Westminster Unitarian Church
Hood Memorial African Methodist Episcopal Church
126 Adelaide Avenue, Providence, RI, USA
Benjamin Rakatansky Triple Deckers
Harry Weiss Triple Deckers, Nathan Wiesel Triple Deckers
109 Gordon Avenue, Providence, RI, USA
Old Temple Beth El
Congregation Shaare Zedek, Broad Street Synagogue
688 Broad Street, Providence, RI, USA
The 39 properties on this tour were built from 1850 to 1930. Click on a map marker to see the property name, then click the name to see more. Or, scroll down to see a gallery of all properties. Click any photo to learn more.
Variety and diversity are the keys to understanding Providence’s South Side. Architecturally it is the place to find the juxtapositions of a small cottage, a middling single- or two-family house, and a large architect-designed house in one block and rows of triple deckers in the next. Its residents historically have included a wide variety of levels of income. Perhaps the relocation of Gorham Mfg Co, one of the world’s largest jewelry manufacturers, to the west end of Adelaide Avenue in 1890 and the subsequent influx of employees at every level encouraged economic diversity. The South Side, especially South Providence, has been home to significant ethnic groups, especially Irish Americans and Eastern European Jews, who left important architectural legacies.
This tour samples that variety. It begins at Trinity Square, the traditional gateway to the South Side (in contrast to the recently created one for the West Side at the east end of Atwells Avenue). Diverging from this historic intersection are the area’s principal thoroughfares, Broad Street and Elmwood Avenue. Elmwood was an early planned suburb, and while its development pattern drifted from the original intention of much larger houses on larger lots, it still presents a fine vision of a late nineteenth-century “suburb within a city.” In South Providence, the tour includes major religious institutions as well as the defining residential form for largely immigrant neighborhoods, the triple decker.
While more recent immigrant communities have not yet constructed their architectural legacy, the thriving Latino population and Asian communities in this precinct vastly enliven the commercial corridors of Elmwood Avenue and Broad Street, and the conscientious visitor should plan on taking lunch or dinner at any of the many restaurants along both streets and visiting the small shops that fill the area.
– 2003 Guide to Providence Architecture