Good Will Engine Company

also known as Firehouse 13

A small but mighty former firefighter training facility turned art space and music venue and most recently, a hostel concept

About this Property

#Redevelopment

In 2001, the former fire-fighter training facility became an art space called Firehouse 13. Nick Bauta, a collaborator on The Steel Yard project, purchased the firehouse as his pet project along with curator Anna Shea. It was slowly restored over a period of about six years and evolved into a first floor flexible space usually used for music shows, steel fabrication studio space, along with studio apartments and work spaces on the 2nd and 3rd floors. The main event space was used for art shows, theatre, fashion shows, and some really great parties.

The restoration included sandblasting the paint off the first floor of the façade, more brick and mortar work, new windows, wood floor refinishing, repoured concrete floors, and upgraded fire suppression systems. Some of the windows have custom made grates across them with metal flames. One of our favorite things about the firehouse was the peeling and cracking paint that was all over the stairwell and the moulding. They found a way to keep it by sealing it in with clear acrylic and it looked great.

Bauta eventually turned his focus to partnering and managing Fete Music Hall in Olneyville around 2010 and 20111. New managers John “Cyco” Defruscio and his partner Windsong Hadley took over Firehouse 13. John had experience running venues from the Living Room as far back as the “bubble” days and more recently at Club Hell. The stage and sound were upgraded and a beer and wine license was procured. Rehearsal studios for bands were added and unique events continued to take place here.2

Nationwide, though, live music attendance dropped off and new generations of fans declined. After a year of revenue losses, Firehouse 13 closed in the summer of 2017.

#Current Events

The former firehouse is now a music venue and hostel called, appropriately enough, the Good Will Engine Co.

#History

Uncredited source: would love to get more information here and some source material. Send some our way if you have it

Historically known as the Good Will Engine Company, the firehouse was built in 1856. The Good Will Engine Company was originally the Providence Fire Department’s training school for cadets. The second floor was the living quarters and the third floor was a meeting hall and tactical training room. Horse drawn fire trucks and stables occupied the first floor into the early 20th Century. Standing four stories high, including the bell tower, Good Will Engine was a prominent building on a hill overlooking downtown when erected. A mere half century later, the firehouse was dwarfed by the construction of massive industrial mills that stand adjacent. It was decommissioned in 1950 and abandoned from the mid 1980s until 2001.

#In the News

Former Providence music venue Firehouse 13 to reopen as Goodwill Engine Co.

by Rob Duguay Providence Journal | May 22, 2019 (abridged)

Often in Providence’s music scene, when a venue closes another one opens somewhere else a few months later. There have also been instances of old places being resurrected, much like what’s happening at 41 Central St.

During the late 2000s, Firehouse 13 was an important part of the city’s music scene. Local bands such as Deer Tick, Roz and The Rice Cakes, The Viennagram and Ravi Shavi played there regularly, while legends such as GZA from the Wu-Tang Clan, skate punk pioneers Agent Orange and ska stalwarts The Slackers also graced the stage.

When Firehouse 13 closed in the summer of 2017, a door was shut on a lot of local music history. On Saturday, May 25, the venue reopens with a new name — the Goodwill Engine Co. Along with live music, the spot will eventually include a cafe and a hostel, where both travelers and locals can congregate. […]

Chrissy Stewart, a local music promoter and musician who runs the website PVDLive, said the combination club and hostel is a dream she’s had since 2007, when she spent a month after high school driving across the country with friends.

“We stayed at hostels and during one stay in particular, in Flagstaff, Arizona, I witnessed a compassionate and sincere exchange between the owner and a backpack traveler. In that moment, I knew that’s what I wanted one day, to be on the other side of the traveler and offer that same hospitality that made such an impact on me.

“I know how much traveling and staying in hostels where you meet people in a community atmosphere really transformed my friends and I,” she said.

When she returned home, Stewart got a job at a hotel and has been working in the hospitality business ever since. She moved to Providence about 10 years ago, about the same time as her brother Phil Stewart.

“My brother Phil and I had friends who were talented musicians but played at loud bars, so we started hosting intimate house shows which quickly grew the reputation of a place we have called The Grove,” she said. (The Grove is the siblings’ apartment in Providence’s West End where they put on house shows, usually featuring acoustic music.)

That led to a life Stewart wasn’t planning on — booking shows and even managing tours. But she never lost sight of her goal to one day operate a hostel and music venue.

“I think having an establishment like this is vital in Providence,” she said. “There’s accommodations that serve the young, on-a-dime traveler in Boston, New York, Portland, Burlington and even Newport.”

Stewart and her partners, including Kyla Coburn, a Providence-based designer, spent some time trying to come up with a name for the new establishment.

“We were scratching our heads for a while on the perfect name and while looking into the history of the building, it was made clear. In the early 1800s the building was a firehouse called the Goodwill Engine Co. We saw that and thought it was perfect.”

Captured on February 22, 2021 from https://www.providencejournal.com/entertainmentlife/20190522/former-providence-music-venue-firehouse-13-to-reopen-as-goodwill-engine-co

  1. Article mentioning the opening of Fete Music Hall, Providence Daily Dose, from 2011 by Beth Comfrey. Captured February 22, 2021 from https://providencedailydose.com/2011/10/07/fete-—-new-live-music-venue-in-olneyville/ 

  2. “The Extinguished Flame: Providence’s Beloved Firehouse 13 Set to Close,” 990WBOB, Bob Giusti, June 13 2017. Captured February 22, 2021 from http://www.990wbob.com/wbob-reads/the-extinguished-flame-providences-beloved-firehouse-13-set-to-close