Archive for the ‘ Preservation ’ Category

filed under: Preservation | architecture

Federal Street House — PPS Endangered Property

10PM ON 20/03/2014
BY H.L. Parker

57 federal street The Providence Preservation Society has this building at 57 Federal Street on its Most Endangered Properties List this year.

Among the oldest buildings on Federal Hill, 57 Federal Street is a two story, 5-bay-facade, center hall-plan house with a single interior brick chimney and a central entrance with sidelights, located between Atwells Avenue and Broadway. While Federal era houses of this style are not uncommon on the East Side of Providence, the Federal Hill neighborhood was largely undeveloped grazing land before 1820.

While the existing door head may be a modern replacement, several of the building’s details remain remarkably intact including the building’s clapboards and window sash. Unfortunately, the house has been abandoned for several years, with broken windows on the second story leaving the building completely open to the elements.

Little fixer-upper needs love, soon. The house at 57 Federal Street is tucked between Pequot and Newton Streets. It’s an easy walk to Atwells, Broadway, and downtown; a person living here wouldn’t necessarily need a car.

filed under: Preservation | architecture

Ward Baking — 2014 PPS Endangered Property

12PM ON 25/02/2014
BY H.L. Parker

ward baking company New this year to the Providence Preservation Society’s Most Endangered Properties List is the unique Ward Baking Company Administration Building, vacant since 1993. Of the original complex,

All that remains is a two-story section of the complex at the corner of Eddy and Marengo. The entrance is flanked by sidelights and set below several bands of brick corbelling. This two-story block was part of the original building and appears on the 1908 Sanborn map. The blonde brick structure features projecting brick piers between each bay, topped with stone trim. Fenestration is comprised of rectangular openings with a combination of glass block and boarded up windows.

While other properties on the list suffer from daunting gigantism and/or inconvenient geography, this place seems like it could be something interesting pretty easily. All that’s needed is vision and money.

It’s official address remains 145 Globe Street, but it fronts on Eddy Street just south of the Point Street intersection. You drive by it all the time . . . as you rush to the RI Hospital emergency room. The brickwork around the door is kind of whacky.

filed under: Preservation |

PPS Most Endangered Properties List 2014

6PM ON 24/01/2014
BY Beth Comery

atlantic mills The Providence Preservation Society has released its 10 Most Endangered Properties List of 2014; some old friends are back but new this year is the State House lawn. Good call! Part of the lawn was hastily torn up last year to expand an existing parking lot — amazing how quickly government projects can move along when there’s the will. Who would even think that this property would need protection, but when a generally enlightened and sophisticated governor like Linc Chafee displays such philistine tendencies, it’s good to have the PPS shine a spotlight on it. Chafee received a year-end raspberry from ProJo editorial writer David Brussat, “A raspberry to Governor Chafee for ramming a new parking lot onto the lawn of the State House in the dead of night, without permission from the Capital Center Commission.”

Appearing for the third time on the list is the Atlantic Mills on Manton Avenue (seen here). What a crazy pile of bricks, and there are lots of interesting interior features and details. The location however . . . a little dicey. From the PPS MEP list;

One of Providence’s most highly visible and visually distinctive mills, it features almost-twin circular-plan stair towers topped with robust balustrades, high ribbed domes, and tall lanterns (one now missing). Otherwise utilitarian in design, a mill typically achieved architectural distinction through the ornamentation of its most prominent feature, the tower on its façade.

And check out Greater City Providence; they have a great photo by Jesse Burke of the interior of the Broad Street Synagogue.

filed under: Preservation |

PPS Annual Meeting — Speaker Jennifer Bradley

11PM ON 18/01/2014
BY Daily Dose

The Metropolitan Revolution (1.23) The Providence Preservation Society invites the public to their annual meeting on Thursday featuring the second installment of  ‘Not Always Easy: Building the New Urban Experience.’ Speaker Jennifer Bradley, a fellow at the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program and co-author of “The Metropolitan Revolution,” will discuss how cities can flourish and ultimately be the drivers for the next economy.

Jennifer Bradley has vast knowledge of the urban economy and local governments. As a fellow at the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program, she examines the critical role of metropolitan areas in the country’s economy, society, and politics. She has worked extensively on the challenges and opportunities of older industrial cities and has co-authored major economic turnaround strategies for Ohio and Michigan.

The annual meeting will also premiere the 2014 Ten Most Endangered Properties List and photo exhibit. A reception and book signing with Ms. Bradley follow her talk.

