HISTORIC INVENTORY SURVEY METHODOLOGY
Local and state repositories containing materials
pertinent to the project were searched to identify existing documentary
resources. The survey team reviewed available secondary sources
to develop an understanding of important themes, trends, and events
that shaped Providence’s industrial heritage and gather information
about the types of resources likely to be encountered in the field.
The 1981 Providence Industrial Sites Survey served as a primary
source of information for the survey update. Copies of historic
maps were collected and reviewed to provide information about development
patterns and aid in locating and identifying buildings for survey.
Other sources of preliminary information included Sanborn Fire Insurance
Atlases, located at the City Archives, and local directories, located
at the PPS Resource Library, the Providence Public Library, and
the City Archives. At a minimum, each property was researched through
a thorough analysis of late nineteenth and early twentieth century
atlases, Sanborn Insurance Atlases, and city directories.
Additional information collected included historic
photographs and views from the Rhode Island Historical Society (RIHS)
and assessor’s field cards and tax records for properties
included in the survey.
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.
During this phase, the survey team created a database to input both
field and research data. Information entered into this database
was used to prepare the final survey documentation.
Intensive Field Work
The survey team met with staff of the RIHPHC to review the field
data sheet to be used in the field for survey. Following the agreed
upon data sheet, the survey team began field survey, which extended
from October 2001 through December 2001. The basic level of information
gathered during the intensive 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. The information
collected corresponds to pertinent structural data required for
the completion of RIHPHC building data sheets.
Following the Intensive Field Work, black-and-white
photographs and contact sheets were developed and labeled with name,
address of each property, date of photograph, and roll and frame
number. These photographs, as well as completed field survey sheets,
and preliminary background information were presented to RIHPHC
staff over the course of three meetings. The field survey team worked
with RIHPHC staff to review each property for its potential inclusion
on the State Register of Historic Places. A list of properties that
did not appear to meet the eligibility requirements for state listing
was prepared by the survey team and submitted to RIHPHC staff. A
total of 16 (sixteen) properties were included on this list.
Following this review, the survey team and representatives
from the RIHPHC met with City Planning staff and staff of the Mayor’s
Office to review the proposed properties to be included in the Landmark
District. The survey team continued to work with City Planning staff
to provide information on individual properties to insure the successful
passing of the City Ordinance. The Industrial and Commercial Buildings
District (ICBD) (see appendix) is under the purview of the Providence
Historic District Commission (PHDC), which has guidelines that come
in to effect only if there is a proposed demolition, a major alteration,
or work on over ten percent of the structure or exterior elevations.
This intensive research includes site-specific research into the
history of individual properties. The research focused on obtaining
important information to establish the historic significance of
selected properties. Among the sources consulted for historical
information were published local sources, Providence Board of Trade
Journal articles, historical maps, city directories, Providence
Journal articles, and local informants. The information from the
fieldwork and research was incorporated into the survey data sheet
prepared for each property.
Additional data collected on each property included
estimates of gross and rentable space, identification as to whether
specific sites are located within other existing local and National
Register historic districts, greenways projects, etc. Information
from the report and survey will be coordinated through the City’s
GIS coordinator for inclusion in the City’s information management
Final Work Products:
All survey products were prepared according to RIHPHC
standards for surveys and meet the requirements of both the National
Park Service and the RIHPHC. The final phase of the survey process
involved preparing the final forms for each resource and producing
the survey report. Two copies of the final survey report will be
submitted to the RIHPHC for their review and inclusion in the inventory
files. Included within the report are the following:
• original RIHPHC data sheets with black-and-white
photographs for each property;
• a set of current City plat maps with each property identified;
• a summary list of inventoried resources, including property
name, street address, and plat and lot designations;
• and one set of negatives for the photographs in the report.
In addition, brief individual reports on all properties
were prepared and included within the report. This additional information
is presented in a narrative format followed by copies of photographs
and city assessor’s maps.
The survey research was input by PPS into an Access
(relational database) database which can be updated to reflect any
future changes to the building(s) and will aid in the preparation
of final GIS mapping. The database also includes a key to photographs,
name(s) of current property owner(s), and locational information
on each property (address, map/lot).
The report also includes information on the various
incentives available for redevelopment, including the recently adopted
commercial tax credit. This information has been provided by the
Department of Planning & Development.
The information contained in this report will be
used to guide future planning and decision making. Specific data
will be 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 draft of the final report was submitted to
the RIHPHC for their review in December 2002. Comments received
from RIHPHC staff were incorporated into this final report. (Comments
received from RIHPHC staff are included in the Appendices section
of this report.) PPS is currently working with the City and RIHPHC
to disseminate the information contained in this document to mill
owners, developers, preservation advocates and others. PPS hopes
to provide the information prepared for the survey to as wide an
audience as possible.