Cranston Street Armory at the Dexter Training Grounds

Cranston Street Armory at the Dexter Training Grounds

The Providence Armory, a.k.a. Cranston Street Armory, is wonderful for a couple reasons.

First, it’s a major presence in the neighborhood with a beautiful and vibrant park in front of it. The Armory is the icon of the West End, even though there’s not much going on inside. Everyone has great ideas to do something with the building but nothing ever happens. In some ways, that exemplifies Providence to me: lots of ideas, and lots of wasted opportunities due to our government. The Armory and Dexter Training Ground are the heart and soul of the West End despite the problems.

Second, it’s yellow! Yes, the Armory is a large, overshadowing Medieval Gothic styled hulk, but if it were made of stone or even red brick it would be intimidating. But, no, the architects took it another direction. There’s an amusing incongruity between the almost soothing yellow brick structure and the tanks, cannons, and rifles that were previously stored within.

The Armory perfectly reflects the character of Providence; at once old and hidebound, but at the same time a little useless and off-kilter.

– John West