A Providence Icon: The Stuck Up Bridge
Ever wondered what’s up with that railroad bridge over the Seekonk River that’s always in the raised position? It’s called the Crook Point Bascule, a now defunct rolling lift bridge occasionally called the Stuck Up Bridge.
It was built 110 years ago as part of the East Side Railroad Tunnel project that served to connect the old Union Station downtown along the New York/New Haven/Hartford Railroad line. Trains used it to cross into East Providence until 1976 when rail usage began to decline. The bridge was left in the raised position and abandoned, more or less.
Since then the structure has remained mostly the same with just some of the wooden aspects rotting away. Decorated with graffiti the Stuck Up Bridge now acts as the backdrop for many a film project, a dare fulfilled, rumored college initiations, and sadly some suicides. Over the years plans to tear it down or renew it into a viable form of public transit again have come and gone. Thus far none of those have panned out.
So why haven’t we gotten rid of a rusting, geriatric eye-sore yet? Because that’s not how most people see it. Originally it was probably just cheaper to leave it up instead of dismantling it. But over the years this piece of urban decay began to feel as familiar as the Superman Building or Brown University’s gates. It stands steadfast over the river with its oxidized iron blending and cutting against the Providence sunsets.
There’s something to leaving it untouched though. Yes, there is zero point to keeping the bridge intact. If fact you could argue it’s at best useless, at worse a hazard. But honestly, there’s a certain amount of comfort that comes from having the bridge up. Very few things in life are always there when you need them. I think we PVDers see that bridge standing tall on our good days and on the bad ones - It’s consistency in an inconsistent world. It’s the architectural equivalent of comfort food or our own little metal mountain. And, it never moves, so we always know where the horizon is.
However you see it, that bridge has made its way into Providence’s pop culture and it doesn’t look like it’s leaving anytime soon.
Thanks for reading!
+ Colin Carlton