RI Malleable Iron Works

By the time we took photos, most of the main mill building had crumbled. The main building, though, is still standing and has been converted to a restaurant.

About this Property

#Reason for Demolition

Excerpted from the ProJo, Cathleen Crowley

Joseph Piscopio, owner of the Jefferson Grille, is developing the 4.3 acre site and demolishing most of the buildings there. There will be a hotel and an apartment building, the first development in the so-called Warwick Station District, named for the Amtrack station that has yet to materialize.

The complex, called Metro Center Plaza, is slated to include a 170-room hotel and 110-unit apartment building. There also might be plans for 60,000 square feet of office space. A second hotel is planned for across the street.

The demolition crew tried to save the shell, but the mortar could not hold the 25 foot walls. Piscopio plans to incorporate the remaining wall and the main office (saved from demolition) into the hotel design.

#Current Events

The main office building is all that remains of the former Iron Works, but its impressive facade is still very impressive as a home to a restaurant — the Iron Works. There was a Hilton Garden Inn hotel built next door as early as 2008, according to the oldest Streetview we could find.

The building on Thurber Street in Photo 11 is actually a different building (and should be moved as such). It was present up until around 2015 (Streetview May 2012 shows it but October 2016 does not). As of November 2019 it is still a large, empty lot.

Across the street is the giant parking garage and rental car drop off for the airport at 700 Jefferson Boulevard.

#History

The former RI Malleable Iron Works largely date from 1918, when the original complex was rebuilt after a fire. Thomas Jefferson Hill built it in 1867 for the production of malleable iron castings, a key element in his development of this section of Warwick. This mill, the adjoining mill housing in the neighboring blocks and the Elizabeth Mill (now Leviton) were built by Hill, who gave his name to the village, Hillsgrove. Hill was also the manufacturer who built the Providence Machine Company – the great mill on Allens Avenue that was torn down for the relocation of Rt. 195. The central building block was designed by Jackson, Robertson, and Adams of Providence, with quoins, window lintels, and an ornamental door frame patterned after those on Colonial and Federal period buildings.

Malleable Iron is defined as a high-tensile strength white cast iron produced by a long heat-treatment of white chilled castings. Because of the process of higher casting temperature and longer and hotter annealing, malleable iron has greater strength and ductility than normal cast iron. The carbon is reduced to tiny particles instead of flakes as in gray cast iron. Malleable Iron is used for castings, implements, pipe fittings, building hardware, and small machine parts requiring high tensile strength.

From SO Rhode Island

Built by industrialist Thomas Jefferson Hill in 1867 for the manufacture of malleable iron castings, the RI Malleable Iron Works Factory provided the nucleus for the village that was to grow around it. This factory, the adjoining mill housing in the neighboring blocks, and the train depot next door were all part of Hill’s vision, who gave his name to the village “Hillsgrove.” The Malleable Iron Works factory burned in 1918 and was almost immediately rebuilt.

The Iron Works Tavern is located in the original main office building, where Hill’s office was located on the second floor. Much of the original foundry has been preserved, such as the 8–foot 300–pound solid oak front door, the ceilings and beams, along with the brick. Many other details have been replicated to match the time period. The Iron Works Tavern is a reflection of this area’s rich history and a beacon of its promising future.