I guess it’s progress


To the Editor:
Regarding Tammie Dickerman’s letter of July 11 “The Main Avenue, Greenwood East section has lost much in community to the Providence airport. Many living here have no awareness of the history. The Plains Grammar School District #3 predated the airport by many decades. It taught many of the farm children in Greenwood East. A small train station was at the bridge to take local produce to Providence. The Tusketucket Brook flowed through the future airport land; it’s now buried in pipes under the runway. Back in 1950, 35 homes and 90 acres of land were condemned for airport extension.
Some criticize by saying we knew the airport was there, why did we move in? My great-great-grandparents and my great-grandparents would have looked askance being told flying machines would land on their Plains farms. These settlers left progeny who chose to stay in Greenwood East as their home.
Airport personnel and Peggy Malcolm, chair of the Warwick Historical Cemetery Commission, deserve much thanks for restoring the graves of those buried between 1830 (Revolutionary War veteran) and 1908 – until the “curve,” lying within the airport fence.
My family lived in a tenement house on the corner of Morse and Main Avenue when I was born. No pizza restaurant or convenience store was there, just a field where Dick Jones parked his oil trucks. Across the field was my Aunt Hazel’s house, built by her brother, Fred. If I was lucky I would walk over and catch my uncle in the Plymouth coupe as he was going three streets down to Mason’s Dairy for milk. They didn’t need eggs from my Aunt Sade’s farm next to Mason’s as they had their own hen house, one of several on the block.
As I sit in my yard and witness the heavy traffic flying down off the bridge toward the partially-marked crosswalk just a half block away, I can’t imagine this being “progress.” Recently, a pedestrian was killed – the second time on the block. But when the RIPTA bus takes the turn to go north to the airport, I hear the automatic on-board PA announcement, “Caution, bus is turning.” I guess that’s progress.

David Cole Matteson Sr.


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