Wrapping itself around the Equitable Building, this building has two distinct elevations: a simple, more-or-less symmetrical one on the Custom House Street side and a delightfully asymmetrical, sculpturally ornamented one on Weybosset Street. This is a rare example of architect Edwin L. Howland. Jeweler Dutee Wilcox who came to Providence in the 1850s as an impoverished apprentice, built this monument to his success. It remained in continuous office and retail use until a fire gutted the building in January 1975. Efforts to save it played a major role in catalyzing Downtown Preservation efforts, only a nascent at the time. By the time it reopened in 1979, the concept of Downtown as an historic area and the importance of preserving its fine buildings were established.
– 2003 Guide to Providence Architecture