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Constructed in 1875 to the designs of architect E.L. Angell, this 2-story, mansard-roof, brick building is notable for its polychrome radiating voussoirs (tapered arch stones) and projecting entrance pavilions. The school was one of eleven primary schools erected during the city’s extensive building campaign of the 1870s. The Willow Street School is the earliest extant example of these public school buildings. Located in the Armory District this early twentieth-century brick schoolhouse suffered from years of neglect that had resulted in a leaky roof and advanced structural deterioration at the time the building was listed on the Most Endangered Properties list in 1994.

SAVED: The Willow Street School was renovated to provide housing for developmentally challenged adults. Besides interior changes to the building to accommodate its new use, the building’s roof was replaced and its ornate cornice was restored. The renovation not only preserved the architectural beauty of the large, brick building but re-established it as a center of community activity in a neighborhood that has long been neglected.  The building is enhanced by the towering trees and bright landscaping that define the corner lot the building occupies.

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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.