PPS Most Endangered Properties 2016
Every January the Providence Preservation Society releases an updated ‘Most Endangered Properties’ list. Sadly there are some very familiar faces on the current list — the Cranston Street Armory, Atlantic Mills, the Industrial Trust Building — monumental properties in need of deep-pocketed collaborations and some sort of government subsidy. (Dynamo House gives us hope, but as they say in the real estate biz, the three most important things are location, location, location.)
But check out this much smaller, totally doable, project at 334 Smith Street — you’ve probably driven by it a thousand times. Returning for a second year is the 1855 Sheffield Smith Building.
One of the oldest houses in this section of Smith Hill, the Sheffield Smith House was constructed by a quarryman in 1855. With a five-bay façade and ornate central-entrance, the 2 ½ story building has an impressive presence on the streetscape. Italianate detailing includes the hooded front door flanked by heavy brackets and a round-arch central window. The façade also features substantial two-story pilasters dividing the bays, with clustered brackets serving as capitals.
New to the list this year is the Barstow Stove Company on Point Street and three historic middle school buildings. (The restoration of Nathan Bishop on Elmgrove Avenue proves that these old brick piles can be upgraded for modern educational needs.)
A new feature at the PPS website is a 3-minute, bird’s-eye video of the properties courtesy of Scott Palmer at SkyBuzz who sent his drone swooping around the Atlantic Mills, the Wedding Cake House, and even the Superman Building (where I’m sure Mr. Palmer would never ever go during nesting season because although my money would be on the falcons, I wouldn’t want to be standing underneath that particular dogfight.)