We have quite a few ideas and topics of interest at ArtInRuins but only so much free time. If any is inclined to find some enjoyment in historic research or photography, we welcome all contributions. Here are some topics we’d love to dive deeper into but if you have your own topics, send us a pitch!

#Research and Documentation

#Properties tagged with “Needs History”

Our Needs History tag highlights properties that are short on historic documentation and research.

#Add Block Island’s Harborside Inn and it history

A fire gutted the building in August, 2023, and it was demolished as a total loss. We’d love to host some documentation, which would be the first property on the site for Block Island. The Boston Globe did a nice write up that provides a good start.

#Brown University‘s BioMed Building expansion in 2006

The expansion of this building in 2003 razed some buildings around it that we missed because it was only a year after we started. One was a former post office, which would be interesting to uncover if possible.

The other is more interesting as it was the original home of the Sarah Doyle Women’s Center, listed in the College Hill Historic District as the Mary H. Parsons House. Rumor has it that the house was gifted to the University with the express instruction that it not be demolished.

#David Brussat’s list of the 10 Best Lost buildings in Providence (from 2014)

Mr. Brussat was the Providence Journal’s architecture critic for decades and he still maintains a blog. We have a list page of Mr. Brussat’s 10 Best Lost buildings but would need help completing the missing properties. The missing properties are:

  • The Butler Exchange
  • The Outlet Company
  • The third Howard Building (1859, James Bucklin)
  • The Narragansett Hotel
  • The Hoppin Homestead building (1875, James Bucklin)
  • The Benjamin Hoppin House (1816, razed in 1875 for the Hoppin Homestead)

We’ll be working on adding some of these to the archives, as there are photo sources at the library. But if anyone knows of non-PPL sources for imagery, please let us know.

#Corliss Steam Engine Company

One of the five industrial wonders of the world, many factories of the industrial revolution were able to move off of water power alone with the advent of the steam power engine. Corliss made the largest of their kind. Their factory was located next to R.I. Tool (map from 1875) where the main state Post Office is now. More info and any photos that can be found of the buildings would be a great addition to the Archives.

#Cranston Open-Air Cycledrome

Similar to the Cyclodrome in Providence/Pawtucket, Cranston had a cycling arena. We mistakenly used a photo of the Cranston track for our page about the Providence one. We’d like to have a page for this one, too.

#Kinsley Park

Mentioned in an essay on our Cyclodrome page, Kinsley Park was an athletic field of the same owner.

#Developer Tasks

You don’t have to be a historian or photographer to contribute! We have some ideas about to improve the functionality of the site as well. The site is in a public Github repository and it is built with Jekyll, SASS for CSS, and vanilla Javascript.

#Click tracking

The site uses a GA4 tracking code for analytics. Visitors opt out when they reject the tracking banner. Still, we internally would like to know if some features of the site get used. We’d be particulary interested in tracking:

  • The Surprise Me button
  • The previous and next buttons
  • The Citation accordion button

#Interactive Map

Each property has a latitude and longitude associated with it as well as a Google Maps link. We currently do not use the lat and long for anything, but the idea was to eventually host our own maps. We’d like to use Open Street Maps instead of Google but that requires a map tile rendering engine service. If anyone has expertise in setting these things up, that’d be a great project top contribute.