McDevitt Building

also known as Kinyon’s Block, Adam’s Block

This once ornate building was simplified in the 1920s and once again in the 2000s but has always been commercial space

About this Property

#Redevelopment

New owners acquired the almost 30,000 square foot McDevitt building in 2005 for just about $600,000. The plans are to upgrade the mixed-use office/commercial/retail spaces for all kinds of businesses. The first spaces available were on the ground floor, and local favorite Shri Yoga studio was one of the first new tenants.

The previous Art Deco details of the building were great, we think, but as we have learned by talking to others about it, not everyone was a fan. The glossy black Art-Deco style marble on the ground floor was a detail that is rarely seen anymore, and we were sad to see it go. The previous details before the Art Deco renovation were even better, though. We were glad, however, to see the vinyl siding get removed that came in as patchwork along the façades.

It was nice to see the building looking fresh and new again, but we are sad to see such a Miami-style stucco finish on the first floor. We know that the correct, historically-accurate renovations would be very expensive to make, and with the tax credits gone, it makes it harder on business owners to do those types of renovations. Still, we’d like to see more activity in Pawtucket, so at the end of the day, we are very positive about the developments.

#Current Events

Storefronts and upper floor commercial space are available for rent.

#History

From the National Register nomination for the Downtown Pawtucket Historic District, Kathy Cavanaugh, 2006

9–27 Broad Street Kinyon’s Block, now McDevitt Building (1888; remodeled 1923 and mid-late 20th century) A 3-story, flat roof with parapet, 11-bay, red brick, triangular-shaped commercial building with 7 storefronts (all altered), located at the comer of Broad and North Union Streets.

Originally constructed in the Queen Anne style, with a 4-story corner tower; the top floor of the tower was removed and the remaining tower walls were clad in concrete in 1923 during an Art Deco-style remodeling, which also introduced opaque colored spandrel glass at the 2nd floor level of the tower (above the comer storefront at #9), a concrete door surround at the Broad Street entrance to the upper floors (#23), and added the name “McDevitt Building” to the top of the tower and over the Broad Street main entrance. This remodeling apparently extended to most of the Broad Street storefronts; surviving elements include the curving storefront (now partially clad in metal panels) at #15; opaque colored spandrel glass at #17; and mosaic tile flooring with the name “McDevitt’s” within the recessed entrance to #21.

All of the storefronts retain what is likely their early 20th century, if not original, configuration of recessed entrances with metal-framed glass doors, set between large, metal-framed plate glass windows, but some of the current storefront windows and doors are later replacement elements. In the late 20th century, aluminum siding was applied across the tall, continuous, wood and metal sign band above all of the Broad Street storefronts. The upper floors on Broad Street are divided by brick piers into 11 bays, 10 of which contain paired 1/1 double hung wood sash windows (those on the 3rd floor have transoms); the 11th bay (closest to the comer tower) has a brick-infilled 2-story shallow recess instead of window openings, which appears to be original. All window openings have sandstone lintels.

A substantial corbelled brick and sandstone cornice, with brick parapet above, tops the building. On the North Union Street elevation, the ground floor level has been altered as well (late 20th century): there are three bays of brick-infilled arched window openings; a 3-bay storefront covered in applied wood panels, with large expanses of glass block above the windows and centered door; a secondary entrance containing non-original paneled wood door, sidelights, and infilled transom, with glass block above the doorway; and another 3-bay storefront with aluminum-framed windows and recessed center entrance, again with glass block above. (None of the North Union Street storefronts are presently numbered, or appear to be occupied.) Similar to the Broad Street façade, the upper floors on North Union have 10 bays of paired 1/1 wood windows, all topped with sandstone lintels.

Myron T. Kinyon, an insurance agent (whose wife Mary Ann (Adams) Kinyon was the daughter of the previous owners of this lot), had this building constructed as an investment property. It first appears in the 1888 directory as “Kinyon’s Block,” and Kinyon himself had an office here. The other original tenants are not known, but an 1890 map shows six numbered storefronts along both street sides of the building, the YMCA on the 2nd floor, and offices on the 3rd floor. As of 1914 Kinyon’s Commercial School, founded by Myron’s son W. Hervey Kinyon to teach business skills (bookkeeping, shorthand, typing, etc.) was located here. By 1915 the W.H. McDevitt clothing store had moved into the storefront at #25, and as of 1921 the building was re-named “McDevitt’s Block.” The building remains in commercial use.