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Much lies beneath the surface of the Reservoir Triangle, a former industrial neighborhood with a hidden pond. Reservoir of Memories conveys some of the lore of Mashapaug Pond and the mysteries concealed within its depths. Through collecting stories, memories and objects connected to the pond and its surrounding communities, we seek to understand: 

What makes this place what it is?

The neighborhoods around Mashapaug have undergone many changes since indigenous people settled around the Pond. We primarily explored the past 100 years: how the industrial, recreational and social uses of the Pond and land around it have changed—from the Gorham Manufacturing Company to the present day remediation efforts. Work, the environment, play, and a sense of justice have brought people together at Mashapaug. A place of natural beauty, the Pond continuously has encouraged community connection and reflection even as people have exploited its resources and polluted its shores.  

This website is part of a project conducted by Brown University students in Anne Valk and Holly Ewald’s course, Oral History and Community Memory. It is a digital collection of oral history interviews, images, and research that have connections to the Reservoir Triangle area in Providence, Rhode Island. In the class, we interviewed individuals who live in and care about this place. Conducting the interviews allowed us to explore the meanings of Mashapaug Pond, and help create dialogue among people with connections to the area. The course culminated in an exhibit, Reservoir of Memories - A Community Collection about Mashapaug, which took place on December 9th, 2011. In May of 2012, we will launch a traveling exhibit to bring these stories to new audiences in Providence and beyond.

We built this site in order to continue the conversations about the area beyond our classroom and exhibit, and allow a wider audience to take part in the experience. For those who have already gone to the original exhibit or its traveling version, this is also an opportunity to take a second look at the objects on display, or spend some more time with the vivid stories that our interviewees have shared.

By uncovering the rich history of Mashapaug Pond, Reservoir Triangle, and the Gorham site, and raising awareness of the current environmental challenges, we hope that our project will increase public commitment to the well-being of the area.  And we hope this collection will continue to grow to include more stories and missing perspectives about life on and around the pond.

Please share your questions, comments, or memories of the area with us at memoryreservoir@gmail.com.