James C. Goff Company Office Building

also known as J.G. Goff’s Pub

A lovely little pub that we never had to pleasure of visiting. Construction on a 3 mile sewer project damaged the foundations beyond repair

About this Property

The connection to Davol Rubber is tenuous — see the History section for the details.

Reason for Demolition

From The Supreme Court of RI Archives — The FREE & Clear Company v. The NARRAGANSETT BAY COMMISSION et al.

Founded in 1993, the J.G. Goff’s Pub (J.G. Goff’s or pub) was a small tavern overlooking the Providence River and the Point Street Bridge in Providence. The pub was located in a freestanding historic brick building at the Davol Square Complex. Styling itself as “the neighborhood pub that’s not in the neighborhood,” J.G. Goff’s was a favorite destination among patrons on the way home from their downtown offices and the nearby hospitals, as well as university students and families.

J.G. Goff’s was formed, owned, and operated by Free & Clear, an “S” corporation that originally was held jointly by Robert Freeman, Jr. (Freeman) and Stephen Cleary (Cleary). In addition to his ownership interest in Free & Clear, Cleary owned the real estate management company that managed the Davol Square Complex until the late 1990s. Freeman, who sold Cleary his interest in Free & Clear in 1998, was the son of the then-owner of the Davol Square Jewelry Mart, LLC (Davol Square). The building that housed the pub (Goff Building) was owned by Davol Square.

The pub did not open for business on December 9, 2003, and it has not served another customer since that date. Two days later, on December 11, the Building Inspector for the City of Providence declared that the building was unsafe for occupancy and use.

Excerpted from Case Law Archives, captured June 4, 2020

Current Events

The area where this building once stood is now home to River House.


Local legend, bar owner, and bartender John “JR” Richard used to tend at J.G. Goff’s. Known more recently as the owner of The Avery in Loungo Square on the West Side and the PTX Lounge in Pawtucket Village, Cranston.

We have not found much info about this building as the Davol Rubber Company nomination form is light on details. A build date in included in the excerpt below, but we question whether or not this building was built by Davol:

From the National Register nomination form 1980 for Davol Rubber Company, prepared by Jeffrey Blydenburgh

Between 1918 and 1926 the [Davol Rubber Company] complex as we see it today was finished. The original boat slip was filled, a one-story structure with windows and framing identical to the 1913 addition was added and the small isolated office building at the southeast corner of the property was built.

While the date of 1913 might be correct, this small brick office building appears on Sanborn Maps between 1900 and 1920 as part of the James C. Goff Company, Mason Supplies. It seems that it was not built for the Davol Rubber Company at all, but was part of a purchase they must have made while expanding on the property and filling in the boat slip. Sanborn Maps may be found as part of our history of the Davol Rubber Company.

In the News

J.G. Goff’s Pub On Point Street Was Condemned And Is Considered To Be A Safety Hazard

By Karen Davis
Providence Journal | December 3, 2004 (abridged)

City officials have approved a proposal to demolish a historic building that was damaged by contractors working on the Narragansett Bay Commission’s combined sewage overflow tunnel last year. The building, which formerly housed J.G. Goff’s Pub, at 7 Point St., was closed last December after work on the multimillion dollar sewer project damaged the brick tavern’s foundation and walls.

The building is owned by Davol Square Jewelrymart, LLC. Richard Jaffe, of Davol Square, said his company has made several appeals to the Bay Commission to try to get the building repaired. A support system that holds up the building extends over the sidewalk and into one lane of traffic on Point Street, and it has been in place for the last year.

After receiving no response from the Bay Commission, the company went to the Historic District Commission to ask for a demolition permit that they are prepared to use if they are unable to get the Bay Commission to make repairs. The company plans to approach the commission one more time in an effort to get the building repaired.

Rent on the building has not been paid since last December.

On Nov. 22, the seven-member Historic District Commission approved a recommendation that the building be demolished, according to officials in the city Department of Planning & Development. The decision was based on an assessment that the building’s foundation was heavily damaged and three of the four sides of the small tavern were unstable and needed artificial supports.

Vibrations were what damaged the building. Contractors had been working in the area since March 2003 to lay the foundation for a three-mile tunnel that will ultimately contain storm water and untreated sewage to keep it from draining into Narragansett Bay. Last fall, workers drove piles into the ground about 10 to 15 feet away from the tavern as a stabilization measure. Bay Commission officials said they believe that driving the piles into the silty soil beneath the riverside tavern caused vibrations that led to cracks in the building. Contractors noticed cracks in the south side of the tavern’s brick wall and alerted authorities, who had the building inspected. A private inspector and city building inspector discovered additional cracks in the foundation, authorities have said. The Bay Commission immediately had contractors install wood and steel supports to help shore up the building.

The building is considered historic because of its location – on the edge of the city’s Jewelry District.