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Ömür Harmansah

This is an archaeological and ethno-historical study of a landscape of industrial ruins in Providence, focusing on Crook Point on the banks of the Seekonk River as well as the eastern edge of Fox Point. This is an area that houses the the abandoned East Side Railroad Tunnel and Drawbridge ("Crook Point Bascule Bridge" which is technically a "Scherzer Rolling Lift Bridge"), and has the appearance of an urban wasteland. We will approach the area as a vast archaeological site and a meaningful place, a “site of memory” with in the city, a heterotopia in Foucault's terms. This was a very preliminary exploration of the area and its current place within the city, involving some site visits and archival research.


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Pursued topics of interest:

a. the graffiti on and around the bridge

b. the Providence city government's treatment of this landscape: not too strictly closing off the area while ignoring its existence. The tunnel party incident of the 1990s is an interesting case where the fencing of the tunnel appeared right after the media coverage of the issue.

c. the "suspended" temporary character of this urban landscape, prior to "gentrifications" and "re-commodification". Notable is the 2003 development plan of the city about this area which was later abandoned.

d. heterotopic character of the landscape, in dialogue with Foucault's conceptualization of the "badlands of modernity".

e. the bridge and its environs which bring together a constellation of relationships, including the occasional inhabitants of the bridge. The bridge and the material residues of thses rather marginal urban practices (including but not exclusive to graffiti art).

f. architectural history of the bridge-building on the Seakonk river.


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Bibliography:


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The "Scherzer Rolling Lift Bridge" at Crook Point built ca 1908 and abandoned in 1976. Also formally known as Seekonk River Drawbridge S.S. K-315, which carried Providence, Warren & Bristol train line Image Source

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West Entrance of Train Tunnel (1983) Image Source

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