AIR Stillinuse :: Steeple Street
01 02 03 04 05 06 Photo 1 from the HABS collection, c1958
Steeple Street former Congdon & Carpenter Company


Since the demise of some favorite businesses inside, most of the front portion of the building has been taken over by the bar “3 Steeple Street”. They use the former One-Up space as an event space or extra dining space. This building and it’s third floor was also known as “Summer Camp” at one point, when several people lived there as a large commune and event space.

The buildings are now home to the restaurants New Rivers and 3 Steeple Street.


From ProvPlan/PPS: 3 Steeple Street is a three-story brick structure with a hipped roof and is the oldest industrial building in Providence, and, after Slater Mill in Pawtucket, the oldest industrial building in the state of Rhode Island. The building features stone sills and lintels and brick bracketing at the cornice line. 5 Steeple Street is three-stories high, with dentils under the roof and a recessed entry at the street level. This is the original building that housed the firm that later moved to Promenade Street.

The building is attached at the rear to the George and Smith Owen Building of 1847 (9 Steeple Street), a three-and-a-half-story brick building with a gable roof with an impressive monitor roof, designed to maximize the amount of light in the building. It has stone sills and flat lintels, as well as rectangular double hung windows, and a recessed entry door at the corner. The building at 9 Steeple Street was built as a jewelry factory and it is the oldest of its type in Providence.

Joseph Congdon founded this iron stock company in 1792, originally to supply blacksmiths. However, there was also a decent market to be found in the making of firearms, tools, maritime and farming implements, and the like. They also expanded into retail, selling hardware, horse supplies, and coach equipment. The company found great success during the Civil War, as the demand for many different types of iron and steel rose. During this time the company supplied many of the producers of hoops and bands, caulking steel, and horseshoes.

After the Civil War, more space was needed so Congdon & Carpenter moved one block north, to the corner of Canal and Elizabeth streets; this building has since been demolished. The buildings at 3 and 9 Steeple Street are now home to several restaurants and small businesses. The building that today is 3 Steeple Street was Congdon & Carpenter’s first warehouse. A restaurant called “3 Steeple Street” occupies the building today. Standing at the foot of College Hill, these two buildings are located at an early node of industrial activity in Providence; nearby stood the original buildings of Brown and Sharpe and Gorham Manufacturing (Woodward 1986; RIHPHC 1981)

Lisa E. Sep 8 2016 I remember back in the mid 80s, my high school years, getting my first razor haircut at a salon upstairs at 3 Steeple St. Not sure if it was the 2nd or 3rd floor, what the name of the salon was, or even when it closed, but if anyone recalls that salon I’m referring to, I’ve love to have them share the information.

al barkley Jul 19 2016 I attempted to fill the void that Fast Forward left in that third floor location. I had Contrast Records there (punk/hardcore record store) for nearly four years in 2000-2004. That was a damned good time. Occasionally the One Up caused a bit of a shit show and finding nearby parking was a huge pain in the ass (sorry to any old customers but I promise I suffered worse than any of you) but it was a cool spot especially seeing as I had a 2 bedroom apt in the back of the store. Yeah, I lived there for nearly 4 years while having the record store. Fast Forward did the same, then myself, and so on. I was long gone by the time this "Summer Camp" thing existed but I was glad to see something I could relate to was still going on there. I have no idea what is in any of that building now in this summer of 2016 however it was cool to see some old names/friends in this posting…

Jeffrey Allcock Apr 7 2016 Very fond memories of Steeple Street. I used to take writing classes at Anyart, browse the books and zines at the bookstore that succeeded it (I forget the name now), and kissed my first boyfriend in the restaurant downstairs over a glass of wine.

Walter Donnaruma Dec 2 2014 I met Willie Pep in Paul’s Crystal Tap. Nice guy, but his recollections of his fights got his fists going so I kept my distance.

Dave Whiteside Jun 21 2014 I’m looking for information on "Alwin Studio" 5 steeple st. It’s on the back of a framed print I'm trying to identity. Probably 1910-30s

Derek Mar 2 2014 I remember lots of fun at 3 steeple street. When the basement would flood, rats the size of alligators. Steve was great. Pablo could peel shrimp like nobodies business. The owner was a jerk. Now One Up was awesome. Laurie, Bobby or Gene behind the bar. I had to make them carry Drambuie (What bar doesn't carry that) and Tuesday dollar Rolling Rocks were off the chain! Some good bands. Nothing compared to my open mic "War Pigs" lol

Steve Tice Sep 16 2012 I remember the Crystal Tap in the early 1960’s. Believe it was Paulie’s Crystal Tap. Popular with Brown students as they didn’t check IDs and served “dimies”, 7oz draft beer shots for a dime. Rumor had it that Paulie got the place from the mob for “doing the time”. I hope Paulie wasn’t Julie’s uncle and she corrects this, but as rumor had it, he met an early demise a few years later.

