Images of this Property
Copyright prevents the display of these images: R.I. puts Providence’s distinctive drawbridge down for demolition, Providence Journal
About this Property
CALL FOR DESIGN IDEAS: A design competition sponsored by the Providence Redevelopment Agency is underway to collect creative ideas for reuse of the Crook Point Bridge structure. Those interested in submitting ideas are encouraged to review the full page and Call for Design Ideas. Round One Submissions Due: Sunday, November 29, 2020 by 11:59 PM EST
An icon in its own right, the bridge that seems to be permanently stuck in the up position has hung over the Seekonk River since 1976. It’s silhouette can easily be seen as you pass over the Washington Bridge in a car on I-195 going East or West. The heavy iron structure recalls a time in engineering when heft was best… obviously, the bridge was built to last, and shows very little signs of structural damage, aside from the fires here and there that have slightly damaged the thick wooden railroad ties. The significance of this structure is partly the way it is stuck in time. To remove the bridge or to get it working again and turn it into a pedestrian walkway from East Providence to Fox Point might deny the bridge’s meaningful existence as a snapshot of history.
Plans to redevelop this parcel along the waterfront have surfaced over the years and then quickly return to the bottom of the river. The town of East Providence was under redevelopment along its waterfront in the aughts, but the bridge remained. An extension of the East Bay bike path was installed along the waterfront and India Point Park in 2016-2018, but the bridge remains.
The populace generally has fond feelings towards the bridge and people think of it fondly as a landmark. It’s probably one of the most photographed bridges in New England. Unlike other bridges that have been demolished after being decommissioned (Jamestown Bridge, for example), this bridge seems to have won its way into the hearts and minds of the area residents.
The bridge has many names, some technical but most colloquial: The bridge opened with the name “Crook Point Bascule Bridge” (Bascule Bridge definition in Wikipedia), which is technically a “Scherzer Rolling Lift Bridge”; the DOT knows the bridge as the Seekonk River Drawbridge S.S. K-315; most of the rest of us call it the Drawbridge, or the Seekonk River Bridge, or the Stuck-Up Bridge, or simply the Up Bridge. It was built around 1908 – at the same time as the East Side Railroad Tunnel – to connect the East Side and Downtown Providence with East Providence. The bridge served the Warren and Bristol train lines running east to west, and from Union Station, could connect out to the Providence and Worcester.
From “RHODE ISLAND: An Inventory of Historic Engineering and Industrial Sites”, Gary Kulik and Julia C. Bonham, 1978
The Phoenix Bridge Company, of Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, built this single leaf, bascule railroad bridge over the Seekonk River in 1907. Approached by deck plate girder spans resting on cut-stone piers, the lift portion spans 200 feet. The bridge was designed by the Scherzer Rolling Lift Bridge Company of Chicago and carried the tracks of the Providence, Warren & Bristol line. Rolling lift bridges of this type were first developed in Chicago in the early 1890s. The bridge, the only of its type in the state, is still in use.
- “Stairway to Heaven,” story submitted by John Blasing
- “Providence Part Four,” photos and story circa 1977 from John Ballantine via archive.org
- Google Photosphere from under the bridge
- Abandoned Crook Point Bascule Bridge (Aerial drone photography), Jason Allard
- Urbanism in the Archaeological Record: Because it’s There, James A. Doyle, Brown University
- Urbanism in the Archaeological Record: Crook Point Project, Brown University students
#In the News
R.I. puts Providence’s distinctive drawbridge down for demolition
by Patrick Anderson
Providence Journal | July 30, 2019
The 111-year-old Crook Point Bascule Bridge has stood in an upright and locked position over the Seekonk River since it was abandoned more than four decades ago.
The demise of Providence’s most recognizable derelict railroad bridge may finally be approaching — albeit several years in the future — and with it the beginning of a movement to try to save the structure.
The 111-year-old Crook Point Bascule Bridge has stood in an upright and locked position over the Seekonk River since it was abandoned more than four decades ago. But quietly last year, the state Department of Transportation for the first time included plans for its demolition in a long-term list of state transportation projects. The bridge’s date with the wrecking ball: 2026-2027, according to the DOT’s Transportation Improvement Plan.
But the longer the bridge has thrust awkwardly into the sky between Providence and East Providence, and the more decrepit it’s become, the more distressing the idea of losing it seems to many in the area.
The bridge’s dark silhouette has been screenprinted on popular T-shirts, its symbolism of urban decay studied at Brown University and its rusted metal tagged by graffiti artists.
Hearing the state DOT was formulating demolition plans, first reported by WPRI, Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza is now offering to have the city take ownership of the bridge to preserve it.
“The historic Crook Point Bridge is a landmark and one that the City would like to see preserved,” Elorza spokeswoman Emily Crowell wrote in an email Tuesday. “We are engaging with RIDOT in hope that they would consider transferring the bridge to the City in the future.”
Opened in 1908, the drawbridge was abandoned in 1976 and fixed upright to allow boats to pass while avoiding the expense of tearing it down.
_Captured November 23, 2020 from https://www.providencejournal.com/news/20190730/ri-puts-providences-distinctive-drawbridge-down-for-demolition