PPS releases 2020 Most Endangered Properties list

PROVIDENCE – The Providence Preservation Society released its 2020 Most Endangered Properties list on Monday, highlighting 10 historical buildings or structures that are at risk due to neglect, demolition or deterioration.

The list, released each year, is designed to generate interest in historical properties in the city and potentially to save properties on the list. The PPS also revealed the list at its annual meeting on Jan. 23.

“Providence is known far and wide for incorporating its rich history and bold art into its bright future,” said Mayor Jorge O. Elorza in a statement released along with the list. “Each year, the PPS Most Endangered program shares the story of our city through its most treasured gems while encouraging creative approaches to bringing them back to life. As we continue to build our reputation as a world-class city, these historical sites are not only reflective of where we have been, but of all the places we have yet to go.”


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This year’s list includes:

  • The Industrial Trust Building, (known as the “Superman building”), built in 1928, located at 111 Westminster St. The building has been on the list since 2014 and was said to be at risk of demolition by neglect.
  • The Axelrod Music Neon Sign, built circa 1950s, located at 251 Weybosset St. The PPS said the sign is likely over 70 years old. The PPS identified the sign as vulnerable and called for it to be designated as a landmark.
  • Citizens Bank and adjacent buildings, built in 1921, located at 870 Westminster St. The property’s threats were said to be vacancy and redevelopment.
  • The Broad Street Synagogue, also known as Temple Beth El, built in 1910, located at 688 Broad St. The PPS identified the building’s threats as vacancy and neglect. The property was on the list in 2010 and has remained on the list since reappearing in 2014.
  • Crook Point Bascule Bridge, built circa 1908. The drawbridge, which pans the Seekonk River, was said to be threatened by deterioration, vandalism and demolition. The demolition of the bridge was part of the R.I. Department of Transportation’s 10-year plan recently.
  • The R.I. State Board of Public Roads, built in 1931, located at 30 Arline St. The building was on the list in 2008, 2009, 2012, 2014, 2015 and has returned for 2020. The property was said to be vulnerable to vacancy, vandalism and neglect.
  • Commercial Building, built circa 1890s, located at 1107 Westminster St. The property was said to be vulnerable, and is threatened by demolition by neglect. The building was damaged by fire in 1967 and 1998, after which the building has been vacant.
  • Interstate 195 Redevelopment District Parcels 42 and P4. The inclusion is a stance against the plans for The Fane Organization’s Hope Point Tower, calling it a threat of inappropriate development.
  • The Water Supply Board Building, built circa 1908, located at 552 Academy Ave. The building’s threat was said to be an uncertain future. The property has made PPS’ list three years in a row.
  • Providence Public School buildings. The PPS used the Hope High School Auditorium, built in 1938 and located at 324 Hope St., as a representation. The citywide listing cited the Johns Hopkins Institute for Education Policy report that found the state of the schools in Providence to be in terrible shape, including crumbling buildings, peeling paint, asbestos and water quality problems. The auditorium was listed as being threatened by neglect and 30-year-old fire and water damage.

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  1. No doubts that the PPS is an excellent organization that makes a significant contribution to the community, but sometimes their focus is too much on the limelight rather more prosaic efforts. Case in point is their opposition to the Fane tower which is based strictly on their “opinion” of architecture as opposed to anyone else’s including mine. Are they so eager to weigh in on subject because it’s become a cause celebre ignoring projects more impactful but overlooked by the populace and press. For example, where was the PPS when the abomination of the ugly two level, metal parking structure was put up on Pine Street adjacent to the the historic building that houses Capriccio restaurant?? This small structure does more damage to the historic character of Providence than the huge Fane tower ever will. Yet what did we get then from the good people of the PPS – we got the the sound of crickets.