The school was built in 1768 to serve as a school and meeting place for town meetings. The building temporarily housed the college that became Brown University when it moved from Warren to Providence in 1770. During the American Revolutionary War, Brown's University Hall was used to house French troops, and the Meeting Street schoolhouse was used for college classes once again.
A group of Rhode Islanders led by John Howland started one of the first free public schools in 1800 in the schoolhouse at 24 Meeting Street. The building housed various schools over the next two centuries, including "a school for black children, a cooking school, and a fresh air school for tubercular children, the first such program in America. From 1946 to 1957, the Meeting Street School met in the Brick Schoolhouse" educating children with cerebral palsy. The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1972. It currently serves as the headquarters for the Providence Preservation Society, a group founded in 1956, which hosts various educational and community events at the property.