Boy Scouts of America Naragansett Council

also known as Planned Parenthood

An opportunity for mid-century modern along a stretch of land opened up by razing older properties during the construction of I-95

About this Property


This Moderne-styled double level lodge headquarters and offices was outgrown by the Boy Scouts around 2002 or 2003. They moved on and the building was vacant at the time these photos were taken (2008). It sits at the corner of Broad Street and West Franklin Street, which runs parallel along I-95 South. It is bounded on the west by Cahir Street.

The 1960s post-mid-century style is evident here, with a modern interpretation and simplification reminiscent of the Prairie School. Exposed beam ends, criss-crossing hip rooflines, and deep overhangs feel more at home in the midwest or Pacific northwest than in New England. It’s as though a modern camp building was placed in the middle of a bustling city, which might have been the point.

After the Boy Scouts left, it served as campaign headquarters for Hillary Clinton in 2008 and Buddy Cianci in 2014.

Current Events

Around 2015, Planned Parenthood purchased the building and completely moved in by 2017. This new headquarters gives them additional space and an adjoining parking lot.


The Providence Historical Aerial Viewer shows this location as empty in its 1962 photo, as the new interstate highway is being cut through the city. By the 1972 photo, this building is in place. Further, this building is present in a photo labelled 1964 from the Providence City Archives on Flickr. Local historians place its construction closer to the 1962 date.

The man responsible for the design of this structure was D. Thomas Russillo, a local architect. In addition to this building, he designed several houses on the East Side in the Blackstone Boulevard area as well as the Smith Hill neighborhood. Most of these houses are Moderne- or Frank-Lloyd-Wright-inspired designs.

According to Wm. Mackenzie Woodward of the RI Historic Preservation and Heritage Commission,

Russillo was clearly aware of & more than merely competent in producing designs within the contemporary mainstream.

Thanks to Mr. Woodward for the brief bio of the architect, and for the list of properties he designed:

In the News

Planned Parenthood — Privacy, efficiency key to new health center

by Lynn Arditi
Providence Journal | April 25, 2017 (abridged)

Planned Parenthood of Southern New England has moved into a newly renovated health center with a direct-access parking lot that supporters hope will prevent confrontations with protesters.

The two-story building at 175 Broad St. is designed to accommodate the center’s growing patient population — nearly 8,000 in 2016 — and offer more privacy for patients as they enter the clinic, officials said.

It’s less than one mile from the former Point Street location, where patients had to cross the street from the parking lot — at times escorted through a gauntlet of protesters — to enter the clinic.

“The protests were designed to shame patients who are seeking basic health-care services and also to intimidate the people who work here,” said Mary Bawza, the organization’s chief operating officer. “All people should be able to get health care without harassment and intimidation. We’ve actually been looking for property for several years … It was certainly one of the reasons.”

The move marks the second in the center’s more than 80 years in Rhode Island. The first Planned Parenthood center opened in Providence in 1932.

Mary Ann Sorrentino, who headed Planned Parenthood from 1977-1987, recalled the protests outside the clinic when it was on Westminster and Dorrance streets, near Providence City Hall.

A Roman Catholic who was publicly excommunicated from the church, Sorrentino recalled when Joanne McOsker, then president of Catholics For Life, showed up outside the clinic. “She’d hand out St. Joseph’s medals to anyone she thought might be going in there,” Sorrentino said. “And I used to go down and hand out condoms behind them and say: ‘If that doesn’t work, you need these.’”

Back then, the clinic operated out of a shared rental space. “One of the last things I did when I was executive director … was to tell my board that we needed our own building,” she said. “But we couldn’t have foreseen, or we didn’t foresee, how things were really going to end up.”

[…] Planned Parenthood spent $7 million to buy and renovate the building following a four-year capital campaign that raised nearly $22 million, Bawza said. The health center is on the first floor, and the floor below houses an education center that includes the STARS program, which stands for Students Teaching About Responsible Sexuality.

The health center is designed to maximize efficiency, she said, with nurses, midwives and other clinicians seated in a central hub with easy access to labs, exam rooms and bathrooms.

“This center was designed to improve patient experience,” Danna Freeman-Shara, manager of the Providence Health Center, said in a statement. “We saw our first patients Monday afternoon and they were overjoyed with the new health center.”

Over the last five years, Planned Parenthood’s patient visits in Rhode Island have grown almost 22 percent, Bawza said. Of the 8,000 patients served in 2016, 61 percent were low-income and 33 percent were uninsured, the organization said in a statement.

Arditi, Lynn. “Planned Parenthood Privacy, efficiency key to new health center.” Providence Journal (RI), sec. RI News, 25 Apr. 2017, p. A1. NewsBank: America’s News, Accessed 9 Sept. 2023.