Overview of the Elmwood Neighborhood Project

Project: Elmwood Neighborhood, Episode 1, Part 1



In the historic Elmwood neighborhood of Providence, RI, Bob talks with Mary Turkel and Bob Major (from the Providence Preservation Cooperative) about the changes taking place in the area. Bob also meets Jane and Luke Driver, whose kitchen renovation is one of the smaller scale projects Bob plans to cover. As demolition work begins, so too does plumbing and electrical. Also to come is a new kitchen floor made from reclaimed Pine.
Part 1: Overview of the Elmwood Neighborhood Project
Rhode Island's 150 square miles encompass harbors, beaches, the historic mansions of Newport, and the bustling downtown of Providence.

Providence expanded rapidly during the Industrial Revolution, then saw tremendous decline in the late-20th century. But currently, the city is experiencing a Renaissance and touts exciting public spaces such as Waterplace Park and Federal Hill which offer fine Italian dining.

In spite of suburban sprawl outside the city proper, historic preservation is a priority in Providence, as evidenced by a walk down Benefit Street, the site of many stately historic homes, testament to the city's early wealth.

Originally, Providence was established by those seeking religious freedom from the Massachusetts Bay Puritans. Roger Williams Park is named for the city's founder. This park is in proximity to the Elmwood neighborhood.

Built as Providence tripled in population between 1870 and 1910, Elmwood's developer made sure that the homes were built to a standard and that a trolley running along the main street, Adelaide, stretched all the way downtown.

Following the rise of automobiles and rapid road building, Elmwood became cut off from the heart of the city. The neighborhood eventually fell into decline. Once property values plummeted, many landlords turned the old single-family homes into apartments.

Only in recent years has the neighborhood come back. Adelaide Street is now on the National Registry of Historic Places. Project managers Bob Major and Mary Turkety, building professionals experienced with historic neighborhood preservation, are consulting with homeowners on topics ranging from materials to techniques to getting plans approved.
Part 2: House One: Tour of a Gothic Carpenter-Style Home
Part 3: Flooring, Plumbing, and Plastering
Part 4: Installing a Reclaimed Pine Floor
The theme of community building in the historic Elmwood neighborhood of Providence, RI, is the focus of this project. Rather than tackling one house, Bob Vila is helping 11 neighbors tackle smaller projects like porches, kitchens, bathrooms, and even a third-floor artist's studio.

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