Downtown Providence: Parking Lot, Rail Yard

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Smolski Images

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aerials; automobile parking; railroads; Capital Center; downtown; land use; urban transportation; urban renewal; dead downtown; Chinese Wall; Union Station; Waterplace Park
image description
Prior to the construction of Waterplace Park railroad tracks and parking lots separated the different districts of downtown Providence. This barrier was locally referred to as a, "Chinese wall." This 1977 view shows Providence before its dramatic rebirth from “gritty wasteland of neglected waterways, derelict railroad yards, and vast parking lots” to “one of the nation’s most attractive urban environments” (Leazes and Motte). Much of this redesign happened after the 1986 burning of Union station, and the River Relocation Project in order to repair downtown.