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Jenks Park

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1890. 1904, Caroline Cogswell Tower, Albert Humes. Broad St. between Summit and Fales sts.

A modest memento of the civic consciousness spurred by the City Beautiful movement of the American Renaissance, these four acres are Central Falls's only park. The gift of Alvin Jenks, a descendant of the family which had been among the town's earliest settlers and one of its leading industrial families, this park contains the abrupt rock outcrop from which the Wampanoag chief Canonchet and his band spied upon the approach of their unsuspecting colonist victims in 1674. The visual interest of this much loved but underkept park is primarily folkish. Cement-paved paths snake around the ledge past two gazebos sheltered by huge iron umbrellas fabricated at the nearby Fales and Jenks machinery works. The climax is the Caroline Cogswell Tower, a clock and observation tower given by a former resident of this city and designed by the Pawtucket architect Albert Humes, who, as mayor of the city at the time, doubtless had an inside track to the commission. It is a simple, tapered form in rough stone with a pyramidal roof once surmounted by an eagle. Its most remarkable aspect, however, is the circular structure of thin metal pipe with a glass roof which surrounds the base of the tower. Its spindly fragility is so much at odds with the boulder tower as to make the confrontation interesting—appearing from below as a sort of Hula-Hoop to the tower. Lights strung from the top of the tower to the hoop make the community's Christmas tree. For the architectural pilgrim in search of a panoramic view, the tower, if open, would improve on Canonchet's advantage.

Writing Credits

Author: 
William H. Jordy et al.

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