Monday, August 1, 2011

Rhody sights ~ India Point Park ~ Providence

India Point Park
Providence, Rhode Island

India Point Park is located on 18 acres of shoreline at the confluence of the Providence and Seekonk Rivers, in the Fox Point neighborhood of Providence. It's bounded by I-195. The park takes its name from Providence's history of trade in the East and West Indies. It was built in 1974 and renovated in 2008 to coincide with the new I-95/I-195 bridge.



Even more than its name, India Point has a special significance in Rhode Island history: Roger Williams landed nearby in 1636, then canoed along what is now the Park’s shoreline to the fresh water spring just up the Providence River. After trade with the Indies dwindled, the area saw the influx of immigrants, primarily from Ireland, Portugal, the Azores and Cape Verde.


Through the efforts of Mary Elizabeth Sharpe, the area, which had devolved into a scrapyard, was revitalized into the park as we know it today. It has more than 300 trees, and is used for boating, fishing, exercise, artistic inspiration, birding and other leisure activities. The city's Independence Day fireworks are launched from just offshore.

Park from the overpass

Bear and I make frequent trips across the I-95 bridge, and have seen signs for the park, and the pedestrian bridge that crosses the highway. I'd always been particularly curious about the bridge, and wondered if there was actually a park on it. We decided to stop and explore.


We started at the dock. There were some small sailboats moored, and a few more upended on the beach. We saw some men in double shell rowboats, sculling on the water. They were  probably part of the Brown crew team.

India Point Park

From there we headed over to the bridge-park. As we walked up the ramp from ground level, I was very impressed by what we saw. The stairway is beautifully landscape and rises, ziggurat-like, above the park.

stairs to overpass park

I love the architectural accessory details in the lights, and even the nautilus-shaped storm drain covers.

Nautilus drain

The bridge itself is lined with concrete seating and plants, and an oddly fascinating view of I-195 traffic zooming underneath. It's both urban and pastoral.

Overpass park


On the far side is George M. Cohan Street, and welcome storyboards for the park and Fox Point.
India Point Park Welcome Sign

The bridge offers a great view of the park as well. We're going to enjoy going back to check out more of it. It looks like a great place for picnics and kite-flying.

Park from the overpass


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