There’s a little point of land on the edge of Providence which holds layer upon layer of history. Field’s Point, formerly an island, gives us a way into so many stories about our city. It’s been a wetland and floodplain, a farm, a port and place of quarantine from small pox and yellow fever, a resort known for its clambakes and lively entertainment; it’s been home to a summer program for disadvantaged youth, an emergency shipyard and ultimately a landfill. It’s been filled in and paved over. Today with the instrumental help of its newest tenant and greatest advocate, Save the Bay, it’s being returned to its more natural and healthy state . . . but all of those layers of history remain right on the surface, awaiting your discovery.
Providence Waterways editor and exhibit curator, Traci Picard has spent the last several months on a treasure hunt through Field’s Point uncovering countless artifacts from its shores. Are you missing your 1969 class ring from Mount Pleasant Highschool? It’s been found along with old race cars, a model ship, dozens of forks and spoons, gears, keys, pottery fragments and even a ceramic representation of Saint Mary. Using artifacts, documents, historic maps and images, you’re invited to join us in exploring these layers of history together at the exhibit Filled In and Paved Over: Excavating the Layers of Field’s Point on view now at the Providence Public Library.
This exhibit was produced as part of Providence Waterways: a multimedia, collaborative, storytelling project by Doors Open RI. Through a combination of online and onsite experiences, Providence Waterways invites you to take a deep dive into place-based stories, sounds, and events that explore Providence’s water. To read the full story about the history of Field’s Point written by curator Traci Picard, check out our Providence Waterways StoryMap.