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This vacant and fire-damaged late 19th century brick building in the West End is vulnerable to demolition and redevelopment activity on Westminster Street.

In its early years, the modest but dignified two-story Palladian structure served both commercial and residential boarding uses according to city directories and was organized by five street numbers (1107-1115). A variety of pre-World War II businesses operated there, including: dry goods, laundry, bakery, grocery, doctors’ offices, a pool room, used furniture, and even an ice cream factory. Current evidence does not support earlier claims that this building was previously owned by the American Building Company or John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Company.

Fire damage from 1967 and 1998 has rendered the interior of the structure severely damaged and the building vacant. A sign on the east side advertises a “2004” opening for “residence- work/condos”.  Obviously that plan has not come to fruition 16 years later. The building has local preservation protection through the Providence Landmarks District – Industrial & Commercial Buildings District, a noncontiguous district across Providence.

Sadly, in November 2020 this unoccupied, long fire-damaged building suffered partial collapse and was then fully demolished. After it’s 2020 MEP listing, it came very close to being incorporated into new construction by a local developer; now it is another vacant lot on Westminster Street. This is a textbook example of demolition by neglect.

    J. Hogue says:

    Sanborn Maps show this property as the M.N. Cartier & Sons building, later the American Building Company and then the John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Company. It was also at one time a Baptist Church, the “Union St. Jean Baptiste Amerique.”

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© 2023 Guide to Providence Architecture. All rights reserved. Design by J. Hogue at Highchair designhaus, with development & support by Kay Belardinelli.