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Providence Journal Building (Former)

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1906, Peabody and Stearns. 1983–1984, restoration, Estes-Burgin. 203 Westminster St. (northeast corner of Eddy St.)
  • (Photograph by JPRiley, CC BY-SA 4.0)

When this building was “modernized” in 1955 by a flush encasement in enameled metal panels, the ornament and the original shop windows were buried, only to be resurrected in the mid-1980s. Fiberglass molded in casts made from existing details now patches whatever ornament the support structure for the modernist shrouding had defaced. The Flemish Baroque vocabulary, related to the firm's work in Boston for the Driscoll and Chandler stores, is wed to steel-frame construction. Originally, small electric lights outlined the elaborate frames for the shop windows at night, a not uncommon treatment at the time, reflecting early fascination with a new technology. In their choice of such a highly ornamented petite palace to celebrate Rhode Island's principal newspaper, its publishers and architects seem to have emulated McKim, Mead and White's famous landmark for the New York Tribune, which was also two-storied and also luxuriantly Neo-Renaissance (albeit Florentine rather than Flemish).

Writing Credits

William H. Jordy et al.


What's Nearby


William H. Jordy et al., "Providence Journal Building (Former)", [Providence, Rhode Island], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of Rhode Island, William H. Jordy, with Ronald J. Onorato and William McKenzie Woodward. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004, 51-51.

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