1900-04: New Lines
At the start of the 20th century Cotton opened another bar. This time it was in Providence, RI, on Peck's wharf, on the Providence River. Above the entry was a sign reading "Old Bob Ridley." "The place had sawdust on the floor, large and capacious spittoons, a brass rail at the the foot of the counter for weary feet, and a general air of coziness," wrote Horace Belcher, with some degree of familiarity. (Horace Belcher, "Mr. Tambo and Mr. Bones: Rhode Island in Negro Minstrelsy," Rhode Island History, 8:4 October 1949, p. 106)
As he had on other occasions, Cotton was casting about for a different line of business. He finally settled on the ownership of a laundry in New York.