Providence, RI

The worst hurricane to hit New England in recorded history struck on September 21, 1938. People in Providence found themselves in the midst of a devastating storm virtually without warning.

The so-called “Florida cyclone” killed some 600 people in New England and did at least $306 million in damage in 1938 dollars (about $3.5 billion today). The storm’s intensity, direction, and timing combined to flood Providence with a 20-foot storm surge.

The flood and the fear of similar future events prompted calls for restricting the ocean’s ability to flow into the Providence River. Another severe hurricane struck in 1954, and construction on the Fox Point Hurricane Barrier began in 1960 and was completed in 1966. Located 750 feet upstream from Fox Point in Providence, where the Providence River flows into the Narragansett Bay, the Fox Point Hurricane Barrier serves two central functions. First, it serves to retard high tides from potential storm surges in Narragansett Bay, and second, it maintains river flow so that water levels do not get too high behind the barrier. The barrier can be seen from Corliss Landing

Fig: Corliss Landing1. Collier Point Park

This site, owned by Narragansett Electric Company, is on Henderson Street and is open from dawn to dusk. Parking is available.

  • Trash receptacles

2. Waterplace Park

This 4-acre park features a 240-footdiameter pond and reconstructed riverwalk in the heart of downtown Providence along the historic waterfront. This site hosts outdoor concerts and, on spring, summer, and early fall evenings, is also the location of WaterFire, an installation by artist Barnaby Evans that centers around a series of 100 bonfires that blaze just above the surface of the three rivers that pass through the middle of downtown Providence.

  • Handicap access, picnic tables/ benches, concessions, trash receptacles

3. Corliss Landing Corliss

Landing is a small city park on South Water Street with several benches facing the Providence River, the Narragansett Electric Plant, and the hurricane barrier that was built to protect downtown Providence from flooding during a hurricane. The park is surrounded by shops and restaurants of the Old Harbor District and is close to downtown Providence. Only streetside parking is available.

  • Hiking/walking, trash receptacles

Fig: Providence4. India Point Park

This city park on India Street offers views of downtown Providence and the city’s working waterfront. A bulkhead provides protection for asphalt paths and grassy areas for jogging, walking, and playing ball. India Point Park is a pleasant place to bring a lunch and enjoy a view of the Providence River from one of the many wooden benches or picnic tables. The dock for the Block Island Ferry is also located here. Parking is available.

  • Handicap access, trash receptacles

5. Richmond Square Parking Lot

This parking lot at the end of Pitman Street offers no facilities but has a scenic view of the Seekonk River. A 10-foot-high bluff makes this a possible fishing spot. Several steep paths make it possible to access the cobble shoreline.

  • Hiking/walking

6. Blackstone Park

This 40-acre city park has 2,400 feet of shore frontage on the Seekonk River. It is located on the East Side of Providence, just north of Richmond Square, at the end of Waterman Street. The park is equipped with benches, picnic tables, and trash facilities. Winding paths and streets provide pleasant routes for jogging, fishing, and bicycling. Parking is limited to roadside spaces.

  • Wildlife observation