Free and open to the public, 5:30pm, Thursday, January 23, Salomon Center, Main Green off Waterman Street, Brown University, 401.831.7440, (directions)

filed under: Downtown | Preservation

Narrowest Downtown Building Getting Rehab

12PM ON 09/01/2014
BY H.L. Parker

arnold building Another cool old building is getting a second act. The Providence Journal reports;

The Providence Redevelopment Agency on Tuesday transferred ownership of the historic and vacant building, located just blocks from City Hall, to 100 Washington Street LLC, a private entity.

Developers Dave Stem and Lori Quinn, in partnership with the the Providence Revolving Fund will rebuild the structure. The city is providing $220,000 in federal block grant funding to help jump start the project.

This structure has been on the Providence Preservation Society’s Most Endangered Properties List for a couple of years.

Constructed in 1923 by a real-estate developer, the George C. Arnold Building is a three-story, brick-sheathed structure, typical of low-rise structures built in the area during the years following WWI. Only 12 ½ feet deep, it is the narrowest office building downtown. In September of 2009, a fire damaged the building, rendering it completely vacant. Few repairs have been made since the damage from the fire was incurred, creating a noticeable void in this active section of Washington Street.

That’s 12½ feet. The Arnold building is across from Lupo’s on Washington Street.

filed under: Downtown | Preservation

The Providence Arcade Starting To Open

8PM ON 20/10/2013
BY Daily Dose

The Arcade (10.21) According to the Arcade Providence Facebook page, retail tenants are preparing for a soft opening Monday at 10:15am on the Westminster Street side. The Providence Journal reports “Eleven of 17 stores in the historic Arcade will open Monday, and developer Evan Granoff will hold a ribbon cutting celebration at 10:15 a.m. to mark the day” adding “New Harvest, a coffee and whiskey bar, opened Saturday with its entrance on the side of the building.”

Now, about this plaque. The text reads as follows:

This site possesses national significance in commemorating the history of the United States of America

An important example of early monolithic granite construction, this is one of the most beautiful early commerical [sic] structures initiating [?] European business arcades.

It would seem that the National Park Service could use some copy editors.

filed under: History | Preservation

State Archives Now Online

1PM ON 17/10/2013
BY H.L. Parker

SoS Archives:Providence, RI Students, historians, journalists, and researchers can now go online and check out the state’s catalog of historically significant — and insignificant, but fun — records, documents, and images. Check out the current exhibit, “A Lively Experiment: Rhode Island’s Colonial Charter, 1661-1843.”

Commemorating the 350th anniversary of Rhode Island’s Royal Charter of 1663, this exhibit features an array of original documents including the 1721 recorded copy of the 1643 Parliamentary Patent that preceded the Charter, remnant sections of the wax and resin Great Seal of Charles II that was originally appended to the Charter and the legislative proceedings around the Charter’s arrival in Rhode Island and its first reading to the General Assembly. Other featured items include a published transcript of the Charter printed in England in 1719 and contemporary documents written in the hands of Roger Williams and John Clarke.

Keep in mind, you can see this full exhibit for yourself at the Rhode Island State Archives, 337 Westminster Street, through December 2013. The office is open weekdays from 8:30am to 4:30pm, and free, two-hour validated parking is available at the nearby In-Town Parking lot at the corner of Snow and Westminster Streets. And don’t forget to look up as you approach this fabulous building (seen here in December of 2008 being retouched, repointed, and restored).

filed under: Preservation | Thayer Street

Thank You Avon Cinema

9PM ON 11/10/2013
BY Beth Comery


Congratulations to the Avon Cinema on 75 years of daring, innovative, and fun programming — Harold and Maude, Queen of Hearts, This is Spinal Tap midnights, Blow Up, I Am Curious Yellow, The Happening — and that crazy Low Anthem concert that one time. (Do more stuff like that!) And thanks for building a theater in the middle of a neighborhood. That beautiful Avon marquee is a beacon above the increasing homogeneity of the streetscape below. We love you Avon.

filed under: Preservation | architecture

PPS Tour Of Gloria Dei

10PM ON 13/08/2013
BY Beth Comery

Gloria Dei (8.15) Swedish Lutherans and whacky light fixtures . . . who knew? These are truly awesome.

You’ve probably driven past Gloria Dei hundreds of times — it faces the entrance to the mall parking garage. This Thursday join the Providence Preservation Society for a tour inside and learn about the history and the architecture.

Swedish architect Martin Hedmark collaborated with the Providence firm of Jackson, Robertson and Adams in the design of this unusual structure. The church was founded by seventy-five Swedish immigrants in 1890; the congregation exceeded 700 by the 1920’s and had outgrown the original church on this site. Hedmark’s design for the church draws from precedents in his homeland and unifies this vernacular style with an elaborate Trinitarian iconography and traditional ecclesiastical format into the most architecturally noteworthy 20th-century church in Providence.

