Thorpe Electric Company building

A small single-story brick commercial-industrial storefront with subtle art-deco details

About this Property

#Redevelopment

Around 2004, a previous bike shop across from the Montgomery Street Post Office was turned into Two Ton Inc., an architectural/industrial design firm run by the team of Luke Mandel and Peter Benarcik from 2004 to about 2008. Two Ton Inc. designed buildings large and small as well as designed and fabricated furniture. They converted the space starting in the summer of 2004. A small basement section of the poured concrete floor was converted to a sunken conference room, while a wood and metal fabrication shop was in the back.

#Current Events

In 2008, partner Luke Mandel sold the building and moved the studio and his family to Minnesota. Peter has left for San Francisco a few years earlier. New owners have taken over the space and we are not sure what they have done with it since.

#History

A Sanborn Map from 1949 shows a building at this location with a concrete floor labelled “Sign Painting” — Pawtucket 1923-Dec. 1949 vol. 1, 1923-Nov. 1949, Sheet 19 (sign-in required).

From the Downtown Pawtucket Historic District nomination form, November 2006, prepared by Kathryn J. Cavanaugh

49–51 Montogomery Thorpe Electric Company Building (1925; renovated late 20* century). A 1-story, flat roof with parapet, red brick commercial building with 2 storefronts (altered), 4 bays wide and 3 bays deep. The 1st and 3rd bays retain their original wood 12-light storefront windows with transoms; the 2nd bay is infilled with metal panels, and a solid metal door (numbered 51); the 4th bay has a large opening with a wood panel garage door.

The tapestry brick above the storefront level displays a series of concrete diamonds, with larger diamonds over the pedestrian and garage entrances; the parapet has a metal cap. There is a (shorter) 1-story addition at the rear (east elevation; date unknown). This building replaced an earlier, 1-story wood frame dwelling, which appears on maps from 1880-1923 (its original address was 9 Montgomery); as of 1925, all residential uses were gone, the Thorpe Electric Company (“auto electric repairs”) was located at 51 Montgomery, and the address 49 Montgomery made its first appearance, indicating the presence of two storefronts.

The current building is first shown on the 1949 map, when it was occupied by a sign painting company. Occupancy in this building has turned over fairly frequently ever since 1925, typically alternating between the building trades and auto-related businesses. It remains in commercial use as an architecture and design studio.