Preservation Society (PPS) and the Rhode
Island Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission (RIHPHC)
sponsored an update of the Providence Industrial Buildings Survey,
first published by the RIHPHC in 1981 under the title Providence
Industrial Sites. The 1981 survey was conducted by RIHPHC
in cooperation with the Mayor’s Office over a period of several
years. The survey report (1981) contains information on the industrial
development of the City, specific information on individual buildings,
and re-use information and recommendations for the rehabilitation
of industrial resources (the 1981 report can be viewed online at
Twenty years later, the need for an update has arisen
as a result of recent interest in the City’s industrial buildings
and their re-use/rehabilitation potential. The new landmark designation
(link to city planning site for Industrial and Commercial Buildings
District guidelines) and recent changes to the State Tax Credit
has piqued further interest in the reuse potential of these structures.
The survey update represents one step in a long-range attempt to
preserve the industrial resources that have been such an integral
part of the City’s heritage.
The specific purpose of this project is to document and
prepare baseline information on selected historic industrial and
commercial buildings in the City constructed prior to 1960. The
project was designed to provide the documentation necessary to consider
the sites for inclusion in the Providence Industrial and Commercial
Buildings District (ICBD). For a list of properties included in
the ICBD and questions regarding the ICBD, please contact Jason
Martin at the city planning office (401-351-4300).
The survey team used information obtained from the
Providence Department of Planning and Development to locate historic
resources. This information included a list of historic industrial
and commercial resources and preliminary Geographical Information
Systems (GIS) mapping showing property location. These items were
used in the identification of industrial resources in the field.
Each property included in the survey was field checked, photographed,
and researched using both local and state repositories. The basic
level of information gathered during the survey included locating
each property on a base map (current city plat maps), recording
an address and estimated or exact date of construction, and at least
one black and white photograph. Additional information collected
included style and type of construction, number of stories, building
materials, roof configuration, number and type of additions, outbuildings,
window and door placement and configuration, and setting.
Historic maps and atlases and city directories were
reviewed in order to document the history and use of each resource.
Secondary sources of information included existing surveys and historic
building data sheets on file at the RIHPHC. (Please refer to the
survey bibliography for a complete listing
of sources of information.)
The information contained in this survey can be used
to guide future planning and decision making. Specific data is available
to developers considering investment opportunities in Providence:
certified rehabilitation of these historic industrial sites, which
are eligible for state and federal tax credits, possible loans,
and other economic incentives. The research will help developers
work with city, state, and federal government offices to develop,
evaluate and approve preservation-sensitive rehabilitation work.
A listing of incentives available for property owners has been compiled
in order to aid owners, developers, and others in the successful
rehabilitation of these resources.
The project was overseen by PPS, with Mary
Kate Harrington, Director of Preservation Services, preparing
all written documentation for the final report and survey products.
Ms. Harrington was aided by Patrick Ross of the Mayor’s Office,
who assisted with background research and photography, and interns
and volunteers John Audet, Michael Gorun, Alyssa Nordhauser, Samuel
Snead, Erica Soscia, Victoria Thompson, and Gregory Wallace. Jon
Ozbek of the Department of Planning and Development created the
original list of properties to be included in the survey. RIHPHC
staff Richard Greenwood and Robert O. Jones provided review of survey
materials and the final report.
The Providence Preservation Society would like to thank The
Providence Plan for partnering with the Society to make this
information available online.