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AIR Redevelop :: L. Vaughn and Company
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L. Vaughn and Company

 

Sometime in 2002, I think, the front, more modern wooden structure portion of this building came down. I managed to take some photos at night, and the next day the rest of it came down. The small brick complex has undergone a slow redevelopment into office space for a digital/creative business. The ground floor seems to be home to HostTech Communications.

This building is in the same lot as 1107 Westminster Street.

 

From the ProvPlan/PPS survey 2001: A large, two- and three-story, brick, flat-roof building set on the north side of Westminster Street. The block set closest to the street is a two-story, flat-roof, brick structure with a modern façade featuring an applied plywood band between the two stories and modern, fixed windows and an offset entrance comprised of a metal-and-glass door. Side elevations of this block show original windows to the north. This block is identified as office space on Sanborn maps. Although this front block has been highly altered, the remainder of the complex retains it architectural integrity.

To the east stands a one-story, flat-roof, concrete block garage with vehicular entrances on both the south and east elevations. This building replaced an earlier, three-and-one-half-story, wood-frame building shown on the 1919 map.

To the north are two large, three-story, rectangular structures (No. 1 and No. 2). The westernmost block was used for the manufacture of sash and doors. The southern portion of this block was used as a sash and door warehouse while the northern portion of this block was used for sawing and planning with storage on the third story. This block features segmental-arch window openings with multi-light metal sash. The eastern block was constructed on the site of a one-and-one-half-story, wood-frame structure used as a lumber shed. This block has a prominent, corbelled brick chimney on its north end as well as a four-story elevator tower. Windows are segmental-arch with fixed and awning sash; fenestration on the elevator tower is comprised of multi-light metal sash. Pedestrian entrances are located along the building’s east elevation. A paved parking lot bound by chain link fencing is located to the east. This lot is identified as a lumber yard on the 1919 Sanborn map. Two small, one-story lumber sheds shown on the 1983 Sanborn map have since been removed.

The firm began in 1847 under the name L. Vaughn & Company, operating out of Providence. The building appears to have been constructed in the last quarter of the nineteenth century. The complex appears on the 1919 map, although several small, one-story, wood-frame buildings associated with the property have since been removed. The 1937 directory identifies L. Vaughn Co., manufacturers of sash, doors, and builders’ finish with special detailed millwork and as distributors of Upson wallboard, plywood, “Lucas” paints, and window glass. It remained a Providence-based industry for 120 years until moving to Warwick in 1967. The 1983 Sanborn map identifies the building as L.Vaughn and Company, although the building was occupied by Crest Craft Inc., jewelry manufacturers.

Barbra Brickle Jan 17 2017 I own a home in North Kingstown, RI (in 1894 it was East Greenwich) that we are doing some work to. The contractors recently uncovered several incredible remains of the L. Vaughn Co.. We found a partial signature on a board of the contractor/builder dated Sept 21st, 1894. The first two names are hard to read but the last name is clear as day, "Vaughn". We also uncovered a receipt for windows left in a window sash. I would love to find out whose signature this belongs to. The middle name might be Lorenzo or something like that? Any history would be appreciated!

Elizabeth Vaughn Sep 4 2014 I am a seventh generation direct descendent of the L. Vaughn Company. My father Dick Vaughn dedicated his entire life to the company, working late every night and weekends too. I remember as a young kid going with my father (and brother and sister) and we would run around the mill on Jefferson Boulevard in Warwick taking rides on the panel carts. For many years my brother and I would have the chore of pulling the weeds in the parking lot of the building. It always seemed like the hottest day of the year for pulling weeds. In later years I worked at L. Vaughn in estimating and sales. Richard D’Amore Sr. was my mentor and I enjoyed learning from him. Watching the company close and the equipment and tools being auctioned off was heartbreaking for me, but especially heartbreaking for my father.

Nicholas Lombardi Jan 5 2012 My grandfather was a professional carpenter and worked at L. Vaughn in Warwick he was there for a long time his name was John Centracchio and I remember my grandmother bringing me there in the 80s when I was a child to visit him at his lunch time. He also gave me a hat with the L. Vaughn logo on it that I still have.

Bob Warren Mar 21 2009 It all began in late June of 1955 with an interview with Charlie Vaughn, Jr. and Dick Vaughn. They reviewed some of my schoolwork relating to woodworking. I had just graduated from high school that month and this would be my first real job. They did hire me at $1.17 per hour. I was but seventeen years old and was not allowed to start my apprenticeship or run any machinery until I was eighteen. Because of the age restriction, time was spent tying-up stock for shipping, catching material off the molders and planers, cleaning up sawdust and cut-offs, and working in the glue room. During that time I worked just about everywhere in that four-story building and got to meet, and begin to know, most all of the some eighty employees. It was quite an eye opening experience. The guys presented a wide spectrum of age, races, traditions, abilities, attitudes, appearances and idiosyncrasies. Even with all that diversity they all worked hard and well with each other. It seemed to me like a pretty happy family. I realized later on that when someone was hired or left, everyone was interested who the new man was or why the man was leaving and these occurrences did not happen very often. I felt comfortable in this environment.

