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Posts Tagged ‘downcity’

If you walk frequently in the same area, you notice more things.

The other day it occurred to me that Providence has an unusual number of public clocks — and they all have the right time.

The clocks below are in a block or two of one another.

I wondered about the green freestanding clock with curlicue writing spelling out “Shepard.” An Internet search brought up the Providence Architecture website at Brown University.

“A historic, notable element of the Shepard Building is the late 19th century cast-iron clock, which still stands in front of the building on Westminster Street.”

And the Shepard Building? Turns out it’s a former department store that once covered a whole block and now houses the downcity campus of the University of Rhode Island.

The very tall clock is at Johnson & Wales University. My favorite clock is the one that looks like something from Alice in Wonderland. It suggests to me that although “the time is out of joint,” it will all be OK in the end.

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I really like the architecture in downtown Providence, otherwise known as “downcity.” I like that the façades of old buildings are often preserved to enhance next-generation buildings and that some old buildings are adapted in their entirety for new purposes. Even if a building is rather pedestrian, some artist will add a flourish.

And isn’t it great to live in the time of the Internet and be able to find answers to almost anything that’s puzzling? For example, what’s with the guy wearing a turban on one downcity building?

Well, Wikipedia says that in the early nineteenth century, a shopkeeper called “Jacob Whitman mounted a ship’s figurehead above his store. The figurehead, which came from the ship Sultan, depicted the head of an Ottoman warrior. Whitman’s store was called ‘At the sign of the Turk’s Head.’ The figurehead was lost in a storm, and today a stone replica” is found on Turk’s Head Building’s building’s 3rd floor façade.

Wikipedia also notes that when the 16-story building was completed in 1913, it was the tallest in the area and considered a “skyscraper.”

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