Daniel N Oct 12 2011 Steve D. & Frank I. rented 7 Steeple’s ground floor in late 1970 in order to open SIMPLY PLASTICS, a custom design and acrylic-plastics fabrication shop, located between Armondo’s and 9 Steeple’s "Bucci & O’Neil’s" Law Firm. I was 20, recently discharged with a military service disability, and a friend of Frank. I helped them at first fixing the place up before it opened and Steve suddenly left on many month’s trip. When he returned he decided to sell his share of SP’s partnership to me rather than jump back into it. We were the first strictly custom acrylic fabrication studio in RI and stayed at 7 Steeple until about 1974-75 before moving to a bigger shop location. I rented that building’s top most area, myself, where the slotted skylights-widows show. There were others about here and there throughout the 3 buildings up top. This was then supposed to only be workshop areas, not meant for sleeping; no baths or shower facilities (Dale C. at RISD’s Glass Dept. however had invited me to use that Dept’s showers at will after I’d done certain intricate work for him.) The period from the start of 1970 into the mid-70s were pretty unique both in this particular location and in society overall. There are many great memories and only a few residual regrets on my part owing that time of my immaturity, the occasional and then readily available expansive influences, and perhaps a couple of youthful indiscretions that might have been associated with them. Still the good outweighed the few (which I shall apologize for) – many fold.

jr Apr 10 2009 I remember going to One Up in the early eighties. Rudy Cheeks used to narrate classic “so-bad-they’re good movies”, like “Plan 9 from Outer Space”, and “Invasion of the Bee Girls”...I think it cost somewhere between $1 and $3 (for the movie, and running commentary). For a broke college student, it was perfect. The comment about the pitchers of beer, and the interesting mix of people hit home. Also, I have a (albeit blurry) memory of a free-yet-wonky pool table. Does any one else remember this – or did i just dream it?

Michael of the Spiked Forest Mar 12, 2008 I remember playing gigs at this location. One Mr. Hymers would pay us in drinks. Cheers. Gene Severns R.I.P.

tabs Mar 10 2008 Hopefully the people that bought the building will respect and honor the integrity of the building. The landlord that owned it before wasn’t interested in restoring the building, he was more interested in band-aides and collecting rent. The optimist in me sees a postive change where the building is protected for the longhaul...

Paul Dechichio Feb 25 2008 I owed Cathartic Records which was the last record store to occupy the space that was Fast Forward, Contrast, and More Than Music; then became Summer Camp after I left. This was a great building. Sadly it is now an empty shell with nothing inside except the restaurants on the first floor and an used clothing store on the second floor (where Atlas Bower Books was). I miss this everyday. RIP 5 Steeple St.

Bob Eggleton 9 Steeple Street, right on the corner, circa 1986-90 was the location of an Art supply store called Bryan Clegg Art Supply. Both of us used to work for a store called Oakes on The Hill up the hill on Thomas St, I was let go in 1983 and went on with my career, he was let go in 1986 after being there for many years, and opened his own business, and Oakes subsequently collapsed as a business, and Bryan’s place took over selling stuff to RISD students. Because of space issues and rent, Bryan moved next to Fains (South Main Street) and later, thanks to the RISD Store getting fairly re-organized, Byran went out of business around, 1992/93 as I recall.

Joan d’Arc Frank Difficult and I ran the bookstore Newspeak and the video store Obsidian video on the second floor from 1994 to 1998. Obsidian was there probably through 2000. In the picture above you can see the sign Books Video. Currently (2007) that sign says 1793 Shoppe. It’s now a vintage clothing store. David Golden has just sold the building and terrible things are going to happen there now because they’ll probably turn it into condos!

Martin The building was sold to Capitol Properties in November of 2007. All of the artists and musicians are being evicted to make way for the company’s new corporate headquarters. It’s a shame. The people who reside there really love that building. I should know.

Dan G One Up was still open in February 02, because that’s where we stumbled after the Pats won the super bowl. Hymers is a legend and One Up, The Safari, and the Decatur Lounge are places that will never be replaced in my heart. Fast Forward was a great record store and many an afternoon was spent in there and In Your Ear, especially circa 94-96 when I was in high school.

Laurie I bartended at One Up on the 2nd floor of 3 Steeple Street for about 10 years during the 1990s and early 2000s. Really met a lot of great people there too! We had some fun times, especially when the local bands played on Saturday nights! (Thanks to Hymers :)

Heather A. I seem to remember a bar above 3 Steeple called One Up. I played a lot of pool there in the early 90’s. I wonder if it is still there? (AIR: The One Up was my favorite bars in Providence until it closed in 2002. Punk kids and RISD students and guys in business suits all shared pitchers on the second floor; the pool was free but the table was wacky; and open mic night was hit or miss, usually a whole electric band would set up to play two or three death metal songs)

Jef Choice New Rivers suffered a small kitchen fire in April 2007. Not soon after, Summercamp’s rent was raised and its final day will be May 30th, 2007.

Ron Marinick I was co owner of Fast Forward records and lived and worked in 5 Steeple for 6 or so years. My Daughter who is 12 now lived her first 6 years in that distinctive building. A singular experience. She has fond memories of her time there.

Vanessa Appleby Steeple Street is not only inhabitied by a restaurant, but a tattoo parlor, and several apartments of young artists and musicians. The building is now tenderly referred to as “Summer Camp”.

Julie My Dad ran a restaurant their called Armondos’ with a lounge upstairs called 3 steeple street. My uncle ran a bar before that called Crystal Tap… This was in the 60’s .

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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