Save This Old House: A Turreted Mini-Castle in Upper Elmwood

This historic home deserves a second life in the twenty-first century.

What happened here?

You can’t help but wonder, when clicking through the MLS listing for this Upper Elmwood property, what the William R. Babcock II house did to deserve such treatment. But we really shouldn’t blame the victim here. To the perps: You should be ashamed of yourselves. No house with a rubble-stone turreted tower should have plastic wrap over the toilet. Or a busted sink in the claw foot tub. Or a green garden hose dangling in yet another decrepit tub. The whole thing screams squat house. Yet. Yet….

Man, this place could be beautiful. Upper Elmwood is home to some of the most regal (and affordable) single-family homes in Providence. The neighborhood, built up between the 1860s and the 1930s, served as a suburb for the middle- and upper-class, and many extraordinary Victorian-era homes still stand today. The William R. Babcock II house is no exception. Built in 1893  for a partner in Taylor, Symonds and Company (“Jobbers of Dry and Fancy Goods”) on Weybosset Street, the home was undoubtedly a grand place in its heyday. Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

Before you click through the photos, I have to preface: I’m sorry for making you feel sad. But, as a real estate writer for Rhode Island Monthly, I feel it’s my duty to cover the good, the bad and the ridiculously expensive. As it stands now, this place: Bad. Very, very bad. But it could be good — great, even, with a whole lot of love and a well-organized contractor. Won’t somebody please save this old house?

Interested parties should contact Kristin Coletti at 401-641-5625.


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