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The Barstow Stove Company was founded by Amos Chaffee Barstow in 1836 and expanded to the complex on Point Street in 1849. Today three buildings remain on the site: a four-and-one-half-story brick building with a jerkinhead gable roof, a three-story brick building with a flat roof, and the original 1849 building. The oldest building on the site (west) dates back to 1849 and features a monitor roof, granite window lintels, and a corbelled brick cornice.

By 1859, the company had 200 employees and manufactured 50 different kinds of stoves and furnaces. The company eventually acquired the competing Spicer Stove Company, making Barstow the only stove foundry in Providence, and the largest in New England. The complex included two molding rooms, a flask storage building, a room for stoves, storage areas for up to 5000 stoves, and pattern storage.

Barstow began producing gas stoves in the 1820s to keep up with contemporary technology, but went out of business in the 1930s. For around ten years the complex was occupied by the Home Service Company, a household repairs business. Beginning in 1974, Tops Electric Company operated out of the complex. Currently, a neon sign reading: “TOPS” is prominently displayed on the building’s west elevation. In 2015, the building complex was sold and in 2016 it was included on the Most Endangered Properties List.

As of February, 2019, it continues to sits underutilized as the new owners are evaluating potential uses and redevelopment scenarios. One scenario has them demolishing the section at the corner of Point Street and Richmond Street. Any changes, including demolition, will be reviewed by the Downtown Design Review Commission.

© 2019 Guide to Providence Architecture. All rights reserved.
Design by J. Hogue at Highchair designhaus, with development & support by Kay Belardinelli.