Framing the eastern side of the intersection of Empire and Washington Streets are two delicious glazed-terra-cotta confections, erected at a time when this medium for exterior cladding was reaching its peak of popularity. John Hutchins Cady’s design for the retail outlet of America’s most distinguished marque is similar in form and materials to showrooms elsewhere (like the four-story building formerly at 61st and Broadway in New York), most designed by Albert Kahn. Recently rehabilitated after years as a pornographic book shop (and not a good one at that), it now animates the area like its vivacious neighbor across the street, William R. Walker & Son’s motion picture theater was the city’s most elaborate until Loew’s. At the center of the facade, a large triumphal arch, animated by pale green trim striped across its base and stippled across the upper stories, stand in relief from the wall surface and frames the principal entrance. The triumphal-arch form has a long tradition of use for grand arrivals, and the festive quality of this hints at the pleasure to be enjoyed within. Since the early 1970s this has been the home of one of the country’s finest repertory companies, Established in the 1960s at Trinity Methodist Church. Any diligent Providence tourist will make attending a performance here a must.
– 2003 Guide to Providence Architecture