Richard Condit

Header photo

I visited Providence for two days in early December, 2016, because Sue had a conference there. I had not been in the city since I visited Frank Stewart at Brown University sometime in 1986. Frank and Bruce Levin worked together on populatio models, and he joined a paper I did when I was Bruce's post-doc (link to article below).

our hotel
arcade built 1828

Our hotel was downtown, just off the river, so the older parts of the city were near. The first morning, I walked the central area and crossed the river, finding older buildings. Many were late 19th century, but the arcade is even older. The 1855 Twenty building on Westminster is six stories. Along the Providence River there is a memorial to the Irish people forced over during the famine.

Turk's Head skyscraper
1855 skyscraper

In the afternoon, after Sue was out, we walked across the river and through the Brown campus. This took us past several of the old houses in the city. In the evening, we went to a Providence Bruins hockey game, just a block or so from our hotel. They beat Binghamton 6-2.

Irish Memorial
Gaspee Builing
Brown campus
Providence Bruins
Conrad Building
Wayland Building (1873)

I took most of the day to explore while Sue was in the conference. I walked around past the capitol building, the modern Amtrak Station (Skidmore, Owings and Merrill), around the confluence of the two rivers just above downtown. Then I got a taxi up the hill past Brown and around to the eastern end of the main harbor. I walked along the harbor back toward town and eventually up through downtown and back to the hotel.

State Capitol
Train station

The walk along the harbor included a history tour. At the east end was where Roger Williams arrived after being tossed out of Massachusetts. The harbor itself was a busy port prior to the 20th century, but it now has only old wooden docks that are decaying away.

Treadwell House 1783
Williams landing

On the west side, where the Providence River enters after passing through downtown, there is a substantial flood-control gates. During the 1938 hurricane, high waves plus tide backed up the river, which was high from rain, and downtown was flooded. The purpose of the gates is to keep the ocean outso the river can flow.

Flood control

Walking back across downtown, I found other buildings on the south side I had not seen the day before. The 1985 Tilden-Thurber Building was designed by Shepley, Rutan, and Coolidge, as conspicuously advertised by a plaque at its base. I know their names from the Art Institude in Chicago, but had forgotten they were based on Boston.

Shepley et al.

Condit, R., Stewart, F., and Levin, B. 1988. The population biology of bacterial transposons: a priori conditions for maintenance as parasitic dna. American Naturalist 132:129–147.