Main Street, #1088

also known as Rag and Bone Bindery & Books

An irregulary shaped two-story former jewelry mill turned into a small-business studio and residence

About this Property

#Redevelopment

Rag & Bone Bindery were formerly located at One Allens Avenue. Since the building was purchased with federal money to make changes to the highway system, relocation funds were provided. Rag & Bone used those funds to purchase this two story, 10,000 square foot mill building. The city of Pawtucket provided assistance through their Revolving Fund, supplying gap financing to bolster the renovation budget.

From an interview with Jason Thompson, 2003

We took possession of the building in June of 2002 and began the renovation soon after in August. The demolition was completed by myself with assistance from Rag & Bone staff on a few days for large tasks, such as removing some of the machinery and motors in the building – some attached to the first floor ceiling. With ropes and leverage we were able to clean out this equipment. I tore down interior partitions, removed two generations of lighting & electricity (getting zapped twice…) eventually filling three thirty yard roll-away dumpsters.

Nassa Flooring Company removed and re-poured two concrete floors (one in our Inventory Room, the other in a separate production room). West Shore Construction sand blasted the interior brick walls, ceiling, and wood beams. Sandblasting creates the most incredible mess you can imagine. We could only clean-up during the day the electricity was turned off during the sandblasting process – as well as the heat, during November.

After the clean-up the floors were sanded and refinished. Sanding hardwood floors creates an instant improvement. Once cleaned up, the floors were beautiful, especially in the wide open spaces. Contractors then built a few interior walls, around our shipping area, inventory room, basement entrance and storage area. At this point H & R Electric spent four weeks re-wiring the first floor (at this time we have not yet renovated the second floor, it is still raw space). After lighting and power were installed we finished painting the new walls and essentially moved in and started up production simultaneously.

I served as general contractor, interviewing subcontractors and scheduling the work. The work was challenging. Having run a company for 13 years helped in regards to making decisions, sticking to schedules and having confidence telling the contractors what to do, what not to do, and at times to do something again.

We now have plans to renovate the second floor of the building as a residential loft. There are approximately 3,000 sq/ft to work with. The sprinkler system is functional, the roof leaks in a few places. The exposed brick walls are sanded in half the space, painted in the other half. Sandblasting creates such a mess that we really can’t sandblast again while there’s a working bindery downstairs. We’ll work around this limitation by repainting the brick or building interior walls around the brick.

#Current Events

Rag & Bone Bindery still operates from this location. Occasionally they have studio sales but most of their business is done online or through resellers.

#History

Originally a jewelry production shop, the machinery was run by belts that came off the driveshafts mounted to the ceiling. This was common in jewelry shops — it saved floor space provided continuous power to cutting and grinding machinery.

The building and most of the surrounding buildings appear on the earliest aerial photos we can find from 1939. We have not been able to find earlier insurance maps that could help date the building.