Horace Remington & Sons Company

also known as Vennerbeck & Clase, Remington Building

A simple mill building with 100 years of history in use for jewelry manufacturing converted to commercial office space in the 1980s

About this Property


For a short time in the 1980s, this building might have met its demise in favor of additional parking. According to aerial photos, the Remington Building has been the only standing structure on this block since 1939.

It was in use for precious metals refining and manufacturing. The original owner, Horace Remington & Sons Company, purchased another refiner in 1909, Vennerbeck & Clase, and that name became the dominant brand of the company, though relatives of the Remington family retained controlling interests. Both companies were involved in the manufacture of fine jewelry supplies like precious metal wire.

Around 1978 this owner moved out and a realty company became owner followed by the nearby Outlet Company. The Providence Land Company owned the Dorrance St. Masonic Temple building at the time, and the Outlet Company traded the Remington Building for it. They originally wanted to raze it for additional parking.1

But as part of a later deal with United Department Stores as they purchased Outlet assets, the Remington Building was not included, and shortly after, Outlet put the building out to sealed bid. Steven Weinberg, a local sculptor and artist, bought the Remington for $154,000 and started renovating it.2 He would hold onto it for only a few years before the DeStefano Building Group would purchase the building in 1982.


This is a handsome, utilitarian five-story brick mill twice as long as it is wide. It has a flat roof, rectangular windows capped with arches, granite lintels, and door openings on three of the four sides. The copper cornice is shallow with a narrow entablature below it and runs around two sides of the roofline. The back side, facing Pine Street, used to abut many other buildings on the block, including other refineries and jewelry-related businesses. It is the only building on the block bounded by Friendship, Garnet, Pine, and Page Streets.

Current Events

The building is part of the Johnson & Wales property. It houses Design & Editorial Services; Digital Communications; General Counsel, Equity and Compliance; Institutional Research; University Admissions; and University Marketing.


From the RIHPHC survey of Providence Industrial Sites, July 1981

91 Horace Remington & Sons Company (1888): Horace Remington entered the silver and gold refining and smelting business as an apprentice in the large refining firm of John Austin & Company and several years later became the firm’s manager. In 1881 Remington formed a partnership with Charles Barber who retired a few years later. When Remington’s son Albert became a partner in 1888, Remington renamed the refining firm Horace Remington & Son. The business incorporated in 1901 as Horace Remington & Sons Company when Remington’s younger sons, Horace E. and Clarence G. Remington, joined the firm.

By the turn-of-the-century Horace Remington & Sons refined nearly a million ounces of silver a year. The business, one of the largest refining companies in the city, was known for its sophisticated machinery and innovative processes. One of Remington’s inventions was a machine capable of mixing (to produce an even quality of metal) 1000 to 6000 pounds of sweepings in two hours time, an operation which traditionally took two workers ten hours to accomplish. Another machine collected the silver or gold dust which rose during the refining process.

When Horace Remington retired in 1923, Horace Remington & Sons was the oldest refining firm in the city. In 1969, when the president and treasurer of the refining company, Horace E. Remington, died, the Horace Remington & Sons Company ceased operations.

The Remington Building is a 5-story masonry structure with a flat roof, regularly spaced segmental-arch windows, and a metal cornice. This structure, one of the few late 19th-century industrial buildings remaining in this area, is now occupied by the Mara Jewelry Company.

From “Downtown Providence: Statewide Historical Preservation Report P-P-5,” prepared by the RIHPHC, May 1981

Same information as above but less detail.

In the News

Real Estate Section ‘Remington Building to house offices’

by Clyde H. Harrington
Providence Journal | October 31, 1982 (abridged)

The Remington Building, an oddly-shaped, distinctive five-story brick structure hard by the “Outlet Co.” garage and the new Family Court complex, at last has been given a new lease on life.

After long months in which the 94-year-old building was vacant, or virtually so, it has been bought for $260,000 by RHO Development, the development arm of the Cumberland-based DeStefano Building Corp.

