The Arcade, Providence, RI - Providence, Rhode Island - Historic Market Still a Hub of Commerce in Downtown Providence


The Arcade, Providence, RI, located at 65 Weybosset Street between Peck and Delta Streets in the downtown area of this southern New England capital city. It is the oldest indoor shopping mall in the United States. A parking garage is located adjacent to the building on Weybosset. The arcade-style market model did not catch on in the US; nevertheless it is regarded as the precursor for the later day development of the modern shopping mall.

Its Greek Revival style building is standing since 1828, when it was constructed from granite blocks and stuccoed ashlar. Six Ionic columns of granite are on each fasade. The granite is from a quarry five miles from the site where the arcade stands. It is a National Historic Landmark.

The structure was designed by Russell Warren and James Bucklin and continues to attract visitors just to see the architecture which includes adorned iron railings and huge, stained glass skylights. A central corridor runs through the middle of the building. The first level has a tile floor while the upper levels and their balconies have wooden floors.

The two exterior facades indicate possible differences in the vision of the two architects as they are not uniform.

In 1944, the building was saved from demolition when it was purchased by the Rhode Island Association for the Blind. The building remained in disrepair for years. The building was reopened in the year 1980 after restoration.

It is completely wheelchair accessible for dining or shopping. An elevator gives access to all 3 floors of shops. Until its temporary closing, in 2008, a department store, a hair salon and dozens of smaller shops could be found here, including Center City Art which offers up contemporary works for collectors from local area artists.

The Arcade, Providence, RI, has been a smoke free building for several years. Pets are prohibited from entering the building.

Local non profit organizations have been found housed on the top floor of this historic shopping center.

The restaurants and delis on the first floor had become a traditional eating spot for people working in the downtown area and those cutting across the main thoroughfares using the Arcade's indoor main path.

But the Arcade, Providence, RI was closed again in the year 2008 for renovations of its interior.

In 2009, the Providence Preservation society placed the structure on its list of the Top Ten Endangered Properties. The $8 million renovation, aimed at making the interior suitable to a single tenant, threatens the character of the building with an original design aimed at hosting 78 shops and eateries.

Granoff Associates, the building's proprietor has claimed that the integrity of the building will be preserved during the renovations regarding the architectural and design treasures found here while giving the space enhanced economic viability.

Photo of Exterior ofthe Arcade

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Feb 21, 2012 @ 11:11 am
We vivited the site just yesterday (2/20/12) hoping to get a glimpse of the inside. Just peeking in through the windows made us anxious to visit again when it is opened again. I look forward to it!

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