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Rocky Point Amusement Park, Warwick RI
Ömür Harmansah

Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology



Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology & the Ancient World
Brown University
Box 1837 / 60 George Street
Providence, RI 02912
Telephone: (401) 863-3188
Fax: (401) 863-9423
[email protected]

This work is part of our project Industrial Ruins of Providence: an ethnography of place, currently within the bounds of the course ARCH 1800 Contemporary Issues in Archaeological Theory taught at Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World of Brown University in Spring 2008. Participants of this project are Ashley Greene, Marguerite Deloney, Tom Leppard, Keffie Weiss, Alex Knodell, Brad Sekedat, Katherine D'Auria, Reem Yusuf, Evie Ansel and Omur Harmansah.

Contact: [email protected]


Mini manifesto about industrial ruins

"One could say that, in its world-forming capacity, architecture transforms geological time into human time, which is another way of saying it turns matter into meaning. That is why the sight of ruins is such a reflexive and in some cases an unsettling experience. Ruins in an advanced state of ruination represent, or better they literally embody, the dissolution of meaning into matter. By revealing what human building ultimately is up against -natural or geological time- ruins have a way of recalling us to the very ground of our human worlds, namely the earth, whose foundations are so solid and so reliable that they presumably will outlast any edifices that we build on them."

Robert Pogue Harrison, The dominion of the dead 2003: p. 3.

We understand industrial ruins as marginal, heterotopic places, "badlands of modernity" in the urban landscape in the Foucaultian sense. These are places where the utopic ideals of the functionalist spaces of modernity have failed, producing abandoned eerie places, where new, rich, creative, and heterogenous human micro-practices (such as graffiti) take over and reconfigure the industrially and industriously planned environments. These are places where state ideology and cultural practices of the inhabitants of the city clash. These are poetic places where collective imaginations and social memory flourish. These are places where our clean and healthy and comfortable urban selves are put to question. They are mirrors of our safueguarded humanity. They are burial grounds of modernity. In this very context, an investigation of these places with an archaeological and ethnographic sensibility seems to be most productive, and that's what we are after here.

Uploaded Image Image source: Photo by Frank Ricci. September 2006. This structure was demolished at the time of our visit in April 2008.



Gray family pictures. Rocky point part in October 2006. There is also some fascinating video footage there.

Rocky Point Park at

Rocky Point amusement Park News

Remembering Rocky Point: Theme Park Page

Art In Ruins - Rocky Point Amusement Park

New England Amusement Parks of Yesterday

Necessity for Ruins Rocky Point Site

Local artists' small installation at Rocky Point

"Did you know? Rocky Point was once the site of Warwick Neck Fort (1776 - 1780's). This strong Patriot fortification was built to prevent the British from landing troops that could make a land advance against Providence." (



Hannigan, John; 1998. Fantasy City: Pleasure and Profit in the Postmodern Metropolis. Routledge.

You must be this tall: the Story of Rocky Point Park - a documentary.

Josiah Search for Rocky Point

Rocky Point Park by Paul Gross. Poem, written on the occasion of the owners' decision to close the amusement park in January, 1996. Limited ed. of 26 lettered copies, all signed by the author/artist. The ill. features a roller-coaster and seagulls; to right: 1/14/96 Paul Gross. Printed at Kinko's on gold computer paper; early proofs prepared on a Macintosh computer using white computer paper.

Rhode Island's Amusement Parks (Images of America (Arcadia Publishing) (Paperback) by Rob Lewis (Author), Ryan Young. # Publisher: Arcadia Publishing (SC) (October 1999) # ISBN-10: 0752413023 # ISBN-13: 978-0752413020. I ordered this (Omur-April 24th), should be in within a few days.


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Poster: Rocky Point, New England's Most Beautiful Amusement Park

A map of the park in 1980s.

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