DeStefano Building itself will occupy 1,400 square feet of space on the second floor of the structure and the American Educational Software Co. will take up the remaining 800 square feet on that level, according to David P. DeStefano of Providence, owner of the building firm.

American Educational is a new Rhode Island corporation, based in Providence and specializing in what is known as “courseware,” that is, educational computer software. It is headed by Barry McConaghy of Johnston, its president.

AS FOR the first floor of the Remington Building, it probably will be set aside for retail space, DeStefano says. However, the third, fourth and fifth floors will be converted to office condominiums which may be sold outrightly for a price of $85 a square foot, finished, or may be leased at a rate still to be determined, he adds.

Why did DeStefano, who has concentrated for the last nine years primarily on industrial and commercial construction in Rhode Island and Southeastern Massachusetts, undertaken this type of development, particularly in such an old and challenging building?

“Well, it is the first time we have developed this type of project,” DeStefano agrees, “but being a general contractor we needed space and I had decided some time ago that if an opportunity came up, and if it was something that wasn’t over our heads, we would go for it.

“I had just been waiting for something like the Remington Building to turn up. We had been looking for something just about that size and price and we look on this building as both space for ourselves and as our first venture into rehabilitation.” […]

“The great thing is that there is not a large amount of space to fill,” he says. “There are 2,200 square feet of space on each of the five floors and in the basement. We are close to signing a retail operation to take over the entire first floor and basement. That will leave the top three floors to fill.”

WHEN WORK is completed, each floor will be served by two stairways and by a brand new elevator.

The existing building had no elevator. A sort of dumb waiter near what had been the principal (and only) staircase, on Page Street, served to move smaller supplies among the five floors. On the Friendship Street side, an outside hoist carried goods between the sidewalk and the double doors at each level.

RHO acquired the building from Remington Associates, of which the principal was glass sculptor Steven Weinberg who maintained his studio there for some time.

DeStefano says the rehabilitation will involve installation of new windows, improvement of the brickwork, creation of an exterior elevator shaft and housing and extensive revamping of the interior. […]

Under the reconstruction plans, the “dumb waiter” shaft will be used to house the building’s various mechanical systems; an exterior fire escape will be removed, and a good portion of heavy chimney walls on each floor will be removed to permit creation of larger lavatories.

“Most of this work is the result of plans drawn up by John Riley, the East Providence architect,” DeStefano says. “He is our architect for this project.” […]

The Remington Building was erected in 1888 by Horace Remington, founder of Horace Remington & Son Gold & Silver Refiners. Twenty one years later, Remington family members purchased another Providence refining company called Vennerbeck & Clase which had been established in 1881.

EVENTUALLY, Vennerbeck & Clase, a manufacturer of precious metal wire and sheet now situated in Lincoln, became the dominant element in the company. Even today, Vennerbeck & Clase is headed by Albert A. Remington III, its president and treasurer and Horace Remington’s great grandson.

For years the building housed jewelry job shops, a jewelry assembly plant, a metal stamping operation, and even student sculptors.

The Outlet Co. acquired it several years ago and all tenants left. In a bidding operation, Weinberg obtained the building for $150,000 and last month sold it to DeStefano.

  1. HARRINGTON, CLYDE H.. “Real Estate Section ‘New Building will bring..values up’.” Providence Journal (RI), ALL ed., sec. NEWS, 14 Feb. 1982, pp. G-01. NewsBank: America’s News, https://infoweb.newsbank.com/apps/news/openurl?ctx_ver=z39.88-2004&rft_id=info%3Asid/infoweb.newsbank.com&svc_dat=NewsBank&req_dat=D4BD6B42F1AB4706B5E1244D477DEE03&rft_val_format=info%3Aofi/fmt%3Akev%3Amtx%3Actx&rft_dat=document_id%3Anews/1525C40AA348F968. Accessed 27 June 2024. 

  2. Ibid.