Providence is a unique city in part due to its wealth of historical resources. These resources are especially significant because they exist within intact neighborhoods. These places have garnered national attention, in the form of National Register Districts. Providence is currently home to 35 National Register Historic Districts, spread across the City in nearly every neighborhood.
Listing on the National Register is a great honor for a property, but it does not guarantee that the property will never be damaged or demolished. National Register listing provides protection only when public funds or government licenses are involved. Fortunately, many properties within Providence’s National Register Districts are also contained within Local Historic Districts. These districts provide protection for historic resources. In 1960, the City created the Providence Historic District Commission (PHDC) to protect the unique physical character, historic fabric, and visual identity of the city.
Providence's local historic districts (LHDs) are established as zoning overlay districts. There are eight LHDs in Providence, containing approximately 2,500 properties. The PHDC regulates development in designated LHDs by acting as a design review body. The PHDC has authority to approve or deny proposed exterior work to any property located within the local historic districts. Local Historic Districts can contain residential, commercial, religious, educational, industrial, governmental, and civic buildings, in addition to other structures and open spaces.
The first LHD created in Providence is the College Hill Local Historic District, designated in 1960, and expanded in 1977 and 1990. It exemplifies a variety of architectural styles, including Pre-Colonial, Colonial, Federal, Greek Revival, Victorian, and 20th Century Revival. College Hill is also the largest local district, containing over 1,200 properties.
The study area for the expansion of the College Hill Local Historic District and its relationship to the Stimson Avenue Local Historic District are shown in the map here.
For a list of all of Providence’s local districts, click here.