images of this Property
11 images: Press to view larger or scroll sideways to see more. Contribution by Rick Greenwood for the National Register Form and Google Streetview
About this Property
This 100+ year old, stately brick and brownstone building has been a strong presence on the edge of the Jewelry District. Before its conversion to residential, the floors of this building were home to many small businesses and start-up companies — as well as Snookers pool hall in 2009.
The building was open to residential by 2017, just as newer construction started to pop up around it on the recently cleared former I-195 lands. DBVW Architects designed the conversion and restoration of period details, including an ornate birdcage elevator, a six-story open staircase, and terrazzo tile floors. The project was a 2019 Providence Preservation Society Preservation Awards Winner.
Visit the 95 Lofts website for leasing opportunities.
From the National Register nomination form for the Providence Jewelry Manufacturing Historic District, 1985
95 Chestnut Street Irons & Russell Building (1903-04): A 6-story, flat-roof, brick factory building with large segmental-arched windows separated by narrow piers and capped with a corbeled cornice. A rectangular building occupying a corner lot, it has side entrances to the upper stories on Chestnut and Clifford Streets. The Chestnut Street entrance has a brownstone surround with a round-arched doorway and a projecting entablature above with “Irons & Russell Building” engraved in the frieze.
Originally designed to have two stores on the ground floor, the building had seven full-length showcase windows along Chestnut Street and three on Clifford Street, with a corner entrance and cast iron Roman Doric columns dividing the window bays. The windows have been replaced with stuccoed panels (A.I.R.: since removed) and small transoms and the commercial area is now occupied by a bar and restaurant.
In 1903-04, the Irons and Russell Company, manufacturers of emblems, pins and charms, commissioned a new building to provide it with expanded quarters and to house other light industrial firms. Located on the corner of Chestnut and Clifford Streets, the six-story brick building was noted at the time of its construction for its use of electrical power, provided by its own plant, which eliminated much of the need for belting and shafting, making the workplace lighter and cleaner. The building was heated by the exhaust steam from the power-generating system, and water was supplied throughout the building from a spring discovered during the excavation of the foundations. Irons and Russell was one of a few Providence firms that succeeded in expanding beyond the customarily small scale of operations. By 1909, when the average number of workers in a jewelry company was thirty-two, Irons and Russell employed 170 people. The company continued to occupy the building until 1956.
From the RIHPHC’s survey of Providence Industrial Sites, July 1981
95 Chestnut Irons & Russell Company (1903-1904): Martin and Hall, architects. The Irons and Russell Company began as the Charles F. Irons Company in 1861 for the manufacture of society emblems, pins, and charms. In 1886 Charles E. Russell, who had learned the jewelry business while in the employ of Irons, opened his own company in the third and fourth floors of the Sackett Building (no longer standing) on Friendship Street which Irons also occupied. The Charles E. Russell Company also specialized in society emblems, trade emblems, rolled gold-plate pins, and chains. Russell employed about twenty-six people. Finally, in 1893, Irons and Russell joined their separate businesses to form the Irons & Russell Company. By 1901 they employed seventy-five workers. In 1903 having outgrown the Sackett Building, Irons & Russell commissioned a new building to be erected at 95 Chestnut Street (the site of the old Federal-style mansion which had last been occupied by the Home for Aged Men, now on Broad Street). The Irons & Russell building, which was intended to house other light-manufacturing interests as well, is a 6-story, brick, industrial building with a flat roof, a corbeled cornice, and segmentally arched windows which are separated by narrow brick piers.
The building was noted at the time of its construction for its use of all electric power which eliminated much of the need for belting and shafting, making the work area lighter and clearer. The building was also equipped with a steam boiler, a Westinghouse engine, and electric-generating and controlling equipment. It was heated with the e […] housed a couple of other firms, was filled in 1917 by four other jewelry manufacturers and by a company that specialized in engine turning. The Irons & Russell Company occupied this structure until 1956, when it sold the building to Carl-Art, Inc., a jewelry-manufacturing company and long-time occupant of the Irons & Russell Building. Owned by Carl-Art until 1969, the structure still retains several jewelry manufacturing tenants. Leo’s Cafe also occupies this building.
In the News
Redeveloped Jewelry District building will include 57 apartments, restaurant space
by Christine Dunn
Providence Journal | November 19, 2015 (abridged)
Work will begin soon on the redevelopment of an historic Jewelry District building into 57 apartments and ground-floor restaurant space, and the new owners hope to have the building reopened by the end of 2016.
The Irons & Russell Building at 95 Chestnut St. was purchased in August for $3.6 million, according to one of the new owners, Brian Poitras, president of Waldorf Capital Management LLC. Providence lawyer Zachary Darrow founded the real estate investment firm in 2009 […] which also own the 17-story Turks Head Building in Providence’s financial district […]
Hecht had bought the 57,000-square-foot Irons & Russell Building for $2.1 million in 2012. In November 2014, the I-195 Redevelopment District Commission rejected Hecht’s proposal to build a parking facility on the vacant highway land near his building.
[…] In February, the state Department of Revenue’s tax division approved $750,000 in historic rehabilitation tax credits for a renovation of the building. The credits were given to Hecht but they transfer to the new owners. They were awarded for $3 million in qualified rehabilitation expenses.
Poitras said architects Martha Werenfels and Ed Cifune of Durkee, Brown, Viveiros & Werenfels are leading the design project. He said the building will include a restaurant space and some common areas on the ground level and apartments on all six floors.
He said the market-rate rentals will have quality finishes, restored hardwood floors and exposed brick walls, along with amenities such as in-unit laundry machines. The apartment mix will include a few studios and about an equal number of one- and two-bedroom apartments, sized between 550 and 1,100 square feet.
— Captured April 26, 2023 from https://www.providencejournal.com/story/business/real-estate/2015/11/10/redeveloped-jewelry-district-building-will/33007315007/