Column: Bill Warner, due diligence and history

Waterplace pedestrian bridge along the river walks in Providence.

Waterplace pedestrian bridge along the river walks in Providence.

The Rhode Island Senate has passed legislation, Senate Bill No. 2255, to rename State Bridge No. 1181 — known as the Providence River Bridge — as the William D. Warner Memorial Bridge.

Perhaps, in the waning days of this session of the General Assembly, the House will pass its own version of the bill. Legislators often talk about “due diligence” required for major legislation. Naming the Providence River Bridge for the late Bill Warner, who died in August 2012, is the due diligence required by history.

Who was Bill Warner? He designed Waterplace Park and the river walks from Waterplace to Confluence Park, where the Woonasquatucket River joins the Moshassuck River to form the Providence River, and beyond to Memorial Park. He designed the dozen arched vehicular and pedestrian bridges along the way, and the parks and the river walks that extend the waterfront toward Narragansett Bay.

And Bill Warner designed the Route 195 Providence River Bridge itself. That does not entitle him to have it named for him. Most bridges are not named for their designer.

[To read the rest of this column, please visit The Providence Journal.]

About David Brussat

This blog was begun in 2009 as a feature of the Providence Journal, where I was on the editorial board and wrote a weekly column of architecture criticism for three decades. Architecture Here and There fights the style wars for classical architecture and against modern architecture, no holds barred. History Press asked me to write and in August 2017 published my first book, "Lost Providence." I am now writing my second book. My freelance writing on architecture and other topics addresses issues of design and culture locally and globally. I am a member of the board of the New England chapter of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art, which bestowed an Arthur Ross Award on me in 2002. I work from Providence, R.I., where I live with my wife Victoria, my son Billy and our cat Gato. If you would like to employ my writing and editing to improve your work, please email me at my consultancy,, or call 401.351.0457. Testimonial: "Your work is so wonderful - you now enter my mind and write what I would have written." - Nikos Salingaros, mathematician at the University of Texas, architectural theorist and author of many books.
This entry was posted in Architecture, Architecture History, Providence, Rhode Island, Urbanism and planning and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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