Wanskuck Hall

An ornate mill-company-built community space subdivided into offices during the last century

About this Property

#Redevelopment

This charming building was constructed almost 150 years ago as part of the Wanskuck Mill Village by the Wanskuck Company to provide a facility for social gatherings and cultural activities for its mill workers. The building was also used as a Sunday School for the Roger Williams Baptist Church until 1897. The hall was lucky in that it was not empty for very long and never suffered neglect — though it must be a challenging structure to maintain.

Did you know? Branch Avenue was originally named Wanskuck Road.

#Current Events

When the mill closed in the late 1950s, the hall was converted to office spaces. Spaces are still available to interested parties.

#History

From the National Register nomination form prepared in 1981

A handsome, 2-story brick structure built by the Wanskuck Company for use as a community hall. Broad eaves of the hip roof are supported by delicately arched, wooden braces. Stars and circles are cut in boards covering the rafter ends. A central front gable breaks through the eaves over three second-story, segmental-arch windows set under a segmental relieving arch infilled with patterned brickwork and a limestone block with the building’s name carved in raised lettering.

The first floor facade is divided by segmental arches into four unequal bays, one of which holds a recessed doorway while the others contain windows. The variety of materials and ornamentation reflects the era’s love of “structural polychromy” and of the picturesque. Light limestone spandrels, string courses of limestone and blackened bricks, designs patterned by recessed brickwork and diapering, carved and molded wooden panels, and a granite foundation make a lively composition.

An unsightly, windowless, concrete warehouse extension has recently been added to the rear to connect the hall with 1-23 Abram Street, the Wanskuck Company Warehouse, The interior has undergone several major renovations and is now used exclusively for office space,