This week’s guide is Eric Inman Daum, a partner at Merrimack Design Associates Architects in Massachusetts. He currently sits on the Board of Directors for the New England Chapter of the Institute of Classical Architecture and Art, having previously served four years as President of the chapter.

$10 for non-members, 5:30pm, Thursday, August 15, PPS Tours of Sacred Places, Gloria Dei Church, 15 Hayes Street

filed under: Preservation |

PPS Tours Of Sacred Places

8AM ON 03/08/2013
BY H.L. Parker

broad street synagogue Join Robert Jaeger, President of the Philadelphia-based Partners for Sacred Places, as he conducts the Providence Preservation Society’s summer series, “Talk the talk: Walk the the walk — Tours of Sacred Places.” Both Partners and PPS intend to elevate awareness of the historic and often underutilized religious architecture for which Providence is so well known. This Thursday visit the Broad Street Synagogue.

Come visit the former Temple Beth El, designed by architects Banning and Thornton and constructed in 1910-11. Left vacant since 2006, this is a great opportunity to see this wonderful synagogue and hear about revitalization efforts. Tour will be guided by Adam Bush, Nathaniel Weisenberg, and Sam Seidel, organizers of building revitalization efforts.

In recent years, local university students have initiated a number of fundraising efforts to revitalize the building. Concurrently, this group is working with the Rhode Island Historical Society to conduct oral histories with congregants who worshiped in the building. Coming up later this month: Gloria Dei Church and First Baptist Church of Providence.

$10 for non-members, 5:30pm, Thursday, August 8, Broad Street Synagogue, 688 Broad Street

filed under: Preservation | architecture

Dynamo House Back From The Brink

9PM ON 30/06/2013
BY Daily Dose

dynamo house The 1912 Narragansett Electric Lighting House (a.k.a. South Street Power Station; a.k.a. Dynamo House) on Eddy Street has been on the PPSRI Most Endangered Properties list for two years running. The Providence Journal reports,

The University of Rhode Island, Rhode Island College and Brown University are moving to bring together programs in the vacant South Street Power Station as part of a $206-million project that could propel commercial development in the Jewelry District and the vacant highway land that divides the area from downtown. URI and RIC would combine to lease about half — roughly 120,000 square feet of space — of the hulking building at 360 Eddy St. for use by their respective nursing programs. Brown would lease about the same amount of space for unspecified administrative use, according to a Brown statement.

This is great news . . . hope the new owners know the basement is a little damp.

(Jef Nickerson has related links, the text of Brown President Paxson’s announcement, and comments over at Greater City Providence.)

filed under: Preservation |

Monohasset Mill Presentation

10PM ON 27/05/2013
BY H.L. Parker

Monohasset Mill (5.30) Rick Greenwood, Deputy Director of the Rhode Island Historical Preservation and Heritage Commission, will delve into the history and redevelopment of Monohasset Mill this Thursday at the Old State House on Benefit Street.

Built in 1866, the building first produced fancy cassimeres while operated by Paine & Sackett. Various companies occupied the building during the 20th century, and by the early 2000s, local artists were using the large open spaces as live-work lofts. This use spurred a massive rehabilitation project converting the Mill into Cheap canadian propecia multiple condominium units for local artists.

(The Monohasset Mill will be on the Providence Preservation Society’s Festival of Historic Houses Tour in June when artists and artisans who live and work in the adapted spaces will open their units (over a dozen) to visitors. Food trucks will provide food and drinks in the courtyard and in the adjacent Steel Yard.)

Photo credit: Erik Bright

Free and open to the public, 5:30pm reception, 6pm presentation, Thursday, May 30, Old State House, 150 Benefit Street

filed under: Preservation | architecture

T. Gunny Harboe Speaks At PPS Meeting

8PM ON 29/01/2013
BY Beth Comery

sullivan center (detail) (1.31) And the public is invited. So who or what is T. Gunny Harboe? Sounds like a Billy Bob Thornton character; or a football coach, or a roadie for Lynard Skynard; maybe an oil tycoon or a private eye. Why, you could be almost anything with a name like T. Gunny Harboe.

In fact, this Chicago native, and Brown alumnus, is an architect specializing in historic preservation and sustainable design and he will be speaking Thursday at the Providence Preservation Society’s Annual Meeting. Harboe was profiled last year in the Brown Alumni Magazine.

The nitty-gritty of preservation, especially when original elements have been lost, can include analyzing layers of paint and researching fuzzy old photos. Full-scale mock-ups must be created before on-site work can move forward. On rare occasions building codes and technical problems require design changes, but Harboe says he tries to minimize those.

Seen here is a completely out-of-control detail of the cast iron restoration in the Sullivan Center in Chicago — this is a job for T. Gunny Harboe! (Go here to view this and more of the work being done by Harboe Architects.)

