1.   Historical note

2.   Scope and content

3.   Provenance

4.   Inventory

5.   Subjects

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 India Point Park Records

 Providence, R.I.

 Records, 1969-1993

 Size: 0.5 linear feet

 Catalog number: MSS 1101

 Processed by: Rick Stattler, August 2002

©Rhode Island Historical Society

Manuscripts Division


Historical note:

            Providence's India Point Park was the brainchild of Mary Elizabeth (Evans) Sharpe (1884-1985). The land had for many years been occupied by a junkyard, abandoned railroad tracks, and other industrial uses. The state acquired some of this land in 1967, and the India Point Park Committee was formed by Mrs. Sharpe and several residents of the neighboring Fox Pont neighborhood. In 1969, Mrs. Sharpe offered the City of Providence a very large matching gift if they would acquire adjoining property and develop it into a park. By 1970, her daughter-in-law Margaret B. "Peggy" Sharpe began playing the larger active role in seeing the project to completion. Albert R. Veri was appointed as the landscape architect of the project in 1970, and Mary Elizabeth Sharpe's $153,240 check was delivered to Mayor Doorley on March 30 1971. The park was opened to the public with a gala dedication on September 8 1974. Because of its waterfront location and dock facilities, it was a popular destination for visiting historic vessels, and its wide expanse of grass made it an ideal spot for concerts and summer festivals. However, the park otherwise had low daily usage due to limited pedestrian access, erosion problems, a minimal maintenance budget, and increasing criminal activity. These concerns were addressed by architect William D. Warner's 1987 "India Point Park Master Plan," and the park has in recent years become a more popular resource for Fox Point residents and the people of Providence as a whole.

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Scope and content:

            This collection consists largely of Margaret B. Sharpe's working files on the India Point park Committee, and on its Surveillance and Maintenance Committee and Dock Committee. Included are correspondence, minutes, notes and a copy of the 1987 master plan. Of particular interest are letters from most of the leading Rhode Island political figures of the 1970s, including a copy of a letter to Mary Elizabeth Sharpe from nephew John H. Chafee, then serving as Secretary of Navy, signed "Johnny," dated July 17 1969; letter to Chafee from Robert M. Schacht dated January 7 1970; Chafee's response dated January 12 1970; copy of congratulatory letter from President Richard M. Nixon, February 6 1970; copy of a letter from Sen. John O. Pastore, September 12 1970; copy of a letter from Sen. Claiborne Pell re the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Eagle dated June 19 1974; and an original letter from Mayor Vincent A. Cianci Jr. regarding trailer repairs dated September 23 1976 (in the "Surveillance and Maintenance" file). Mary Elizabeth Sharpe's personal vision for the park is spelled out in a July 5 1972 letter to Mrs. Edward P. Jastram.

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            These papers were a gift of Margaret B. Sharpe in 2002.

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Box 1, folder 1. Files, 1966-1968

Box 1, folder 2. Files, 1969

Box 1, folder 3. Files, 1970

Box 1, folder 4. Files, 1971-1972

Box 1, folder 5. Files, 1973-1974

Box 1, folder 6. Files, 1975-1979

Box 1, folder 7. Files, 1980-1989

Box 1, folder 8. Files, 1991-1993

Box 1, folder 9. Files, undated

Box 1, folder 10. Dock Committee / Ship Committee - Notes, 1975-1979

Box 1, folder 11. India Point Park Master Plan, 1987

Box 1, folder 12. Lists of committee members, donors, VIPs, circa 1972-1977

Box 1, folder 13. Surveillance and Maintenance Committee - Minutes and notes, 1975-1980

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Chafee, John H., 1922-1999

Cianci, Vincent A., Jr., 1941-

Fox Point (Providence, R.I.)

Nixon, Richard M., 1913-1994

Parks - Rhode Island - Providence

Pastore, John O., 1907-2000

Pell, Claiborne deB., 1918-

Providence, R.I. - Social life and customs

Sharpe, Margaret B.

Sharpe, Mary Elizabeth (Evans), 1884-1985

Veri, Albert R.

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