image preview




According to Jordy, Walker and Gillette’s Industrial National Bank Building is still Providence’s finest skyscraper as it is a “superbly Art Deco culmination of the Providence skyline in a major example of a setback.” Though stepped buildings in New York City had been architects' solution for Manhattan's strict zoning regarding adequate light and air, facing no such restrictions in Providence, the New York architects, Walker & Gillette, chose to keep symmetrical stepped massing. The base and the trim at the base's top was built to match the cornice height of existing adjacent (now gone) four-story buildings. The building has remained relatively unchanged over the years with the exception of the lobby, the upper windows and several masonry eagles at the top of the tower on the light beacon, which were removed decades ago after an eagle fell to the street below.


Bibliography: Woodward, W.M. McKenzie. PPS/AlAri Guide to Providence Architecture. Providence Preservation Society, 2003. pp. 97-101.


This object from the Chester E. Smolski photographic slides and publications, housed by the Rhode Island College Special Collections, and any of its digital surrogates are the intellectual property of Rhode Island College. This digital object is protected by copyright and/or related rights. The digital material presented here is licensed with a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. This content can be used, shared, or adapted for educational and scholarly purposes. For permissions to use this item please contact All uses must include appropriate attribution.

Creator 2 Role


Creator 3 Role


Creator 4 Role


Building Type


Building Style

Art Deco


Urban Geography

Subject Headings

Skyscrapers -- Rhode Island -- Providence; Kennedy Plaza (Providence, RI); Burnside Park (Providence, RI); Sovereign Bank Building (Providence, RI); 50 Kennedy Plaza(Providence, RI); Bank of America (Providence, RI); Federal Building -- Rhode Island -- Providence -- 1908

Country Name

United States

Region Name

Rhode Island

City Name


Street Address

55 Kennedy Plaza


Kennedy Plaza, Sovereign Bank, 50 Kennedy Plaza, Bank of America, financial district, buses, plazas, urban parks, Federal Building