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West Fountain >> Rising Sun

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West Fountain >> Rising Sun

Providence's West Side

I did a walk through part of Providence's West Side today, here are some of the photos I snapped along the way.

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West Fountain Street

Starting just west of Downcity near the Providence Public Safety Complex, West Fountain Street is marked by old industial buildings, parking lots, and auto body shops (with scary attack dogs!).

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Someone buy this for me, pretty please!

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A controversial development would replace this building with mixed income housing and retail

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Project Description: The project is a mixed-use, 6-story masonry building with 4 floors of residential condominiums, a lobby, basement and 1st floor parking and storefront commercial spaces along West Fountain Street. The new building would have 82 units, 8 of which are affordable with 109 parking spaces and approximately 8,000 sq. ft. of retail space. The proposed building at its tallest, the South and West facing faccades, is approximately 76

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Olneyville

Providence's Olneyville neighbourhood is most often associated with the word ghetto, and the association is sadly pretty apt. Although the neighbourhood is beginning to turn around. Artists are investing in the area taking ownership of spaces before they are forced out by developers. And the developers are moving in quickly. I think in 15 years, the ghetto moniker will be a fading memory for the area.

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It's obvious that Olneyville Square used to be a retail center for the west side of the city. Sadly the area was hacked up when Routes 6 and 10 were pushed through to the south and east of the square. The area also suffered from white-flight in the second half of the 20th century, and the retail followed out to the suburbs. Today, Olneyville Square is a great place to pawn something, or buy sex toys.

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I want to say that there's a Citizens Bank in this building, if only there were a sign so that I could be sure...

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An old branch of the now defunct Rhode Island Hospital Trust Bank now houses the Olneyville branch of the Providence Public Library.

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I just know there's some nice old facades under the mid-century mangling given to the first floors here. Thankfully, there is a new program that will help property owners get funding to renovate their facades.

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This corner is almost the exact twin of a corner of Brattle Square (near Harvard Square) in Cambridge, MA. Except there's no Kennedy Fried Chicken in Cambridge (there is in Queens though).

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The Woonasquatucket River flows through Olneyville on it's way to Downtown and Narragansett Bay. The city's storm drains are tied into the river, and during heavy rains, the storm drains overflow into the river. In October there was geavy flooding along the Wonnasquatucket and you can see all the trees and shrubs along the edges are filled with debris, it's a major cleanup job.

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Along Manton Avenue parts of the urban fabric have been ripped out and replaced by suburban style spawl.

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This, in my opinion, is one of the best buildings in Providence. It has been allowed to fall into disrepair and now houses discount furniture warehouses. I suspect this condition won't last too long. Old mill buildings like this are being redeveloped in Rhode Island at a frantick pace, mostly becoming trendy loft apartments.

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A great brick building on Chafee Street.

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Any Breeders fans out there?

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The Plant

The Plant is being redeveloped into live/work space and commercial space.

UP UrbanPlanet The Plant thread

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The smokestack at The Plant will be partially rebuilt and a metal sculpture will wrap it.

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Rising Sun Mills

Rising Sun Mills is a mixed use redevelopment of former mill space along Valley Street. It's substantially complete and tenents have been moving in.

UPUrbanPlanet Rising Sun thread

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This last photo is looking across Lonigan Park from Valley Street next to Rising Sun, it's at this point that my batteries quit, so this is the end.

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Thanks for the pics and the map and route too. That's something I never really thought of doing before with any of my 'picture tours'.

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Nice phototour. I have to say that some parts of Providence remind me of a European city, especially the ones with the belgian pavement.

And, with all those brick mills, the city definitely resembles the old English industrial cities like Manchester, Sheffield etc.. (BTW, they have mostly removed the old mills in these cities nowadays).

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Very nice tour, C.

Felt like home :D ...

I'd kill to buy that building you noted near the beginning, but $700k. Ouch!

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$700K for that is a steal :P These areas remind me A LOT of some of the neighborhood centers around Grand Rapids like Heritage Hill and Cherry/Lake/Diamond. Great stuff! Is the West Fountain area an historic district? It looks like in some of the renovations they are using period-color paint. Nice shots :)

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Is the West Fountain area an historic district? It looks like in some of the renovations they are using period-color paint.

I don't think the West Fountian area is a historic distric in and of itself. However in Providence we have the countries first non-geographic historic district covering our mill buildings. Non-geographic in that it covers a building regardless of where it is, not in a geographically defined district. The Carpenter Mill pictured is likely part of that district. Providence is also the only city to have it's entire downtown listed as on the National Register of Historic Places. The city's East Side features many historic homes with plaques denoting their age and their original owners (these are called 'plaqued houses') the West Side doesn't have any program like this, yet. The period paint colours are very much in vogue up here, but I don't think there are any regulations directing owners to use them.

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The city's East Side features many historic homes with plaques denoting their age and their original owners (these are called 'plaqued houses') the West Side doesn't have any program like this, yet. The period paint colours are very much in vogue up here, but I don't think there are any regulations directing owners to use them.

The area of the tour is not in a historic district, though parallels the Broadway Historic District. The historic plaques are citywide - there are dozens if not hundreds of "plaqued houses" in the Fed Hill, West Side, and Elmwood/Southside sections of the city. I'm sitting in one right now in Elmwood.

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The historic plaques are citywide - there are dozens if not hundreds of "plaqued houses" in the Fed Hill, West Side, and Elmwood/Southside sections of the city. I'm sitting in one right now in Elmwood.

Really? I've never noticed any plaques outside the East Side. Are they the same design as the ones on the East Side?

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Really? I've never noticed any plaques outside the East Side. Are they the same design as the ones on the East Side?

I think (don't hold me to this) that the Providence Preservation Society sells them. I think that as long as a structure qualifies with certain criteria (age, faithfulness to the original design, condition, etc) that you can buy the plaques from the PPS. I think it's a major fundraiser for them. Apparently, being "plaqued" can raise the value of your home on the market to a significant degree.

- Garris

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I think (don't hold me to this) that the Providence Preservation Society sells them. I think that as long as a structure qualifies with certain criteria (age, faithfulness to the original design, condition, etc) that you can buy the plaques from the PPS. I think it's a major fundraiser for them. Apparently, being "plaqued" can raise the value of your home on the market to a significant degree.

- Garris

Yep, thats more or less correct. The fee also includes historical research and whatnot to get the original builder or owner for the name on the plaque.

The design is the same. Most of the houses on Broadway have them, and there are many many scattered throughout the neighborhoods, particularly in the historic districts, but really all over.

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