Providence’s first skyscraper, which brought the first local appearance of high-rise steel-frame construction and multiple elevators, initiated the turn-of-the-century height race in the city’s financial district. But mass, not sheer height, is what dominates here, with the heavy rusticated base and emphatic horizontally thanks to multiple string courses and prominent cornice. Designed by Winslow & Wetherell of Boston and built by Worcester’s Norcross Brothers, the region’s pre-eminent construction company, it was a speculative development by Joseph Banigan, who had just sold his interest in what became U.S. Rubber and turned to real-estate investment. The rather ungainly penthouse addition was designed for AMICA Insurance Company by Ekman & Klaeson in the early 1980’s.
– 2003 Guide to Providence Architecture