The Pine Street Historic District consists of approximately ten blocks of nineteenth century residential structures along Pine and Friendship streets in addition to adjacent cross streets.. The area served as a fashionable neighborhood throughout much of 1800s. The Pine Street District originally is part of what was a much larger residential neighborhood that developed from 1830 to 1890 in Providence’s south side. In the latter half of the twentieth century, the neighborhood was significantly reduced in size by urban renewal clearance projects construction of the interstate highway. At the time of its National Register listing in 1977, only ninety-three of the original one hundred forty structures remain. Since then, over one third of those surviving structures have been demolished.
The remaining houses in the district convey the former glory of this once trendy neighborhood. The earliest houses date from the 1830s, although the majority of the homes were built after 1850. The range of represented styles, from Greek Revival through Queen Anne, provide a veritable textbook of nineteenth century architectural trends.
When PPS included the district on the Most Endangered Properties list in 1996 and 1997, the neighborhood was one of the most deteriorated sections of Providence. Many of the homes were owned by absentee landlords and most needed serious repair. Efforts to rehabilitate area homes experienced limited success. Consider the house at 475 Pine Street. This triple-decker was purchased in the 1980s by Paul Mandigo who then completely restored the house, rebuilding a two-story front-porch that had long ago been removed. When Mr. Mandigo died unexpectedly a few years later, the vacant house immediately fell victim to vandalism and returned to a state of disrepair.
SAVED: The Pine Street National Register District has been given a facelift as a result of an award-winning, two-phase, neighborhood revitalization effort that was spearheaded by the non-profit Stop Wasting Abandoned Property (SWAP) and the Providence Revolving Fund. This effort resulted in the rehabilitation of several deteriorated historic properties and the construction of new homes to fill in previously empty lots. Before working on the project, the neighborhood formed a not-for-profit organization, the Community Development Corporation, to take ownership of the properties to be rehabilitated. Architects from the firm of Durkee, Brown, Viveiros & Werenfels (DBVW) rehabbed the historic properties and designed the new buildings to fill gaps in the streetscape. The architects were careful to design new construction that would blend with existing properties both in character and scale. As of February, 2019, the neighborhood continues to be in good condition.