hope were built more than 40 years ago, roughly 1 in 10 units were built during the 1980s and 1990s.