AIR Decay :: The Beswick Building
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Beswick Building

 

This is a beautiful three story building with so, so much potential. The owner of the building is also the owner of the bar, the News Cafe, on the back portion of the first floor. The upper floors look like they haven't been inhabited for more than 20 years. The ground floor features some really cool, old storefronts. I heard that the shoe shine guy only left the corner on Broad and Exchange maybe ten years ago, and had been there over 40 years. Since it is on such a prominent corner along Exchange Street, we hope that the owner can continue to improve – and maybe even occupy – the upper floors.

A little historical note not mentioned below: In the pavement in front of the Beswick building is Pawtucket’s own Walk of Fame. Granted, there are only four “stars” on this walk... It was created after the filming of American Buffalo in 1996. The film was directed by Michael Corrente, and starred Dustin Hoffman, Dennis Franz, Sean Nelson and was produced by Gregory Mosher. The stars are the hand prints of Michael Corrente, Dustin Hoffman, Dennis Franz, and Sean Nelson and are badly decayed.

 

From the National Register nomination for the Downtown Pawtucket Historic District, Kathy Cavanaugh

A 3-story, flat roof with parapet, brick and granite, handsomely detailed Late Victorian commercial building with four storefronts (one original) on a five-sided lot at the intersection of Exchange, Broad, and Summer Streets.

The 1st floor level, clad entirely in granite, features two storefronts on Exchange Street flanking a recessed arched center entrance with stone voussoirs; the aluminum and glass double doors with arched transom are replacement elements. The storefront left of the main entrance (#3 1/2) is applied onto the facade and has the appearance of a mid-20th century diner, with metal bulkheads and piers framing the recessed entrance and a neon sign in the metal sign band; this storefront wraps around part of the Summer Street elevation. The storefront right of the main entrance (not numbered) has vertical board bulkheads and signband, metal-framed windows and door, and an off-center recessed entrance, all within the original wood enframement. A group of five wood colonnettes marks the corner of Exchange and Broad Streets.

On the Broad Street elevation, the storefront at #45 appears to be original, with granite bulkhead, wood-framed double-hung storefront window under a transom, and wood double doors with large sidelights and a double multi-light transom; the storefront at #43 Broad has late 20th c. applied vertical board wood siding and two glass block windows flanking a centered, paneled wood door.

The Summer Street elevation has an Art Deco-style storefront applied to the facade (#46) and to a shallow 1-story brick addition that extends about 6 feet past the northeast corner of the building; this storefront has concrete bulkheads and narrow strips of opaque multi-colored glass surrounding three metal-framed windows and a recessed, off-center entrance.

The upper stories are clad in brick, with granite trim including quoins, belt course, and window lintels, and a heavy bracketed metal cornice. On the 2nd floor level are two large wood-framed oriel windows: one semi-circular, above the main entrance, with “Beswick Building” in applied lettering on it, and the other rectangular, on the Broad Street elevation, with the date “1891” applied on it. Windows on the 2nd floor are paired, 1/1 double hung wood sash; on the 3rd floor are alternating paired and single window openings, all boarded up. At the rear of the building (facing an adjacent parking lot) are two small, modern 1-story wooden sheds.

Built for Frances Beswick, widow of a saloon keeper and brewer who lived on the opposite corner of Exchange and Summer Streets in the early 1890s, this building is shown on an 1890 map as “being built;” it was apparently completed in 1891, as indicated by the date on the building, but the name “Beswick Building” does not appear in city directories until 1893. The building’s original tenants are not known, but in 1915 a liquor store, pharmacy, and barber were on the ground floor, with offices for a dentist, a painter, a confectioner, and a real estate agent (Beswick & Glancy) on the upper floors. The barber shop at 45 Broad in 1915 was operated by Xaviere Bachand; in the 1920s he moved his shop to the corner of Exchange and Montgomery streets, and later built the Veloria Apartments there. The building remains in commercial use.

Martin Yates Dec 28 2010 Frances Beswick was my gt x3 aunt (formerly Frances Yates) who married John Beswick at Ashton under Lyne, Lancashire, England in 1867. John Beswick and his wife and baby son Thomas emigrated to America 2yrs later, along with my gt grandfather Albert yates, who was just 3 yrs old.

Tammy Drape Aug 2 2010 The building was owned by my late fathers father, Mr. Frank Varone. He passed away (1974), when my father took over the business. I do know at one time there was a poultry place, along with a dentist on the 2nd floor. The open storefront on Exchange (next to the diner) used to be Starwatch... I will have to gather more info. Miles (the owner of the diner) would also be able to tell you a little more. It was nice to see the Beswick Building in the news. Beautiful architecture, love the window in front. The previous owner has since passed away (Kenneth Varone. 12/04). His widow sold the building.

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