Providence, Rhode Island

The Western Portal of the East Side Railroad Tunnel stands as a captivating and abandoned relic in Providence, Rhode Island. It is now sealed and abandoned.

Location Added By:

Tom Riley (GoXplr Account)

About This Location

The Western Portal of the East Side Railroad Tunnel stands as a captivating and abandoned relic in Providence, Rhode Island. This tunnel, which runs beneath the East Side of Providence, was once a vital part of the city's transportation infrastructure, but now lies dormant, echoing with the whispers of its bygone era.

The East Side Railroad Tunnel, stretching an impressive 5,080 feet under College Hill from Gano Street to just west of Benefit Street, was inaugurated on November 16, 1908, at a cost of $2 million. For nearly seven decades, it served as a conduit for rail traffic, connecting different parts of the city until the cessation of all rail services in 1976. Since then, the tunnel has remained abandoned, a silent witness to the changing landscape above.

The Western Portal, located near the intersection of Gano Street and Amy Street, presents a mysterious entry point to this subterranean world. Once an essential transportation artery, the tunnel now stands as a testament to the city's history and progress.

In 1982-1983, the viaduct leading from the West Portal to downtown was demolished, marking a significant change in the tunnel's surroundings. The short open-air approach beyond the portal underwent a transformation into a parking lot, serving as a reminder of the altered urban landscape above the hidden tunnel.

A notable incident occurred at the Western Portal on May 1, 1993, when a group of students gathered to celebrate Beltain-May Day. What started as a festive occasion took a tumultuous turn when clashes erupted between students and security officers attempting to disperse the gathering. The ensuing confrontation involved tear gas, thrown objects, and allegations of satanic rituals, resulting in the eventual closure of the tunnel portals. The entrances were sealed with corrugated steel, and any prospect of the tunnel returning to public use became increasingly elusive.

Despite sporadic attempts to reopen the site for art and performances, and occasional calls by Providence city officials to repurpose the East Side Tunnel for light rail, no formal projects have materialized. The portal doors, welded shut, stand as barriers to a past era, encapsulating the tunnel's rich history and the stories of its interaction with the city above.

Today, the Western Portal remains visible from the main road, offering a tangible connection to the city's past. While the future of this intriguing entrance and the tunnel it guards remains uncertain, the East Side Railroad Tunnel continues to evoke a sense of wonder and curiosity, inviting passersby to contemplate the impact it had on Providence in the early 20th century.

Location Features

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North Main Street, Providence, Rhode Island

GPS Coordinates:
41.828111, -71.408361
Directions to location:
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Directions to parking area:
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Parking Notes:
Ample roadside parking is available right near the tunnel entrance


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