Feldman Furniture orig. Arnold Garage


Feldman has been vacant as long as I have been poking around the City of Pawtucket (since about 2003) or much more. People in the city say its been vacant since the mid-nineties. When we say vacant, though, we mean more that it has been underutilized. The ground floor seems to be warehouse space fo the nearby Major Electric Company around the corner, though it is hard to tell, as we never see anyone go in or out of he building.

This structure could be a vital part of a larger redevelopment scheme including the Pawtucket Times building and annex, directly across North Union Street. The iconic neon sign could be redone with new neon and made into a beacon for the downtown. It’s proximity to the new commuter rail stop, Slater Mill, the Library and the Post Office could make it a unique center of activity in a revitalized Pawtucket.

“How Do The Beasts Groan” is a Biblical reference, and it might have referred as well to the horses that were stored in the first story of the building when it was a livery. Stables for 176 horses filled the first floor and carriages were available for hire 24 hours a day/.


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

A 3 story, flat roof, red brick, very large and irregularly massed Late Victorian style commercial building with 1 storefront at the corner of North Union and Summer Streets. The southwest corner of the building is beveled and features a 2-story neon “Feldman Furniture” sign at the 2nd and 3rd floor levels. The foundation is painted granite; granite belt courses wrap around the southwest corner above the storefront and at the cornice line, which features a heavy bracketed metal cornice; there are two brick chimneys visible above the North Union Street roofline.

A modern storefront at the southwest corner on the 1st floor level wraps around both street facades, and is painted white; the metal-framed plate glass windows have opaque colored glass bulkheads and transoms. On the Summer Street facade, 2nd floor windows are wood 2/2 double hung sash, and all 3rd floor windows are boarded up. All window openings are trimmed with granite lintels and sills.

The North Union Street elevation is divided into 6 flat-planed sections, following the curve of the street. Reading from west to east (from Summer Street toward High Street), the 1st section includes the corner storefront; above that, 2nd floor windows are paired wood 1/1 double hung sash, and all 3rd floor windows are boarded up; a terra cotta sign inscribed “How Do The Beasts Groan” (a Biblical verse) is attached between the 2nd and 3rd floor levels. The 2nd section east of Summer Street is slightly recessed from the plane of the 1st and 3rd sections; the 1st floor level has brick infill around pairs of wood 1/1 windows with concrete sills; the upper floor levels are clad in wood, with swags below the 2nd floor windows, raised panels below the 3rd floor windows, and brick corbelling above. The remaining sections are red brick, with two extant garage doors and one infilled garage or loading door, and mostly pairs of wood 1/1 double hung sash windows on the upper floors.

Ghosts of painted signs for “Arnold Garage” and “Feldman’s Furniture” can be seen on this elevation. Henry F. Arnold was the proprietor of the Broad Street stables in 1891, when he first appears in city directories; an advertisement boasts “37 fine livery horses, and almost every description of carriage,” available 24 hours a day. In 1892 Arnold took his son Frank on as a partner, and moved the stables to this new building (the largest of its kind in the city), with 176 horse stalls on the ground floor and two floors of carriage storage above. The stables were accessed from North Union Street, while the three storefronts on Summer Street were occupied by various small, mostly auto-related businesses. In 1921, H.M. Arnold & Son Co. converted this building to a vehicular garage, and maintained that business until 1940. In 1945 Feldman’s Furniture Co. moved in, with retail space on Summer Street and storage on North Union; Feldman remains in this location but no longer maintains a retail presence here.

Edward kelley Oct 11 2018 October 11, 2018 I was walking by this building today and saw the sign that says how do the beasts groan and it made me curious so I started looking up things concerning this building I am extremely interested in what that saying means and why it was put there on this building it seems out of place, something you would find on Hogwarts or another mystical building I remember buying furniture in Feldman's with my mom and grandma when I was just a little boy if anyone can shed any light on this saying and it's origin please let me know

Nicholas D’Agnillo Dec 11 2015 “How to the beats groan” is untouched and will be remaining

Carrie Perez Sep 26 2015 A shame, it seems they took down the sign that says: “How do the beasts groan.”

Suze Rivet Aug 29 2014 Apparently it has been sold, and things are changing; on va voir. See Nexus facebook page and video.

Nicholas D’Agnillo May 7 2014 It won’t be empty for much longer. It will soon be the headquarters for Nexus Property Management with luxury apartments above.

Michael Viveiros Jan 7 2011 I pass by this building all the time while doing parkour in Downtown Pawtucket. I had been talking to an older security guard at the library and he says the building is still empty. Yet when I pass by the inside looks somewhat modernized, and there may be lights on. I too have never seen any one go in or out of the building but I was hoping to get inside to take some pictures, anyone know how I could contact the owner?

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