Exuding French classicism, the highly inflected exterior of this prepossessing building proclaims its importance. Architects Peabody & Sterns were among the country’s most prominent and were widely published practitioners at the time this was built. The swaggering confidence of this building reflects both the background of designer Robert Swain Peabody, a graduate of Harvard and Paris’s École des Beaux-Arts, and the pre-eminence of the state’s leading newspaper. The Building’s presence on the street was calculated (and enhanced at the time of completion by electric lights that outlined principal architectural details), especially in the days when news was received principally from the newspaper office, usually through the print medium, but also, int the instance of late breaking stories, through telegraph communications received at newspaper headquarters, where crowds would gather, for example, to hear election returns. The rapidly growing newspaper remained here for fewer than thirty years, and in the 1950s the building was misguidedly sheathed in porcelain-enamel panels. As concern for Downtown’s historic buildings increased in the 1980s, developers Joseph Cerilli and Joseph Mollicone restored the exterior of one of Providence’s best early twentieth-century commercial buildings.
– 2003 Guide to Providence Architecture