As my apprenticeship commenced, my initial work was in stock cutting, which meant taking the rough lumber and sizing it to the dimensions required for molding or assembly. Once that phase was learned, I was periodically assigned to the “Sash Department” where windows were made, “Frame Department” where various types of window frames were constructed, to the “Cabinet Department” where all types of casework was manufactured and finally to the “Stair Department” where specialty items were fabricated. This amounted to making plastic laminate items, bow windows, sailboats, bell-shaped gazebo roofs, circular stairs and stair-parts, etc. This was a wonderful classroom to learn how to fabricate many things and presented many challenges.

Upon completion of my apprenticeship in August of 1959, I worked out the year in my home, the Stair Department. There was but 6 of us and we thoroughly enjoyed one another. One day in late December my boss told me I was to report to the Engineering Department the first workday in January. An employee in “Engineering” had passed away and I was to replace him. I was in awe! I could not believe that this was possible. This step placed me in a position of opportunity that was daunting. I found, however, that the department, made up of 7 men, all took me under their wing, helped me through my trials and tribulations with laughs and pats on the back, I really found a new home.

From 1960 through 1966 there was a lot of work coming in and our staff was increased by two more. During that time L. Vaughn Company got a huge job, The Sheraton Boston Hotel, which provided much of the capital needed to take us from Westminster Street to Jefferson Blvd. The new building allowed us to do things much more efficiently and grow in volume. This increased our marketable area to a radius which extended south to North Carolina and west to Ohio and all in between. As years past the company had much success with very minor ups and downs.

By October of 1985 situations and another opportunity lead me to leave L. Vaughn Company. Those past 30 years had provided me with many fond memories and good times with good people from top to bottom.

Alex Pausley July 25 2008 I worked for the L Vaughn Company several summers in the early 1950’s as an office boy. In particular I remember how the power to run the woodworking equipment was a marvel of energy conservation:

All of the sawdust from the many operations was collected by a large vacuum system into a silo at the rear. This highly combustable byproduct was blown into a steam boiler where it exploded into flame. The steam ran on old Corless Steam engine with two horizontal cylinders. This in turn was connected by a vertical series of shafts, pulleys and steel cables to the upper floors. On the ceilings of each floor were a complex of shafts and pulleys which connected to the equipment on the floor with leather belt drives. The machines were turned on and off by “throwing” the belt onto the ceiling pulley with a wooden pole, a common arrangement in many New England mills of the 1800’s. The whole process, sawdust to steam to shaft to cutting tools to sawdust generated more sawdust power than was necessary, and the excess sawdust was sold to a local farmer. Earlier in the 1900’s an elecric generator was also connected to the steam engine and provided electric power for the buildings and newer equipment. Later, Narragensett Electric replaced the in-house generator when it burned out, but the belt drive system continued in use.

The elevators in the building were also powered by the belt drive system. and if the load was too heavy, the belt would slip and the elevator stall. On occasion I would take a customer out on the shop floor to see how their particular project, such as a bay window or a curved staircase was progressing. Frequently we used the elevator, and sometimes it would stall out between the second and third floors with distressing groans and jerks, causing some apprehension to the ladies or gentlemen on board. (Which of course I secretly enjoyed!). I explained that the only recourse was to go back down to the first floor and then walk up. Of course the elevator went down faster that it had gone up and rattled and shook in new and different ways. But all ended well, These custom jobs were of the highest craftsmanship and the customers were always pleased.

THOMAS J DAMORE June 22 2008 My father worked for L. Vaughn Co. until it’s closing in 1992. His name was Richard A. D’Amore Sr. He worked there all his life. We moved to Warwick, R.I in 1970. I guess he wanted to be closer to work. My father died 10 years ago and I really miss him but the memories of L. Vaughn will always live on... Tom D’Amore

deborah gaddes hartenstein It gave me great pleasure as a direct descendent of the L Vaughn Co to see that history remains alive and well in RI. I am the grand daughter of George T Gaddes and the daughter of Richard Gaddes ( grandmother Louise Vaughn) who owned and operated the company . When they moved from Providence I worked for a few summers in the office. The company left its mark on so much and contributed to what I consider to be the bricks and mortar of architectural woodworking! I wish my dad and grandfather could see how the technology aspect of society can effectively keep something so special… so ALIVE. Thank you for maintaining this web site. It is special.

Janet Hudon Hartman My father worked for Vaughn’ in Providence for about 18 years until late 50’s. He was so proud to tell people he had helped to make the wonderful fan window over the front door of Providence Mutual Ins. Co. The company did premium millwork.

The information about each building grows as visitors let us know about their experiences. Did you or a member of your family work here? Did you grow up near it as a child? Let us know. All entries will be moderated and may be posted in an edited form. We will use your name unless you tell us otherwise. We will not make your email public.

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