Wedding Cake House Sold

514 Broadway Good news for fans of the gorgeous, historically significant, but seriously delapidated, Victorian pile known as the ‘wedding cake house’ up on Broadway — it has been purchased for $210,000 by Community Works Rhode Island, who plan to work with the Providence Revolving fund to transform it into affordable condominiums. From 1915 to 1947 the building had been the site of the Tirocchi Dressmakers’ Shop, the contents of which were donated to RISD for their collections and a 2001 museum exhibition. Brown University also stepped in to create From Paris to Providence, an online exhibition and catalog of the whole shebang.

In 1989, curators from The RISD Museum were invited into this mansion at 514 Broadway by its owner, Dr. Louis J. Cella, Jr. The site of A. & L. Tirocchi, Gowns — the dressmakers’ shop run by his mother, Laura Tirocchi Cella, and his aunt, Anna Tirocchi, between 1915 and 1947 — was a perfect time capsule. Dr. Cella offered the Museum its choice of the contents for its collection. The RISD Museum accepted more than 300 beautiful textiles and costumes from the 1920s and 1930s and all of the business records. Other fabrics and fashions were given to the Historic Costume and Textile Collection at the University of Rhode Island, Kingston.

And not a minute too soon for the rapidly deteriorating structure. It had made the Providence Preservation Society’s Most Endangered list in 2010, and according to the article in today’s ProJo the roof needs some immediate attention.

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