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About this Property
This building is a bit of an oddity. It is part of the western edge of the Provisions Warehouse District documented by HABS/HAER but there were no photos taken. It was not part of the RIHPHC’s 1981 Industrial Sites survey, nor was it part of PPS/AIAri’s 2002 Industrial Commercial Buildings Survey. Yet there it is, still standing today, when so many in the district have been demolished.
It is hard to tell if the Providence Journal still actively uses this building. It is a target of graffiti, for sure, and perhaps a target of vandals inside as well. We feel like it is a matter of time before there is a “suspicious fire” inside that leads to its demise.
The building is currently sitting underutilized and may still be used by the Journal but it seems to be used very lightly. With the decaying Standardized Wholesale Liquor Co. up the street, we think this building will also slowly decay until the Journal can make a case to tear it down.
Excerpted from the National Register nomination form for the Provisions Warehouse District, 2005; HAER No. RI-408, HABS 4-PROV 201; Nicolas C. Avery, 1998
Turner Centre Systems (TCS), a dairy company, constructed the building at 135 Harris Avenue in the early 1920 store place their 1917 facilities at 176 Kinsley/1O Terminal Way. The company did not stay in the new building for long. In 1929, H. P. Hood & Sons, a Boston-based milk processing company of regional significance, purchased the building. The company expanded the building considerably during the 1930s, and it became one of its largest branch facilities. The dairy processing technology installed in the building for controlling pasteurizing temperatures was considered by experts to be splendid example of scientific handling of milk and other dairy products (Providence Magazine, March 1932, page 69). In 1976, the Providence Journal Co. bought the building, but leased the creamery back to Hood and Sons for continued use until the early 1980s. […]
In 1976, the Journal bought the buildings owned by H.P. Hood & Sons at 135 and 145 Harris Avenue. However, Hood continued to lease the creamery until 1986. At present, the Providence Journal Co. uses the surviving Hood buildings on Harris Avenue for storage and for distribution of newspaper inserts. Garages, which once served the fleet of Hood delivery trucks were demolished to make way for the Journal’s modem facilities. […]
The H.P. Hood & Sons Dairy Experts/former Centre System (TCS) (1923-26) at 135 Harris Avenue is the westernmost building in the district. It served as a dairy processing center from its construction by Turner Centre Systems in the early 1920s until the 1980s when Hood & Sons vacated the building. Facing Harris Avenue, the main building is two stories in height and is constructed of brown brick with a concrete foundation. All second-story windows have brick segmental-arch lintels. Recessed brick work frames the third-story windows, a feature reiterated in the cornice detailing around the building. The south façade is eight-bays across while secondary elevations run to four bays on the east elevation, and nine bays along the western elevation. To the west of the main building is a one-story office with a rear loading dock built by Hood & Sons in the 1930s.
The eight-bay façade (south) on Harris Avenue is organized into three sections:. The first story has an off-center, four-bay, main entrance block on the west end that accentuates the main offices it housed inside. The entrance section is topped by a concrete projecting cornice with concrete panels below. At either corner of these panels are small rectangles composed of brick. A recessed entrance, in the second bay from the west, is framed by three sets of tall, glass-block window openings. An inset brick frame, punctuated by comers of white tile, encloses medallions with the monogram “TCS”. To the east of the entrance section lie four more bays of windows that reach to the cornice of the entrance section. The four remaining sections (east end) on the first story and the second story contain tall windows with 18-pane steel sash. A half-story brick wall extends to the east, opening onto the east elevation’s loading platform. To the rear (north) of this building, large garages once maintained Hood’s fleet of insulated distribution trucks. However, the Providence Journal removed those buildings to make way for a new Production Facilities Plant at 204 Kinsley Avenue in 1988.
The interior of the building, now used as a garage, printing rooms, and distribution space by the Providence Journal Co., still retains some equipment and fragments of pipes and machinery from its use as a dairy processing and distribution facility. The most obvious remains are the compressors and boilers which survive in the boiler room at the northwest corner of the first floor. To the south of this area, the milk chests and other bottling and can washing areas have been mostly dismantled. Some refrigeration spaces remain with surviving pipes and valves, York Company insulating doors, and at least one Bush brand Freon refrigeration unit. In the basement, surviving cork walls confirm that this area was once used for cold storage. On the second floor, the space used as a laboratory survives, but all machinery has been removed. At the northeast section, a significant portion of the building’s second-floor plan was dedicated to distribution.