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Davol Square (Davol Rubber Company)

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Davol Rubber Company
1880; 1884–1889 and later. 1980–1882, conversion to shopping mall, Beckman, Blydenburgh and Associates. 1991, conversion to jewelry trade center. 69 Point St. (at Eddy St.)

Davol, a major manufacturer of medical rubber and plastic goods, abandoned its Providence operation in 1977. Its brick factory buildings are less interesting in themselves than for their 1980s conversion into a shopping mall, which unhappily closed in 1991. This was the city's first example of the many progeny across the country of San Francisco's Ghirardelli Square (1962), a pioneer conversion of a factory to boutique shopping in combination with office use. The most original aspect of Davol Square (although there are precedents) is the overhead glazing of an alley between three- and four-story factory buildings to create the core shopping arcade for the complex. The functional yet festive exposure of much of the structural and mechanical addenda was necessary to make the conversion. Although it was a well-conceived project, it did not sustain its initial commercial success. Hence its reconversion as a permanent display center for the wholesale jewelry trade (not open to the public, except for peripheral shops).

Writing Credits

Author: 
William H. Jordy et al.
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Citation

William H. Jordy et al., "Davol Square (Davol Rubber Company)", [Providence, Rhode Island], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—, http://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/RI-01-PR41.

Print Source

Buildings of Rhode Island, William H. Jordy, with Ronald J. Onorato and William McKenzie Woodward. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004, 59-59.

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