ArtInRuins, Providence, RI
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Capital Center, Then and Now


Q U I C K  S T A T S:
Two comparative views of the area between Smith Street and Kennedy Plaza. 1983 shot by a member of HABS/HAER, and 2005 shot by J Hogue. The vantage point for both is the top of the Industrial Trust building.

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With all the new construction going on in what has been called Capital Center, AIR decided it was time to dive into the vaults to see where we were coming from, in order to better understand where we may be going. To our astonishment, the Library of Congress American Memory database had some fantastic archived materials online, and most of the best stuff has been coming from the Historic American Buildings Survey and the Historical American Engineering Record (HABS/HAER). When we saw the above image, we felt like we struck gold, and we knew we had to try to reproduce it for comparison's sake.

A few phone calls, some favors from a friend of a friend of a friend, and eventually we got to go to the top of the Industrial Trust building… well, almost. We got the the 28th floor, which is the highest you can go inside the building. What we really needed to do to reproduce this shot was to get to the roof of the first landing, which we were not able to do. Maybe next year, when GTECH is complete and the Intercontinental is well on its way.


bob d.  Great before & after pics! Soon you’ll need to post a 3rd. This view, I trust, is from one of the towers. Back in 1977, two buddies and I were in the, then, Hospital Trust Tower. Being 19 yrs. old, we decided to race each other to the top floor up the stairwell. After several minutes we reached the top floor. Peeking thru the door we discovered that all office floors were below us and we had reached a maintenance level. Sneaking past some maintenance workers, we went up one more level. When we opened the door we found ourselves on the roof! The view was great. We could see to Fall River and the bridges down the bay. We stayed on the roof, undetected, for over a half hour, scoping out the horizons and the city below us. There is a 3 1/2 foot wall which angles out from the top and makes it impossible to see the sidewalk immediately below. But that didn’t stop one of my friends from trying, by leaning out and over the wall as far as he could. We resisted the tempation to lob coins down, but we at least had to spit over the side a few times. After a while, we sneaked back down the stairwell and out of the building. Nobody ever knew we were up there - until now. Imagine getting caught being up there today? We’d surely be put in Gitmo.

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