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While not under eminent threat of demolition, PPS remains concerned about the future of the city-owned former Water Supply Board building off Smith Street in Mount Pleasant.

The Rhode Island Company had their Academy Avenue Car House at this location as of 1908, on land that seems to have been a dairy farm. By the outbreak of the Second World War, the property was transferred to the Supreme Amusement Corporation and later United Electric Railways Co. In 1950 it was acquired by the City of Providence for use by the Water Supply Board.

The appearance of the original early 20th century car barn is unknown. The steel, stone, and brick street façade seen today reflects the later Streamline Moderne style, an evolution of Art Deco, which likely dates from work done under Mayor Walter Reynolds in 1954. The structure is a one- and two-story, flat-roofed, brick industrial office building with a notable curved corner at its southern end.

The Water Supply Board vacated the property in 2017 for new offices off Huntington Avenue leaving the future of the Academy Avenue building uncertain. Future uses, or demolition, of the building will require approval by the Historic District Commission as it is protected by Providence Landmarks District – Industrial & Commercial Buildings District designation.

PPS advocates for adaptive reuse of this versatile and stylistically notable building.

© 2020 Guide to Providence Architecture. All rights reserved. Design by J. Hogue at Highchair designhaus, with development & support by Kay Belardinelli.