Images of this Property
7 images: Press to view larger or scroll sideways to see more. Contributions from Brenda B.Possner Bolster, John Hutchins Cady Research Scrapbooks Collection at the Providence Public Library, and Kathleen Dunley
About this Property
#Reason for Demolition
A poor housing market and poor zoning decision basically forced a developer’s hand into demolishing the 90 year old structure and subdividing the waterfront lot. Not that we have too much sympathy for a developer that resorted to demolition after a few years of trying to gain approvals for redevelopment. Still, the building was looking rather tired in the late 80s and was probably not quaint enough to illicit too much interest. The waterfront property alone was worth quite a sum of money as housing lots.
Five housing lots were carved out of the single large plat and new houses were constructed by 1997.
Prepared by Kathleen Dunley, DefunctNewEngland.org, 2006
Built in 1901 for Herman G. Possner and designed by Thomas J. Gould, the castle sat at 1332 Narragansett Boulevard in the Edgewood section of Cranston for 89 years before being demolished on June 27, 1990.
Herman G. Possner was the president of the Sure-Lock Paper Clip Company and served as the first Commodore for the Edgewood Yacht Club and as one of the “founding six” of the Narragansett Brewing Company. Possner built the castle for his family home and its unique architecture featured mock crenellations topped by a pavilion style roof. According to an oral account provided by the late Doris Quinn of Providence, there was a fire that destroyed part of the roof. The resulting architectural changes are apparent by comparing the scan of the 1910 postcard with the later pictures take in the mid-1980’s.
The ownership was transferred in 1920 to Dutee Flint, then known as “the largest Ford dealer in the country.” Flint built a radio broadcasting tower and developed Rhode Island’s first radio station which became WPRO in 1931 after ownership was transferred to Cherry and Webb. Before its demolition, the castle was home to the Masonic “Harmony Lodge No. 9.”1
[New research added by A.I.R., 2020]
On May 20, 1941, Harmony voted to purchase the old abandoned castle on Narragansett Blvd. Purchase and renovation costs totaled $90,000. The castle occupied a prominent position, overlooking the Providence River.
The new lodge was dedicated on April 19, 1942, when W. Harold Rosenquist opened lodge at our old home, and then lead a line of march from Ocean Avenue to 1332 Narragansett Boulevard.
From a newspaper clipping around that time:
The “Castle” has become a Temple. With a few constructional additions on the exterior and many revolutionary changes inside, that rather bizarre one time private dwelling on Narragansett Boulevard has become the home of Harmony Lodge, No. 9, F. and A. M., dedicated last Sunday and henceforth to be known officially as Harmony Masonic Temple. 2
By 1986, with the old castle showing significant deterioration, and a reduced membership of 552 (from a height of 1115 in 1955), it was necessary to sell the property. On September 2, 1986, members approved putting the property up for sale and the final meeting at the much-loved castle took place on October 4, 1988.3
[end new research]
According to a Providence Journal article by Peter Howard, the castle had been vacant since November 1988, when Stephen Shechtman, Joshua Teverow and John Thibodeau bought the property for $750,000 in the hopes of converting it to either housing (an idea later abandoned due to the poor housing market at the time) or a television studio. Despite the Edgewood Association’s protest to save the castle, the city’s Zoning Board of Review denied the necessary zoning variance on April 26, 1990 due to neighbors’ objections. On June 25, 1990, the developers received their demolition permit from the city. According to Schectman, “This was a last resort for us; this was not what we wanted to do. I don’t feel I’m the person responsible for tearing down the Castle. Economically, it was the only recourse.”4
The Edgewood Yacht club purchased a tract of waterfront property to use as a parking lot, while the castle’s site was subdivided into housing lots. All that remains of the castle are the stone structures that once flanked the entrance, a stairway leading from the housing lots to the Edgewood Yacht Club’s lot, and a stone pillar at the rear of the property (on the Shaw Avenue side) that might have been a foundation for the former WPRO radio tower.
“Newspaper clipping announcing the conversion of the ‘castle’ located on Narragansett Boulevard in Edgewood into a Masonic Temple.” John Hutchins Cady Research Scrapbooks Collection at Providence Public Library, captured September 10, 2020. ↩
“Wrecker breaks the Castle’s walls, neighbors’ hearts.” Peter E. Howard, Providence Journal, Jun. 27, 1990. ↩