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Built in 1901 as a grammar school, the Grove Street Elementary School was constructed during a period of massive immigration. The building was a massive two-story, T-shaped, brick structure on a granite foundation with a hipped roof and impressive chimney. It featured brick quoins on the corners and modillion blocks at the cornices. The two entrances, originally separate for boys and girls, were recessed within arched openings, embellished with brick corbelling and keystones. Architecturally, the school signified a distinct presence among the multi-family homes of quiet Grove Street.

Despite the fact that the building was listed as contributing to the significance of the Broadway-Armory National Register District, its owner began to demolish the building in order to replace it with a parking lot. The February 3, 2007, partial demolition of the school was conducted without a permit and in violation of a stop-work order. The police stopped demolition before it was complete. The City of Providence took the owners, the Tarro family, to court, seeking restitution and possibly restoration of the building to pre-construction condition. At the February 27 hearing, a judge ordered that the building and rubble be covered with a tarp and that the grounds be secured with a fence. A restraining order was imposed on the Tarros in order to protect the school until the court ruling.

The school was listed with two other turn-of-the-century schools (Manton Avenue/Fruit Hill and Potters Avenue schools) on the 2002 Most Endangered Properties list. The Potters Avenue School was converted to residential use while the Manton Avenue/Fruit Hill School was demolished in the fall of 2002. The adaptive reuse of the Potters Avenue School proved the viability of conversion for these structures, while the loss of the Manton Avenue School only heightened the importance of preserving remaining historic school buildings.  In addition to National Register listing, the building was included in the Industrial and Commercial Buildings District (ICBD), which provided for Historic District Commission review of major alterations and demolitions and allows for a 30% State Tax Credit for eligible projects.

LOST: Though it was included on MEP lists between 2002-2011, the building was ultimately torn down after Hurricane Sandy exacerbated structural issues caused by partial demolition and years of exposure to the elements.

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