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Pawtucket City Hall, Police Department, and Fire Department

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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

Author: 
William H. Jordy et al.
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Citation

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—, http://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/RI-01-PA16.

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.

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