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The Benjamin Dyer Block, built around 1820, was the work of carpenter-architect John Holden Greene. Originally built by Benjamin Dyer for his four daughters, the building is comprised of four attached row houses of four and five bays each. It is in the Federal-style and stretches 200 foot across eighteen bays. Each of the four entrances are recessed and set under a brownstone arch. The 3½-story, stone-trimmed, brick structure is distinguished by its unique roofline. The western half displays a hip roof with monitor from which rises a paneled balustrade. The eastern half includes a mansard roof, the result of the 1882 renovation by then owners Thomas J. Stead and Salma Manton. The first story boasts nineteenth and twentieth century storefronts while double hung sash windows with brownstone surrounds line the second and third stories. Although the building has been heavily altered throughout its history, the Dyer Block remains one of the more readily identifiable remnants of the early 19th century development of this once-residential neighborhood.

When it was first included on the Most Endangered Properties List in 1995, the block evoked little of its former architectural distinction. Deferred maintenance and partial occupancy, in addition to a 1992 arson incident and historically unsympathetic alterations, roused grave concern over the future of a property. As it stood, the building, though certainly an eyesore among the newly restored neighboring structures,  remained sound. Nevertheless, the Dyer Block displayed incredible potential for reuse and thus provided an opportunity to re-knit the historic fabric of the downtown. In listing the Dyer Block on its Most Endangered list again in 1996 and 1997, PPS contributed to existing efforts by the City and other organizations to promote a downtown real-estate market which would encourage the use of its then vacant upper floors and hopefully the rehabilitation of the entire structure.

Despite some renovations to the second floor of the building, the westernmost half of the block had serious structural conditions that could cause the entire façade to collapse, causing PPS to list the western half in 2010 and 2011.

As of February, 2019, the building appears to be stable.

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© 2024 Guide to Providence Architecture. All rights reserved. Design by J. Hogue at Highchair designhaus, with development & support by Kay Belardinelli.