Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Trivial remarks for 1904

Park Commissioners Report of 1904. Only tangential Lovecraft remark is an Arbor Day celebration with Hope Street High School participating. Very unlikely Lovecraft participated. It does give you a sense of the milieu of the day.

The bronze gates at the Klnnvood Avenue entrance in memory of Miss Anna II Man have l een erected over seven tons of bronze metal being used in their construction These gates are massive artistic and imposing in their appearance and are a fitting tribute to the memory of the late Miss Man whose generous gift to the city in trust the income thereof to be expended in the care and improvement of this park will never be forgotten On the granite posts on each side of the main entrance are to be placed bronze tablets on one the inscription The Anna Hawke Man Memorial 1903 on the other a medallion head of Miss Man in low relief taken from an oil painting in the possession of Mrs Josephine Allen There seems to be a wrong impression among some of the people of the city in regard to the spelling of Miss Man's name but as the lettering on the tablet corresponds with her own signature there seems to be no doubt as to which was the correct way The full middle name was obtained from Mrs Allen who kindly consented to search among Miss Man's papers for it and who very courteously permitted the oil painting to be photo graphed for the purpose of obtaining a true likeness for use on the tablet The fishing in the lakes which were opened to the public for this purpose on the first of July last has proved very attractive and afforded much pleasure to hundreds of our citizens without injury to the lakes in any respect and incidentally has yielded quite a revenue which is used in beautifying and improving the park Your Commissioners would state that there is need of more iced water drinking fountains for the accommodation of the thousands of people who visit Roger Williams Park in the summer season and that at least four more of these fountains should be erected The Park Museum still attracts a large number of people

seeking information from its library and numerous exhibits Provision lias recently been made for the cases so long needed for the exhibition and preservation of its varied and valuable collections That popular interest in the Museum docs not abate is indicated also by an attendance equal so far as can be ascertained to any previous year namely about seventy five thousand persons Fifty one schools visited the Museum and there were more than three hundred applications for specific assistance in matters mineralogical or zoological as appears by the daily records Recently there have been many calls for catalogues With the limited and unsystematic exhibitions of past years they have not been possible but with the better finished conditions about to he established a publication of some sort would be of great advantage to the public and if a small charge was made it would eventually pay for itself Indeed if funds are available a small quarterly magazine may be issued devoted to a consideration of the Museum its advantages and requirements with Rhode Island natural science matters in gen eral The distribution of such a publication to similar institutions at home and abroad would bring many superior returns With the arrival of new furniture a system of checking should be established whereby food cigars skates canes umbrellas and packages may be in the future excluded from the exhibition rooms Under the authority of a joint resolution passed by the City Council and approved April 7 1903 the contents of the I ark Museum were insured against loss by fire to the amount of i l ii The Arbor Day exercises of the year were more fully attended than ever before the weather conditions in contrast with the year preceding being perfect The English Classical Hope Street and Manual Training High Schools holding their exercises in the morning the Grammar Schools uniting and planting one tree in the afternoon It is the intention of Ihe Commissioners to have suitable labels

placed on the trees giving tin English and botanical names and also where the varieties arc indigenous Your Commissioners would recommend the planting of trees and shrubs as may be necessary for properly improving and embellishing the park In order that this work may be done in an in telligent manner it is the intention of your Commissioners to employ some landscape architect of well known ability and reputation to design a planting plan the work can then be carried on from year to year by the purchase of trees and shrubs as the funds in the hands of the Commissioners will permit or raised in the nursery connected with the park Several thousand shrubs and a few hundred trees are now growing in the nursery nearly all of the shrubs having been raised from cuttings during the last two or three years On July 4th the usual balloon ascension took place from the plateau north of the Casino and was one of the most suc lcssful ascensions ever made here The receipts of the year have increased quite largely over those of the preceding year One of the largest sources of this increase was the returns from the fishing privilege Ten new boats aul twelve skill's have been added to the fleet The Hock of Southdown sheep have been kept up to the usual high standard Early in the season owing to short ness of feed and a lack of room quite a number of the flock were sold These were largely the culls of the flock Conduits have been laid and connections made for placing underground all the electric wires running to the buildings The various buildings have received attention from time to time in the way of repairs and refurnishing as was neces sary to keep them up to the usual standard The concrete walks near the Casino which had been repaired several times and which were in a very poor condition were relaid and put in first class order The waiting room near the Broad Street entrance which

was donated to the Park by the Rhode Island Company jmd which has not been in use for several years should be moved to the termination of the electric car line on Miller Avenue During the summer and also in the skating season several lines of cars run on this avenue up to the park boundary It is thought that fully one third of the people who visit the park in the seasons when the cars are running come by this avenue The high bank on the northerly side of Miller Avenue has been sloped covered with loam graded and seeded nearly its full length In doing this work a bed of gravel of the best quality for repairing the drives was found and thousands of loads have been utilized for this purpose The large tract of laud lying northerly of Park Avenue and adjoining the park on the southeast has been platted into house lots The opening up of this laud for building has made necessary the opening of four new entrances into the park as provided for in the deed from Edmund T Taft to the City of Providence As was mentioned in the report of last year the menagerie is still in a very depleted condition Baby Roger who had grown to be a pretty large baby during his ten years of life at the park was sold early in the year as lie had shown symptoms of developing viciousness The money thus obtained was deposited in the city treasury for the purchase of a small female elephant as his successor The matter of widening Elmwood Avenue from the city line northerly through the park from sixty to eighty feet in width is now being agitated the City Council having lately appointed a joint committee to investigate the subject This will be a much needed improvement as the passageway for teams near the entrance to the park is in a very congested condition The curbing of this portion of Elmwood Avenue is held in abeyance until the question of widening is settled

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