You are here

Pawtucket City Hall, Police Department, and Fire Department

-A A +A
1935, O'Malley and Richards. 137 Roosevelt Ave.

In addition to his high school ( PA3), John F. O'Malley made this other impressive, and earlier, Art Deco contribution to Pawtucket, a municipal complex in a blown-up and Moderneized Neo-Federal style. It contains typical Mod-erne elements, all well executed: stylized reliefs beneath the ground-story windows; plain limestone blocks with eagles carved into corner panels on either side of the entrance; a stepped-back frame to the entrance recess; over these, a fine ornamental iron balcony in a Neo-Federal diamond pattern stretched and rhythmically counterpointed into modernity; then, farther up, fluted pilasters without base or capital and, finally, a stone grille in more diamonds immediately under the tower. Original ornamentation of the cuboid capping of the tower included more eagles (these in metal) at the four corners, but deterioration forced their removal. Inside, the ornamentation is sparser. Astonishingly, the tower interior is one big, unused hollow (except for a small storeroom at the top), revealing inside the steel frame and cinder block over which the brick and limestone walls were laid. It may have been justified as grossly inefficient space for record storage, but ended up as what it really was—an extravagant folly to civic grandeur.

Writing Credits

William H. Jordy et al.


What's Nearby


William H. Jordy et al., "Pawtucket City Hall, Police Department, and Fire Department", [Pawtucket, Rhode Island], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of Rhode Island, William H. Jordy, with Ronald J. Onorato and William McKenzie Woodward. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004, 145-145.

If SAH Archipedia has been useful to you, please consider supporting it.

SAH Archipedia tells the story of the United States through its buildings, landscapes, and cities. This freely available resource empowers the public with authoritative knowledge that deepens their understanding and appreciation of the built environment. But the Society of Architectural Historians, which created SAH Archipedia with University of Virginia Press, needs your support to maintain the high-caliber research, writing, photography, cartography, editing, design, and programming that make SAH Archipedia a trusted online resource available to all who value the history of place, heritage tourism, and learning.