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The Westminster Arcade, also known as the Providence Arcade, in Providence, Rhode Island, was opened in 1828 as America’s first enclosed shopping mall, a concept that was found in some European cities but was not yet popular in the US. Designed by architects Russell Warren and James Bucklin, the building features six massive Ionic columns topped by a triangular pediment, and looked more like an ancient Greek temple than a shopping mall. Behind this striking granite front are open vestibule areas in three levels that were once occupied by numerous shops. Richly decorated cast iron railings capped in mahogany protected the balconies in the upper levels while a glass gable roof filled the atrium with natural light.

The mall fell into hard times after the economic collapse of 2008, and was almost destined for the wrecking ball when the owners decided to turn the property into a residential building instead.

westminster-arcade-1

Photo credit: Northeast Collaborative Architects

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© Amusing Planet, 2016.


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