This three- and four-story brick industrial complex was home for almost a century to a rubber-manufacturing company whose products stretched historically from the innovative vanishing-seam rubber hose to the first heart-pump machine. Founded in 1874, the company occupied the Simmons Building from the time of its completion in 1880, then built the first building in its four-acre complex across the street in 1884. The buildings here are remarkably simple, to the extent that the otherwise unremarkable 1913 pier-and-spandrel building with large multiple-pane windows, at the northeast corner of Point and Eddy Streets, stands out visually by so rhythmically holding the Eddy streetline and turning the corner. After Davol closed its Providence plant in 1977, the complex was rehabilitated for mixed-use retail and office space (a planned residential component never occurred) and refashioned as Davol Square, continuing a trend begun at San Francisco’s Ghirardelli Square between 1962 and 1967 and at Boston’s Quincy Hall Marketplace in the mid-1970s. The complex opened with great fanfare in 1982, but despite high occupancy and relative ease of access from interstate highways, this festival marketplace slowly shut down in the early 1990s and now remains largely vacant.
– 2003 Guide to Providence Architecture