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.
PPS is hopeful that renewed interest in development on Westminster will spur interest in this building without making it more vulnerable to demolition. Its handsome façade contributes to the largely eroded late 19th and early 20th century streetscape of this major westward corridor.