Fuller Iron Works (1869)

also known as Bevo Martini Bar

A handsome, symmetrical façade, Greek-revival inspired mid-19th-century mill building that seems to have always been well cared for

About this Property

#Redevelopment

It is a north west facing three story brick building five bays wide by ten bays deep. It was the first building constructed for Frederick Fuller’s iron forging company. The Fuller Iron Works lasted until 1937, when operations at these locations ceased and the new owner, R. Clinton Fuller, shifted the company’s focus to real estate management and development.

This building was converted to office space in the 1960s. All the historic write-ups include the fact that the large, multi-story, circular arched-top window on the Pike street facade was added during this time. It’s neighboring building, constructed in 1893 as the region’s first steel trussed workshop, was demolished in 2012.

This building, though, since the 1960s it seems, has always been occupied and used for commercial office or restaurant space. We hope it continues to be as lucky.

#Current Events

The building was recently (2017) sold at auction, along with the land nearby. A new residential development is being built next door — called 580 South Water — and we think this building will be integrated into that development.

#History

The land on which this building sits is part of the College Hill Historic District, though the building itself is not listed as a contributing or non-contributing structure.

It’s address is officially 566 South Main Street (even though the street is now called South Water Street) but it is also referred to by 39 Pike Street. Interestingly, 566 South Main Street and 566 South Water Street are the same address (in Google), while any other South Main Street address is a block away. During the relocation of I-195, the I-Way construction rerouted streets and changed street names — what is now Bridge Street (where the Hot Club is) used to be South Water Street; present South Water Street was South Main; and South Main was Benefit Street.

From the RIHPHC’s survey of Providence Industrial Sites, July 1981

Fuller Iron Works (1869, 1893): The Fuller Iron Works, established by Frederick Fuller in 1839, first occupied the old wooden buildings of the Fox Point Foundry on the northeastern corner of South Main Street (then called Fox Point Street) and Pike Street. By 1850 the Providence Directory noted that “the Fuller’s Foundry and Machine Shop is an extensive establishment and is in very flourishing condition.” The Fuller Iron Works produced heavy-machine castings, water pipes, steam engines, and other heavy-metal products.

Upon Frederick Fuller’s death in 1867, his sons, Frederick and George, took over the business and erected the 3-story brick building with a low, pitched-gable roof and segmental-arch windows with granite sills on the southeast corner on south Main and Pike Streets. In 1893, the Fuller Iron Works built the glass and steel machine shop (which is now covered by modern siding) located to the south of the earlier structure. It was the first steel-frame and glass machine shop in Providence. The Fuller Iron Works, which continued to be controlled by the Fuller family, ceased operations in 1937 when R. Clinton Fuller shifted entirely to the field of real estate, having founded several years earlier the Fuller Real Estate Company. For quite a few years the 1869 machine shop was used by a social-service organization. In the 1960s, the building was converted to office use and the tall central window on the north elevation was installed.

From “RHODE ISLAND: An Inventory of Historic Engineering and Industrial Sites”, Gary Kulik and Julia C. Bonham, 1978

25 Pike Street, Fuller Iron Works (1869) — In 1840, Frederick Fuller purchased the wooden buildings of the Fox Point Foundry Company and began the manufacture of iron castings. By the year of incorporation, 1894, the Fuller Iron Works were producing iron castings, steam and gas flanged pipe and fittings, and general machinery castings. The company’s 3-story, brick building, which was erected in 1869, has a low-pitched roof, segmental-arch windows with granite sills and a tall central window on the front facade which is round arched and was installed in the 1960s when the structure was converted to use as an office building. The glass and steel machine shop, which is attached to the back of the brick building, was constructed in 1893. It was the first steel frame structure of its kind built in Providence. Today most of the glass curtain walls are covered with shingles. The 1901 steel and glass foundry, though greatly altered, is located on the east side of the brick building.

#In the News

Former Benrus building in Providence sold for $1.9M

by Christine Dunn
Providence Journal | July 13, 2017

The former Benrus store at 39 Pike St. in Providence has been sold for $1.9 million.

The historic building, which has a legal address of 566 South Water St., was sold June 8 by Tockwotten Group LLC to S & K Real Estate Group LLC, according to Providence deed records.

Keel Partners LLC, which sells premium light vodka, announced Wednesday that its investment group had purchased the building, which is adjacent to the former Route 195 land.

“We are looking at all the options and opportunities that this 17,000-square-foot space affords us,” Keel president and cofounder Bill Dessel said in the announcement.

“Keel is a great addition to the South Main Street and India Point waterfront scene, set to expand with increased housing and businesses as the 195 land is developed,” said Richard P. Baccari II, president and CEO of Churchill & Banks. Baccari is the manager of the Tockwotten Group.

Private land near old Rte. 195 site for sale at auction

by Kate Bramson
Providence Journal | November 1, 2010 (abridged)

Two private parcels of land just east of the new Providence River Bridge and near the public land that will eventually be available for development because of the relocation of Route 195 are for sale at auction.

The properties are 566 South Main St., the former Fuller Iron Works building, described by the city planner’s office as the first all glass and steel industrial building built in Providence, and 40 Tockwotten St., a 32,817-square-foot site with a former manufacturing and warehouse facility.

The glass-and-steel portion of the South Main Street building is now covered in asbestos shingles, according to documents consulted by Thomas E. Deller, city director of planning and development. The front portion of the building is a three-story brick addition that housed, until a few years ago, the martini bar Bevo. […]

(A.I.R.: Correction to the above. The older building is the 3-story brick mill still standing, it is not a “three-story brick addition.”)


Bevo Martini Bar made the Fire Marshall’s list of establishments that needed sprinkler system upgrades in 2004, post-station nightclub fire.