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175 Broad Street / former Boy Scouts Lodge (office)

 

We hate to place this building in Urban Decay, as it is in decent shape, but it clearly has been unoccupied for years, and a “For Lease” and “Will Build to Suit“ sign placed outside the building from Paolino Properties indicates that the structure itself may not be long for this world. It’s location is prime (if it weren’t for the sluggish market), right on the edge of the highway and Service Road Seven, near the downtown core.

It is a very nice example of what might have been an homage to Pacific Coast architecture, or the Prarie School style. It’s exposed beams, deep overhangs and long, sloped roofs are not very New England, and therefore, the building must have been designed to harken images of the modern West – something exotic for boy scouts from the suburbs. A bit of hilltop lodge in the middle of the city.

The building has been without a tenant for what seems like at least 6 to 10 years. If anyone remembers this building or knows the stories behind it, please get in touch.

 

The building was erected around 1962. The man responsible for the design of this structure was D. Thomas Russillo (1902-1978), a local architect. In addition to the Boy Scout Building, he designed several houses on the East Side in the Blackstone Blvd area as well as the Smith Hill neighborhood. Most of these houses are Moderne- or Frank-Lloyd-Wright-inspired designs. According to Wm. Mackenzie Woodward of the RI Historic Preservation and Heritage Commission, “Russillo was clearly aware of & more than merely competent in producing designs within the contemporary mainstream.” Thanks to Mr. Woodward for the brief bio of the architect, and for the list of properties he designed.

Russillo-designed homes (and links to Google maps):
The Anthony Gizzarelli House (1947-48), 665 Pleasant Valley Parkway (no street view availble)
The Leonard Levin House (1954-55), 80 Clarendon Avenue
The Max & Roslyn H. Winograd House (1962), 100 Clarendon Avenue
The Peter Bardach House (1958), 33 Intervale Road.

Don May 11 2009 I worked there the last few years the building was occupied. The office needed significant overhauling, and the council had outgrown it’s small size. There were literally offices in hallways and storage rooms there. It was still a neat building though. It’s only been unoccupied for about 5 years.

The information about each building grows as visitors let us know about their experiences. Did you or a member of your family work here? Did you grow up near it as a child? Let us know. All entries will be moderated and may be posted in an edited form. We will use your name unless you tell us otherwise. We will not make your email public.

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