This project has been made possible by a grant from the Creative Arts Council of Brown University.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Pasts and futures

Relating to one possible future of the Arcade, one of my trusty Providence sources sent me this article that talks about the start of some new plans for the Weybosset facade- the remaining facade of the old Providence Bank Building- that stands on the lot adjacent to the Arcade. The Arcade is mentioned:

Clarke Schoettle, executive director of Providence Revolving Fund also noted some other work being funded in part by the fund in the area, according to a Press Release from the Mayor’s Office:
“At this time, the Revolving Fund is also financing the restoration of the old Custom House Tavern Building for offices and a restaurant and is assisting with the conversion of the old Providence Gas Building for residential and commercial use. With the combination of public and private investment, we are seeing the regeneration of Weybosset Street. It’s a great thing.”
Schoettle also mentioned the Fund’s contributions to the restoration of the former Ritz Camera on Orange Street into the newly opened Congress Tavern, and some momentum on getting the Arcade reused.
 Relating to one of the pasts of the Arcade, I discovered that the GoogleMap street views of the Arcade show it as it no longer is. We often think of technology moving faster than we can keep up with, but here is an example of technology not keeping up with the changes in our built environments. The Arcade is depicted here as it was, not as it is, with Google Maps archiving a place but simultaneously having agency in affecting perceptions of the Arcade- keeping its pasts present. If someone used the street view to find their way to the Arcade, they might be under the impression that it is open.

(My other favourite example of the Google Maps street view's contribution to the entanglement of pasts and presents can be seen with the street view of Point Street/Wickenden Street in Providence. The I-195 that used to have an overpass over Wickenden Street has now been completely removed, but it is still show in the street view)

I cannot tell if the Arcade was still open when these street view photographs were taken, but the buildings on the lot had already been demolished. If it was after it closed, it cannot have been too long after, since there are still coloured banners hanging from the porticos, and the names of the shops on the windows:

Westminster portico with coloured flags

Letters and logos on the windows of ground floor shops and (unfortunately illegible) signs on the stairs. The door to the tobacco shop that is still there can be seen standing open. 

A bench that is no longer there can be seen on top of the marble steps. Lettering 
for __a's Kitchen on ground floor window.  

Photo that I took in September showing the marble steps without the bench

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