The Manton Gateway is a small green-space on Manton Avenue, providing easy neighborhood access to the bike path, a landscaped respite for RIPTA riders waiting for their next bus, and access to an active neighborhood skate park and street art zone. Learn more here about how to support WRWC’s efforts to continue revitalizing community around the Woony!
What We Have Now
- 2.4-acre state-owned bike path entry, sloping steeply down to the river
- Landscaped plaza with trees, shrubs and granite benches
- Skate & BMX park with street art zone on re-purposed building foundation in lower area
- Abuts the Narragansett Electric property that runs along the east bank of the river
- Directly across the river from Buttonhole Golf Course, a short hole golf course and driving range
- A bridge connects the Manton Gateway to Buttonhole Golf Course (once called Dyerville Park)
- Handicap accessibility (though easier access exists at Hillside Ave and Riverside Park)
- 3.4 miles to Waterplace Park in downtown Providence
- 1.5 miles to Lyman Ave at the northwest end of the bike path
How We Got Here
- Manton Gateway (once even named Manton Miracle!) is a site owned by the RI Department of Transportation that once was the site of an abandoned storage facility.
- Before the Greenway, the site was a drug hang out, infested with rats, and a neighborhood blight. WRWC (then the Woonasquatucket River Greenway Project or WRGP) led efforts with neighborhood residents, community groups, and DOT to design and implement a plaza to replace the storage building, becoming a gateway to the Woonasquatucket River Greenway.
- WRGP worked with children from the Manton Recreation Center to help maintain the space before further funding was available. The kids, neighbors and Recreation Center found it difficult to sustain the maintenance without the help of the WRGP. So WRGP continued to work to find ways to maintain this area, keep neighbors engaged and keep it from falling back into blight.
- Over the years, WRGP became WRWC, and in 2008, the portion of the bike path nearby was completed, and later, the Manton Skate Park was built. Councilman Correia worked to bring a skatepark to the neighborhood, purchasing equipment in hopes of finding a home. The original locations didn’t work out due to neighbors thinking they didn’t want a skate park nearby. However, WRWC saw the potential and knew the need of youth looking for a place to play. In 2013, WRWC partnered with Councilman Correia to build the skate park along the Greenway on one of the old storage building foundations remaining.
- Manton Gateway & Skate Park now offers a shady respite to people waiting for busses, a fun hangout zone for skateboarders and BMX bikers, and a creative outlet for street artists. This gateway continues to change, so keep your eyes open for further updates!
Visit our timeline for more major milestones of the Greenway & WRWC!
Manton Gateway & Skate Park Industrial History
- Manton was primarily a rural, agricultural region throughout the 1700s and 1800s.
- One of the original owners during this period was Edward Manton, who established his homestead in 1683.
- In the early 1800s, the region became highly industrialized. Textile mills, tanneries, factories, and other industries established themselves along the banks of the river. Industrialization relied heavily on the river for water supply and power to operate textile mills.
- Industrialization relied heavily on the river for water to power/operate machines and carry away waste.
- Company-sponsored housing and related industries began to line the river banks as the mills flourished and spread out along the river corridors.
- Elisha Dyer, a successful Providence commission merchant, founded Dyer Mill in 1835. By 1849 the mill employed 30 men and 35 women who turned out 800,000 yards of calico cloth a year. Calico cloth is a plain, closely woven cloth made in solid colors on a white or contrasting background, that is often used for aprons and dresses.
- Industrial development increased along the river around the mid-1800s due in part to improved transportation facilities such as extending railroad lines that ran along the river. Trains allowed direct access to the mills along the river for delivery and distribution of raw materials and the shipment of finished goods.
- By the end of the 1800s the Manton neighborhood had become heavily industrialized.
- The industrial base remained until World War II. The textile industry experienced a dramatic decline because low labor wages in the south drove industries to move their businesses south. This decline resulted in plant closures and job dislocations for many Manton residents.
- The closing of textile plants encouraged the flight of Manton’s working-class from the neighborhood to the suburbs.
- Residents of Irish ancestry was the largest group through the first half of the 1900s. During the first quarter of the 1900s and after WWII, a significant number of Polish people migrated to the region. By 1946, there was also a substantial group of Italian-Americans who had settled in the Hartford and Manton areas as well. Immigrants from various European countries also resided in the region.
- In 1953, the city built Manton Heights, a 330 unit housing project to fulfill and obligation to provide public housing for Providence. During the 1970s and early 1980s, the Manton Heights public housing complex had fallen in disrepair and was revitalized in 1990.
- Manton’s population nearly doubled between the years, rising from 1,406 in 1980 to 2,584 in 1990.