Free and open to the public, 5:30pm, Thursday, January 31, List Art Building, 64 College Street, (directions)

filed under: Preservation | architecture

PPS Seeks Noms For Ten Most Endangered List

2PM ON 16/01/2013
BY H.L. Parker

KPT House The Providence Preservation Society is accepting nominations for properties on the brink.

Each year, the Providence Preservation Society (PPS) assembles the Most Endangered Properties List to highlight historic resources that are endangered by threats such as neglect, deterioration, demolition, development, insufficient funds, and adverse public policy. Our Historic Preservation Awards, on the other hand, recognize significant contributions to the preservation of Providence’s historic resources and the enrichment of its vibrant neighborhoods.

PPS relies on the public to be our eyes and ears in the community, helping to identify both threatened historic resources and admirable preservation projects in Providence. If you know of a building that is threatened, or a project that has brought new life to a building, please complete an online nomination form at PPSRI nominations.

There has been some recent good news for two buildings on the 2012 Ten Most Endangered Properties List: The Clarke Flower Shop was recently purchased at auction by real estate developer Peter M. Scotti; and there has been some renewed interest in the Dynamo House. Pictured here is the 1867 Kendrick-Prentice-Tirocchi House on Broadway if you’re looking for a little fixer-upper.

filed under: Preservation | gays

Meet The Author “A Passion To Preserve” At Athenaeum

8AM ON 12/10/2012
BY Daily Dose

passion to preserve (10.12) As part of the 2012 Providence Preservation Society symposium, “Not Always Pretty: Behind the Façade of Historic Preservation in Providence” the Providence Athenaeum will host Will Fellows author of “A Passion To Preserve: Gay Men as Keepers of the Culture.”

The important role of gay men in the Historic Preservation movement has long been an open secret. Assuming the more acceptable guises of eccentric antiquarians, urban pioneers, collectors, or bachelor decorators, they have frequently been at the forefront of saving, interpreting, and advocating for our material and architectural heritage. Join us for a discussion of this little known but essential part of the history of preservation in America. Books available for sale and signing.

Little known? Doesn’t seem like much of a secret at this point. And on behalf of the straight people of the city of Providence I would like to say “Thank you, Gays!” (Bachelor Decorator should be the name of a show on Bravo.)

Free and open to the public, 5pm to 7pm, Friday, October 12, Providence Athenaeum, 251 Benefit Street (fb)

filed under: Music | Preservation

Low Anthem To Play Columbus Theatre “Revival!” — Nov 17

10AM ON 10/10/2012
BY Beth Comery

columbus “Revival!” an evening of local music and food will consecrate the reopening of the venerable and notorious Columbus Theatre on Broadway. There are two performance spaces now. The main stage will feature Low Anthem and Brown Bird; and the Columbus Upstairs — the 199-seat room in the theater’s balcony — will feature Alec K. Redfearn and the Eyesores, Roz Raskin and the Rice Cakes, Sugar Honey Iced Tea, and Vudu Sister. Ben tells how this came about,

One year ago Jeff was eating a pizza on the corner of Broadway and America, gazing curiously across the street at the looming, shuttered bulk of the Columbus Theatre. . . “OPENING SOON,” on the weathered marquee, a tired and ironic staple of life on Broadway.

This theatre had seen everything . . . From the glorious heights of opera to the survivalism of it’s XXX film years, it has hosted everyone from Lightning Bolt to Julie Andrews.* It has been the subject of endless first amendment law suits. It has been over the years lobbied, condemned, bent and bargained for like a cherished property of Monopoly America. Jeff’s pizza was getting cold. He nodded (warm but businesslike) to the crossing guard and went to see a cellphone about a man [owner Jon Berberian].

A thing led to another thing and I can’t tell you what because I’d have to kill you, but let’s just say, the Columbus Theatre has become a rehearsal and recording home for we of The Low Anthem. It is a dream. We have set up shop in the 1930′s dance and acting school above the Broadway marquee. It is a magical place to work, replete with ghosts of bygone projectionists, world-class, double-proscenium acoustics, pop-corn machines, and enough ju-ju to drown a goo-goo.

Also on the schedule: the Moth-machine will fly; a mystery guest; food from Julian’s Omnibus and Nice Slice Pizza; and beer from Revival [natch] Brewing Company. Half of the profits from the concert will go to the ongoing restoration, and half will be donated to Atraves, a local nonprofit helping Nicaraguans build a better life.

*Love the juxtaposition of these names; ironically, it was Julie Andrews who eventually blew out her vocal chords.

$20 general admission (tickets), doors 6pm, music 7pm, Saturday, November 17, Columbus Theatre, 270 Broadway



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