Vinton Street Garage

A relatively low-slung and simple early 20th century former car repair garage in a residential portion off Broadway

About this Property

#Redevelopment

A medium size, 4300 sf single story former garage building in a residential neighborhood on the West Side of Providence. Previous to being converted to commercial space, the building was underutilized as storage space or maybe an art studio. From the comments it seems that it was a nuisance property in its latter years.

The yellow/tan brick with simple Art Deco framing and green square tile inlays set on a 45° angle have been covered over with stucco. An echo of the simple ornamentation detail has been recreated in raised stucco. The large commercial windows have had their transoms reinforced with new steel and encased in new cinder block. Replacement steel frame commercial windows have been added to the openings as well as to the garage door that once opened onto Vinton Street. A side entrance looking towards Broadway has been made into the main entrance, off a new parking lot for 16 cars.

In a few of the photos one can see the back of the Barnaby Castle Carriage House at 159 Sutton Street. One can also see the evolution of the carriage house in the Sanborn Map images.

#Current Events

The property is commercial/office space. Since approximately 2018, the building is painted white with black metal window frames.

#History

In the “Broadway-Armory Historic District” National Register nomination form, 1974, it was listed as non-contributing — “Garage (ca 1930s?): 1-story; flat; brick 3-bay commercial garage.” From our Sanborn research it was built prior to 1920, and the simple style with Art Deco accents denotes a build period no earlier than 1910. An anecdote says that the building was built around 1919 for “James Tramonti, as a garage. The architect was B. S. D. Martin.” We have not been able to verify those facts.

  1. In the 1899 Sanborn Map, no building is at this location. There is a three-story home on the corner of Broadway and Vinton, and one can see the shape of Barnaby’s Castle on the corner of Broadway and Sutton, with the Carriage House behind
  2. In the 1920 Sanborn Map, the garage appears as “Vinton St. Garage, capacity 20 cars, concrete floor…” The nearby Barnaby Castle Carriage house is listed as an Ice Cream Factory
  3. In the 1920 Sanborn Map republished in 1951, the garage is now listed as a Beer Warehouse, the three story house is gone, and a gas station with small annex building have appeared between where the 3-story house used to be and Barnaby’s Castle.

Other local buildings that B.S.D. Martin designed are the 1931 Robert L. & Caroline S. Gilman House; the 1903 Willian A. Scofield House, Olney Street1; and the 1911 George M. Baker House, also Olney Street1.

  1. “Historic and Architectural Resources of the East Side, Providence: A Preliminary Report,” Rhode Island Historical Preservation Commission, 1989, page 86. Captured September 3, 2021, from https://preservation.ri.gov/sites/g/files/xkgbur406/files/pdfs_zips_downloads/survey_pdfs/prov_eastside.pdf  2