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An income-producing investment property built by a drug and chemical manufacturer, this double house, inspired by the city palaces of Renaissance Italy, recalls the scale and setting of many house lining major streets where the downtown commercial character made a transition into surrounding residential neighborhoods. In its largely original state, it conveys a sense of what this area looked like in the latter part of the nineteenth century and serves as a foil for what follows.

– 2003 Guide to Providence Architecture

The history of the Adie home is intricately linked to the history of the neighborhood it occupied. Federal Hill rapidly developed in the early 19th century as home to the city’s working class. Known as Rhode Island’s own Little Italy, Federal Hill soon became the cultural and business center to one of the nation’s largest Italian populations. In 1871, local drug and chemical manufacturer Alexander F. Adie built his home on a prominent site on Federal Hill in this vibrant neighborhood.

Like the Alexander F. Adie House, most of the buildings along Atwells Avenue, Federal Hill’s commercial artery, featured street level storefronts for their commercial activities and reserved the second and third stories for residences. Many of these buildings were abandoned in the last half of the twentieth century and spiraled into disrepair. Fortunately the neighborhood found great success thanks to its reputation for fine dining and a colorful atmosphere. At the time it was included on the Most Endangered Properties List in 2000 the Alexander F. Adie House, deteriorated and threatened by vandalism and arson, remained one of the few buildings to have not benefited from the recent revitalization of  Federal Hill.

LOST: It was demolished in 2014. As of February, 2019, the property is currently vacant.

© 2019 Guide to Providence Architecture. All rights reserved.
Design by J. Hogue at Highchair designhaus, with development & support by Kay Belardinelli.