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The William H. Dyer House, built in 1855, has dodged many bullets in its lifetime of nearly one-hundred and fifty years: in the 1960s and 1970s urban renewal cleared an entire neighborhood to its south, and I-95 runs practically next door. Constructed by celebrated Providence builder William H. Dyer, 60 Maple Street was one of the first triple-deckers built in the city and provides a fine example of Italianate Style popular throughout many middle-class Providence neighborhoods. The square, three-bay front house has a central entrance vestibule and asphalt shingle siding. The wide, projecting eaves distinguishes the otherwise conventional design.

Located in the Pine Street National Register Historic District the William H. Dyer house blends well with the modest Italianate, Greek Revival and Queen Anne houses found in the neighborhood. The largest and best preserved early nineteenth century development west of downtown, the Pine Street National Register District had witnessed revitalization in years leading up to the house’s MEP listing in 2001 and 2002. Abandoned buildings and vacant lots, including the Dyer House, had slowed the improvement of the area. After several decades of use followed by years of abandonment, the Dyer House had become a popular retreat for drug activity, prostitution, vagrancy and vandalism.

In 1999, The Providence Redevelopment Agency gave initial permission to Stop Wasting Abandoned Property, Inc. (SWAP) to develop the property. In 2000, the agency designated a new developer at the request of City Council. SWAP, who by that had already began plans, sued the city for rights to develop the property.

SAVED: Since its PPS listing, the Dyer House has been successfully rehabilitated thanks to the efforts of SWAP and the assistance of the Providence Revolving Fund. After winning its legal battles with the Providence Redevelopment Agency, SWAP purchased the historic property and in just over a year restored the house to provide affordable housing. These renovations formed part of a seven million dollar housing initiative in Upper South Providence to develop 48 units of affordable rental housing and home ownership. The development plans included the renovation of six other historic houses in the Pine Street Historic District as well as the construction of ten new buildings to fill the voids left by demolished historic properties. SWAP’s efforts and those of the Providence Revolving Fund have transformed the formerly run-down historic district into a thriving and affordable community.

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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.