Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Photo of the Day: The Arcade, Providence, RI

I came across this structure on a bus tour of Providence on my visit to the city a month and a half ago. The building fascinated me for a few reasons.

First, that name, “The Arcade”—inevitably, bringing to mind the high-school newspaper in my northern New Jersey hometown where I spent many hours.

Second, the building’s claim that it’s “the nation’s oldest indoor shopping mall.” Well, that depends on what your definition of “indoor shopping mall” is. If you’re talking about a climate-controlled building anchored by a department store, with adequate provision for cars—in other words, the kind of building we know today— then the first of those structures did not come along to the 1950s.

But  this is an enclosed shopping emporium with a center atrium--a historic structure, built in 1828. It really does feel like a throwback, with its Greek Revival columns, granite walls and classic facades. 

So much of downtown Providence has changed over the years, but this National Historic Landmark endures, still luring shoppers to Westminster and Weybosset Streets.

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