Wickenden Street, #312

also known as The Blue Elephant, The Duck & Bunny

This turn-of-the-century Federal-style two-story wooden house-turned-resturant was razed quickly on Good Friday in 2021

#DemolitionAlert

A quick demolition took the neighborhood by surprise.

About this Property

#Reason for Demolition

Rumors abound. Some folks who know the owner told us via Instagram that the owners intended to renovate the building, but it became an albatross as they uncovered more and more problems due poorly executed earlier renovations as well as issues with the foundation. A small group of neighbors lobbied the owners to continue to save the building or sell it to someone else who would.

The demolition came quickly and largely by surprise. There is not a historic district overlay that would have prevented a permit from being issued. There is a demolition delay instituted for downtown Providence, but this is outside the bounds. As another user stated, “Wildly rising East Side property values mean the pressure to ‘develop’ the neighborhood keeps building,” no pun intended.

Statement from the Providence Preservation Society Facebook page:

The demolition of 312 Wickenden — formerly the Duck & Bunny — is an unfortunate reminder that while National Register Historic Districts provide recognition of architectural and historical significance, they lack local preservation protection. The Federal-style former house contributed to the College Hill Historic District on the National Register, but Wickenden Street is not part of a Local Historic District — and this means NO demolition delay/denial or review of new construction plans. Preservation is only as effective as the guidelines a neighborhood agrees to enact. PPS confirmed last year that the building was in rough shape, but we wish more could have been done.

A statement from Councilman, Ward 1, John Goncalves:

…the permit for demolition was issued on March 15. Again, while notifying abutters is not legally required, not letting the neighbors know prior to the contractor’s work creates challenges for the neighborhood. We have expressed our disappointment regarding the lack of communication, particularly due to the adverse impact this has had on our constituents as well as the way this demolition impacts the historic vibrancy and fabric of our neighborhood. The long-time owners indicated that they had hoped to rehab the property, but the building was in such poor shape it was preferable and more cost-effective to demolish and rebuild than to repair.

#Current Events

The building was only recently demolished and we have not been able to confirm what will take its place. Some rumors include a new restaurant for the owners of the Duck and Bunny and locals predict more unaffordable housing.

#History

The building’s footprint is shown on a Sanborn Insurance Map from 1900 and it is also shown on an 1889 Sanborn at street number 248.

#In the News

Duck and Bunny Building Demolished on Wickenden Street in Providence

by the GoLocalProv Lifestyle Team
GoLocalProv | April 4, 2021 (abridged)

The building that housed the Duck and Bunny in Fox Point has been demolished.

The Duck and Bunny was a local — and national favorite — since it emerged on the scene, with cupcakes, crepes, cocktails, and more in a cozy, stylish converted Colonial house.

The structure at 312 Wickenden Street — which the City of Providence says was built in 1900, according to tax assessor records, was nearly completely torn down on Saturday.

In 2019, the Duck and Bunny announced it would be closing for “major renovations” — and in July 2020 said it would be taking an extended hiatus due to coronavirus, staying the following:

The Duck & Bunny will be closed until further notice as we deal with the current health and economic climate. This includes our auxiliary space in Pawtucket. Thank you for your patience and understanding. Our goal is still to raise enough money to reopen our Wickenden Street location in 2021. Peace and love to all. Please be safe and nice to one another. This too shall pass.

The Duck and Bunny did not respond to request for comment on the demolition on Saturday.