New to the Providence Preservation Society’s Most Endangered Properties List this year is the Providence Gas Purifier House. Most recently, the first floor of this imposing brick pile on Allens Avenue housed Sin Desserts (since relocated to Westminster Street). Built in 1899, the Purifier House originally served the process of coal burning gas production for heating and lighting. It was decommissioned in 1916.
The steel frame, which is largely visible from the exterior, is the building’s most distinctive feature along with the elliptical arch truss roof. The exterior skin and fenestration visible today date from modifications in the1920s, when second and third floors were inserted internally. Many additions and modifications have come and gone, though the main block of this building survives miraculously.
This building has great potential, but the location (Allens at Public Street), with its nearby industry, rumbling truck traffic, and strip clubs, is problematic. Also the property sits between piles of scrap metal and road salt. Having said that, this dead end of Public Street is also a recently restored shoreline right-of-way . . . beach access! Okay, maybe not a beach exactly, but most of these windows have spectacular views of the upper bay.
The site is located between the Seaplane Diner and Collier Point Park with its boat launch.
I know little or nothing about structural engineering, but this place looks pretty solid. Nice black glass tiles around the first floor windows too.