New this year — the Babcock House at 145 Lexington Avenue. The annual Providence Preservation Society (PPS) has issued its latest Most Endangered Properties List and while it includes some stubborn old repeats, it is heartening to note that a few past perennials are now success stories*. Seen here is the William R. Babcock II House, circa 1893. There is a sizeable carriage house at the end of the driveway.
Unusual for its rubble-stone façade and turreted tower, this late nineteenth-century Elmwood property was designed by architect H. K. Hilton. In recent years, it has suffered from vacancy and vandalism. The house is located within the Northern Elmwood local historic district, meaning that a demolition application or proposed changes would be reviewed by the Historic District Commission. It is also a contributing property in the Elmwood National Register District, however this designation is purely honorary.
Though unique in its design, this house represents the rich late Victorian building stock from Elmwood’s era of peak transformation and urbanization. Its loss would diminish the historical architectural fabric of this south Providence neighborhood, where many grand turn-of-the-last century residences have already been lost.
*Two wondrous piles, the Barnaby Castle and the Wedding Cake House, both on Broadway, are coming along just fine, but they are huge projects. But one former entry has been transformed within less than a year; in fact, the old Bomes Theatre will be the site of this year’s PPS Winter Bash on February 23! We wrote the theater up last April when the news of its purchase was being celebrated. Look at that gorgeous terra cotta trim now! The finishing touches are still being applied.