Providence Preservation Society’s 2018 Most Endangered Properties

In Buildings by Greater City Providence8 Comments

Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church image from Google Street View (even the tree outside is endangered)

Since 1994, PPS has worked with concerned neighbors, preservationists, and activists to develop the annual MEP List. The list is comprised of architecturally and historically significant properties in Providence deemed in threat of deterioration, neglect, or demolition. Its purpose is to generate interest in and support for the preservation of significant structures; to educate the public about the benefits of historic preservation and the extraordinary architectural resources in Providence; and to foster creative collaboration among property owners, developers, and other interested parties to bring about positive changes to each property.

2018 Most Endangered Properties List

  1. Industrial Trust Building (aka Superman Building)
    111 Westminster Street, Downtown (1928)
  2. State House Lawn
    90 Smith Street, Capital Center, Downtown & Smith Hill (1901)
  3. 5 Brown University Buildings in Path of Proposed Performing Arts Center
    College Hill

    • Leonard M. Blodgett House, 127 Angell Street (1853)
    • Edward J. Cushing House, 129 Angell Street (c. 1849)
    • Lucien Sharpe Carriage House, 135 Angell Street (1885)
    • Norwood House (aka Benjamin Stevens House), 82 Waterman Street (1857)
    • 86 Waterman Street (1857- 1875)
  4. Water Supply Board Building
    552 Academy Avenue, Mount Pleasant (c. 1908)
  5. Gustave F. Mensing House
    216 – 218 Adelaide Avenue, Elmwood (c. 1897)
  6. Rhodes Street National Register District
    Upper South Providence (c. 1850s- 1890s)
  7. Parcel 1A, South Water Street
    I-195 Redevelopment District, East Side
  8. Knight Memorial Library
    275 Elmwood Avenue, Elmwood (c.1923)
  9. Broad Street Synagogue (aka Temple Beth El)
    688 Broad Street, Elmwood (1910)
  10. United Presbyterian Church
    619 Chalkstone Avenue, Smith Hill (1895)
  11. Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church
    12 Spruce Street, Federal Hill (1925)
  12. Earnscliffe Woolen Mill/Paragon Worsted Co.
    25 & 39 Manton Avenue, Federal Hill (1898 and later)
Read more about each propery on Providence Preservation Society’s website.
Map of the Most Endangered Properties

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Comments

  1. Hope the State House lawn is mentioned due to the encroaching parking and not the proposed move to make the lawn symmetrical. I am told there are drawings that suggest this was the original intention, however was changed to accommodate a now antiquated and totally obsolete (and some would argue superfluous) heating plant. If we persist in arguing for the preservation of inconsequential aspects of our built heritage we are shooting ourselves in the foot. This would not even be an issue in Boston, NY or Philadelphia. Anyone familiar with the City Beautiful movement or the work of McKim, Meade and White would surely understand that the lawns lack of symmetry is an anomaly. The land freed up by doing this is vital to the integration of our piecemeal transit system and to finally riding the lawn of unsightly parking lots.

  2. Super lame that they included the State House lawn and Parcel 1A, there is nothing on those properties.

    I want to see Providence Station have thousands of apartments near, next to, and on top of it. The opportunity to draw Boston commuters to this area is there, and the land that was proposed for development was not even part of the original vision of the State House lawn.

  3. If everyone would check out the PPS website, you’d see that the concern with the State House lawn is indeed with encroaching structures compromising its symbolic and practical import—no mention of symmetry.

  4. PPS really jumped the shark here. No mention of the damn parking lot built on the lawn, but they’re against shaving off the asymmetrical bit for road realignment and for development? LAME.

    Also, the most recent proposal for 1A is a pretty good one. I mean, we haven’t seen what the street side of the structure would look like, and I’m definitely not a fan of the surface parking aspect, but if those can be sorted out, there is nothing wrong with having a building there. It brings a human presence to the river walk, and considering the huge parking lot across the street, it would reduce how utterly vacant that space feels at night.

  5. With high prices, high energy costs, congested old narrow roads, history is an asset that RI needs to sell itself, so congrats to PPS for trying to protect our heritage. And while I’d like to see economic development near the train station, RIDOT hasn’t had much getting developers interested. We certainly do not need to take any of the lawn for another bus hub there congesting the area further, KP is the hub most passengers actually want to use and there are already 5 very frequent bus lines going to the station area. (R,50,55,56,57)
    Brown should be persuaded to build elsewhere and not take the buildings in #3 and I hope all interested in maintaining the beauty of the city’s vitally important East Side will try to help PPS in this.
    The Industrial Trust Building is worth trying to save but is there any hope? The automobile age makes this kind of project in a city of Providence size a hard sell since the great god parking is so hard to satisfy and we mostly think transit is just for the poor.
    With regard to the Water Supply Bldg on Academy Ave, with water rates rising its hard to see why the Water Supply Board was allowed to spend $$ on a new headquarters, but the PUC always seems to rubber stamp their spending.

  6. I ask myself, if I had the money to buy/rent a place in the Superman building, would I really want to? As an art object, the building is beautiful, a work of high craftsmanship. But as a place to work or live given the other options out there, I’d want something closer to the ground with some green space behind it. In New York or Boston, large companies and dense, industry-focused neighborhoods necessitate tall buildings, but in a city like Providence, we only have a handful of large companies and there’s no demand on them (or desire for them) to choose a tall building over say, a large office park building in Smithfield.

  7. I’d work in the Superman building in a heartbeat. Location, ascetic, the history. I took a tour and the inside is in much better condition than the press leads you to believe. There are plenty of older buildings in Providence, in the same neighborhood that are older and are still in use. I don’t understand it.

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