Heritage Restoration, Inc.

Providence Performing Art Center Windows

 

PPAC, 220 Weybosset St, Providence, RI

This page is dedicated to the restoration and repair of the Weybosset Street elevation of Providence Performing Arts Center. HRI will periodically update the page with the work progress and discoveries.

Scope of Work

There are two types of historic original windows in the Theater; a center pivot and a double hung. These units were modified with insulated glass in 1999, while retaining the original operating systems. The intent of the project is to restore the wood sashes,  remove the failed insulated glass units(IGU), and install new IGU’s. The original wood sashes shall be stripped, repaired, primed and painted, as well as reinstalling the metal interlocking weather stripping.

While HRI does not retrofit single original glass sashes with an IGU, we will do it when it was completed previously or sometimes when we are making new door units. IGU’s typically last 20-30 years, depending on installation, material selection, and assembly, and these units failed from improper installation methods and the product chosen (Why do IGU’s fail). HRI will use proper installation methods to insure the longevity of the IGU’s. The sashes will be removed and temporary plexi-glass shall be installed during the restoration.

Bottom sash of double hung with wood stop failure

Metal interlock weather stripping

Pivot window

Schedule

The 45 windows are expected to take about 5 months.

History

The theater was built in 1928 as The Loew’s State by Rapp and Rapp. George and C.W. Rapp were architects who made their name by designing beautiful movie houses across the United States The first film to show there was Excess Baggage starring William Haines. Over 14,000 people jammed the building during its opening; they did not come to see the film, but to see the theater’s opulent chandeliers, marble columns and detailed moldings on the walls.

It was the site of a number of notable movie premieres, including the first 3-D feature film, Bwana Devil.

Between 1950 and 1972 the theater operated under the name Loew’s Theater and showed more live concerts, rather than movies.

Between 1972 and 1975 the building was known as the Palace Concert Theater, and was used primarily for rock concerts. In 1973-1974 alone, the Palace Concert Theater hosted The Bee Gees, The Kinks, The Doors, Lou Reed, Jackson Browne, Van Morrison, Fleetwood Mac, and Aerosmith. The band King Crimson recorded the song “Providence” during a 1974 concert at the venue, and the recording was featured on their seventh album Red, released later that year.

The theater was almost torn down in the late 1970s. According to mayor Buddy Cianci’s account, the theatre’s owner asked for a permit to demolish the building. Cianci pledged over $1 million of city funds to keep the theater open.

The theater was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1977 as Loew’s State Theater. From 1978 to 1982, the theater operated under the name Ocean State Theater.

Beginning in 1999, the theater was extensively remodeled and largely restored to its original 1928 opulence. It was also expanded to be able to accommodate traveling Broadway productions and orchestra performances. In 1996, PPAC became the anchor of Cianci’s Arts and Entertainment District, which offered tax breaks to attract artists to downtown.