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Machine Shop, Phenix Iron Foundry

 

This building is in the India Point section of town, right around the corner from Imperial Place. It is a handsome stone mill building, three stories, with a clerstory roof and great rounded archways on one end. The side facing the parking lot has a newer brick elevator tower addition.

It is currently in use by Brown University as offices for its Development Office. If anyone has any further info, please send it along.

 

Prepared for Providence Preservation Society by Josh Jackson

The Phenix Iron Foundry was established in 1830, and was located on Elm Street. Among their prominent early stockholders was machinist Arnold Peters of Smithfield, R.I., a former employee of Samuel Slater & Sons, who first became involved in 1839. Charles R. Earle became president and treasurer in 1886. The foundry was one of the companies which produced the earliest American textile-printing machines.

A report from 1878: First started April 1, 1830, and chartered as the Phenix Iron Foundry, June, 1832. The company is engaged in the manufacture of hydraulic presses, dyers, printers, and bleachers’ machinery, castings, shaftings, &c. The company has constantly extended their business since its first inception to the present. The extensive buildings are of stone and brick, and located at the corner of Elm and Eddy streets. They employ some one hundred and seventy-five men, and, notwithstanding the depression of the times, are doing a large and profitable business.

P Babbidge I first set eyes upon this building in the late 1980s when I frequently walked to RI Hospital by passing through the jewelry district. It has got to be the most fascinating Providence mill building based upon it’s random-course-ashlar construction. By early 1997 I had given up all hope of restoration and took a lot of pictures of the Phenix Iron Foundry in utter ruins. While taking the pics, a man across the street saw the tears in my eyes and said that he knew I would buy that building if I could. But nothing matched the tears of joy I experienced upon seeing it miraculously restored a few years later. Brown University is my hero for making this structure achieve it’;s full potential. I intend to share my pics from 1997.

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