Apartment buildings began to appear in Providence during the second and third decades of the twentieth century. Most, like this one, were masonry buildings three stories high arranged in broad “U” or “E” plan. Generally located in neighborhoods of choice, they were usually occupied by newly married couples, single individuals, and older couples who had given up a larger house.
– 2003 Guide to Providence Architecture
The Whitmarsh Apartment Building was constructed in 1914 according to the designs of architect Frank W. Wood. It is a three-story, Tudor Revival-style, brick-and-stucco building with a U-shaped plan enclosing a shallow court. The building was one of the earliest apartment buildings built in the city and the first in the Elmwood neighborhood. Its architect specialized in the design of apartment buildings and was responsible for the designs of four other apartment buildings in Providence during this period: the Minden (123 Waterman Street); the Buena Vista (228 Blackstone Boulevard); the Washington (98 Irving Avenue); and the Lafayette (380 Lloyd Avenue). The building’s original owner, Manuel F. Williams, was a jewelry manufacturer. According to Elmwood neighborhood residents, this apartment building had a history of very poor maintenance. Its deteriorated condition not only threatened the historic building’s future, but also the livability of the neighborhood which surrounded it. It was included on the first Most Endangered Properties list in 1994.
SAVED: The OMNI Development Corporation purchased and rehabilitated the rundown apartment building in 1995, converting it into 16 affordable family housing units. Renovations done to the building included the installation of a new roof, new plumbing and electrical systems. This conscientious redevelopment effort has restored the Whitmarsh to an appealing apartment complex that continues to contribute to the ongoing revitalization of the neighborhood.