images of this Property
21 images: Press to view larger or scroll sideways to see more. Contributions from the Pawtucket Library Digital Collections on Flickr
About this Property
Honestly, we have no idea who the last real tenant of this building was. It might have been the Sacco’s department store, and we are unsure of what they sold. Around 2007, when we and a business partner purchased the W.T. Grant building up the street, there was an out-of-state owner who used this building for antique furniture storage and would occasionally open to the public.
In the early- to mid-2000s, Louis Yip owned most of south-western Main Street from the corner of East Avenue to the former DMV now school district building at Park Place and Main. This building seems to have changed in and out of his hands as new potential owners tried to do something with the space. Tax records show in 2022 that E-O Inc is the current owner, which is a Louis Yip incorporation.
As the photos show, the inside is mostly just a shell. There is a multi-story portion in the rear with a steel staircase and mezzanine overlooking the open floor plan below. Portions of the older interior ornamentation are cut off of the walls at around 9 feet off the floor, indicating that at one point the first floor level was likely fitted with updated retail wall portions and a drop ceiling to “modernize” the interior appearance. The dome is mostly intact inside and outside. The copper work was in very good shape the last time we saw it.
The footprint of the building is a thin wedge shape, and the rear portion of the building has no alley access to East Avenue as the former Woolworth’s building next door (to the right as you look at the buildings from Main Street) wraps around the back of it. The lack of egress makes the building very difficult to repurpose. The building exterior walls and its plat boundaries are the same at about 8,000 square feet. In order to reuse the building and add a second means of egress, a portion of the neighboring building would have to be given over to this one or access would need to be granted to cross over the roof from this building’s second floor.
The building has been listed for sale on and off since about 2010. As far as we know, the building is still empty and decaying. The tax records indicate a “future” owner by the name of “Majime Inc” as of January, 2022, so perhaps there will be some new work being done soon.
From the National Register nomination for the Downtown Pawtucket Historic District, Kathy Cavanaugh, 2006
236-238 Main Street — Industrial Trust Company Building, (1900-1901; altered mid-late 20th (NC) century): William Walker & Son, architects; Sheldon Construction Company, builders. A 2- and 1/2-story, flat roof with copper-clad dome, brick with stone veneer, commercial building with 2 storefronts (much altered). Historic images indicate that this building originally had a Neoclassical façade similar to that of 216 Main Street (also built 1901), with Corinthian columns, arched main entrance and 2nd floor window openings, and a balustrade on top of the roof, behind which was a large copper-clad dome. The dome is the only element that survives (visible from oblique angles). Today, mirror-image metal-framed storefronts have side-by-side recessed center entrances, wood paneled bulkheads, and a continuous metal storefront cornice. Above the storefront cornice is an applied wooden signboard, partially removed; on the 2nd floor level is a large oval-shaped metal applied signboard. The upper façade, clad in stone veneer, has no windows.
In an advertisement in the 1900 city directory, the Pawtucket branch of the Providence-based Industrial Trust Company bank, then located at 255 Main, announced that by fall 1900 it would move into its new building across the street at 236 Main Street; and indeed it was listed there (albeit with the address 238 Main) in 1901. The bank remained in business here as the building’s sole occupant until 1951. The date of the façade renovations is not known (elements of the original may survive underneath), but had occurred by 1984: a photo of that date shows a Sacco’s discount store in this location, with the large oval sign in place. The building is presently vacant.
This building is designated non-contributing because the modern façade completely obscures its original appearance, but historic features may survive underneath.
If we were to dig deeper to figure out when the stone veneer was added to obscure the Neoclassical details of this building’s façade, we might reference this photo where the building has the façade on it and a sign reading “Clear Weave.”
The cars in this photo are mid-50s, as is the shopper’s fashions. The old Peerless is on the far right. Shartenberg’s in the middle of the photo (tall, to the right of WT Grant) was demolished in 1973. The old Peerless to the far right of the photo was demolished in the later 70s.
Melea Maynard from Facebook says the green/yellow bus in front of Shartenberg’s wears the colors of the “trackless” trolley buses. The trolley bus routes ended in June, 1955. But there doesn’t appear to be overhead wires in view so she guesses this photo is post-1955. The UTC bus colors were cream and orange the mid-1950’s. The first car that appears in the picture (far left) looks like a 1953 Cadillac, based on the “chevron” hood ornament. Based on all this, we are guessing the postcard was taken in 1956-58, which means that the Industrial Trust Company was covered in stone veneer by the mid- to early-50s, shortly after the Industrial Trust Company moved out in 1951.