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About this Property
This one flew under the radar right before COVID hit. There were some other things happening around Thayer Street at the time that garnered more attention, like plans for a hotel on the corner of Brook and Angell, not far from this development. So this project happened before we were really aware of it.
The Providence Preservation Society did put out a notice about it in their newsletter from January 2020:
By-right demolition is proposed for the 1896 Dewey F. Adams Colonial Revival house at the corner of Brook and Euclid for mixed-use commercial and residential construction. This house contributes to the College Hill National Landmark Historic District, but is not within a local historic district — therefore demolition and design review are not required. The developer, who is seeking several waivers, last year demolished 15 Euclid Avenue.
This project replaced two houses with parking in between for more density and no parking. In some ways, it is a win — more density is a good thing and most students don’t have or need cars, so housing without the need to clear more livable area for parking is great. The downside is the continued erosion of a historic district. This project was riding the wave of projects that had come before and set a precedent of demolition.
Details about the new project build from the Michie Design & Build website:
…the entire interior design of the dormitories was redesigned, giving the students a more familiar and active style. This is vitally important because a considerable number of these students are from the Rhode Island School of Design, so the interior and exterior design of this complex had to be an icon that resonates with and represents them. The result was a contrast of dark tones with a bright red, also changing the color of the window frames to a dark tone and installing black and red aluminum panels instead of the traditional siding, thus giving it a more lively and contemporary finish.1
According to the College Hill Properties website, the building contains several units of three, four, and five bedrooms and at least 2 bathrooms. The rentals are clearly for the student population. In the ground floor space as of the fall of 2022, Ceremony, an independently owned café and tea house, was tenant. They had moved from the corner of Angell and Thayer street (the former Tealuxe space) around 2020.
The design of the building did not raise many eyebrows or turn many heads. It could have been, as we said at the top, that there were too many other distractions in 2018 for the protectors of the City’s historic character to say much. PPS, David Brussat, and William Morgan were silent. That’s not to say they didn’t have an opinion when pressed, and we can probably guess what it was.
Again, if our two cents are worth more than… well, two cents… we think it is pretty bland despite its “bright red” panels meant to attract the cutting-edge art student looking to find an apartment that was an extension of their own fashion choices. Are students that shallow?
The project, generally, is a mixed bag. Its lackluster design is balanced by the fact that its added density to the area is welcome — without the need for parking. The new construction is also roomier, more modern in its amenities, and perhaps even easier to maintain compared to the wooden-frame houses it replaced. But all this comes at a cost. That cost is a loss of authentic historic character, a lack of sensitivity to the character of the neighborhood, and apartments without individual charm as well.
All that said, the neighborhood it is a part of is not the historic neighborhood it once was, either. And this building is part of that erosion.
History of 406–410 Brook Street (also 21 Euclid) and 15 Euclid Avenue
We don’t normally include the history of the buildings that this newer one replaced, but we also have not captured photos of those houses, so we are unlikely to have a separate page about them.
- 1908 L.J. Richards Map, plate 7 (private collection) — Both houses are present and the lot between them, at what would be 17 Euclid, is empty. It seems odd that a lot large enough for a home in this neighborhood went so long without one.
- 1920–1921 Sanborn Map, Volume 2, Plate 13 (page 20) — Both houses are present, though 410 Brook is smaller without an addition on the eastern face (same as in 1908)
- 1920–1951 Sanborn Map, Volume 2, Plate 13 (page 20) — A two-story addition has been added to 410 Brook
- 1920–1956 Sanborn Map, Volume 2, Plate 13 (page 14) — Same configuration
From the College Hill Historic District nomination form, Edward F. Sanderson & Keith N. Morgan, January 1976
15 Euclid Avenue — After 1895. Colonial Revival; 2-1/2 stories; hip; shingle; central porch ha paired Doric columns and Ionic pilasters with elliptical window above; scroll neck pediments on 1st floor front windows; Doric side porch with round headed window in stairhall above; wide entablature; dormers with shell casting in pediment.
406 Brook Street — Dewey F. Adams House, 1896. Colonial Revival; 2-1/2 stories; clapboard; gambrel roof; 2 pedimented dormers flank colossal Doric entrance portico.
“Brown Residential.” Michie Design & Build website, captured October 29, 2022 from https://www.michiedesigns.com/brown-residential ↩