The Office of the Commissioner of Public Buildings created the design for this standard High-School Georgian building. Its most prominent feature is the tower with lantern located appropriately at the end of the building nearest the corner of Hope and Olney Streets (a lesson learned from the nearby previous entry?). It seems remarkable that so much open space either remained in this densely built area or else was easily assembled in the late 1930s, but the granite retaining wall located at the northwest corner of this extensive property serves to remind us of the presence here of one of the several reservoirs, located on high ground in and around Providence, that served the city before the creation of the Scituate Reservoir in the mid-1920s.
– 2003 Guide to Providence Architecture
At the time of it construction, Hope High School, at the corner of Olney and Hope Streets, was one of the most impressive high schools in the United States. Built upon land formerly used for the Hope Reservoir until the Scituate Reservoir rendered it obsolete in 1926, Hope High had access to large tracts of land and was built with extensive sports fields. The four-story Georgian Revival structure was designed to accommodate more than 2,000 students in its 60 classrooms and included a 1,285-seat auditorium, library, cafeteria, study halls, and separate boys’ and girls’ gyms. Intended to serve as a neighborhood landmark, the structure was built with a stately red brick façade trimmed with limestone detailing, a hip roof capped by several cupolas, and a tall central, wood-frame tower that is one of the highest points in the city.
PPS included the Hope High School cupola in the 2001 and 2002 Most Endangered Properties lists to bring attention to the deteriorated state of the structure. Due to other pressing concerns at the school and the economic hardship hitting urban public school programs around the country, maintenance of the tower was largely ignored for many years, resulting in chipped paint, rotted wood and broken windows.
SAVED: Media attention from the MEP list gave impetus to the city to restore the local landmark to its former glory in 2002. The project was funded with bond money.