This empty lot is former site of Louttit Laundry
|Location||Providence, Rhode Island|
|Architectural style||Georgian Revival|
|NRHP reference #||04000197 |
|Added to NRHP||March 18, 2004|
Louttit Laundry (or What Cheer Steam Laundry) was a historic commercial building at 93 Cranston Street in Providence, Rhode Island. It was built in 1906, expanded in 1925, damaged by fire in 2001, and demolished in 2008.
The main building was a long two-story brick structure with modest Georgian Colonial Revival styling built in 1906, with an office block at one end, added in 1925. Its frontispiece featured a "projecting pedimented entrance."
William Louttit's Home Hand Laundry was established in 1896 by William E. Louttit, and his business grew rapidly, moving to this site in 1918, where the What Cheer Laundry (purchased by Loutitt) had operated since 1901. Loutitt operated from a 1906 building built by the What Cheer proprietors, and expanded in 1925 with the construction of this larger facility. At that time, Louttit was the largest laundry facility in Rhode Island, with over 150 employees and 16 locations. The building complex was sold in 1985 for 1.2 million dollars, and it closed two years later. A fire in 2001 destroyed most of the original 1906 building, leaving only the 1925 building standing.
The ground under the lot was contaminated over the years with cleaning chemicals and heating oil, requiring an extensive cleanup before the land could be used again. In 2005, the city received a $200,000 grant from the Environmental Protection Agency for a cleanup.
Unfortunately, the soil contamination was judged so bad that the only way to clean up the site would be to take down the building. Even efforts to keep Cranston Street Façade intact were decided in the end to be impractical. The city's Historic District Commission gave permission for demolition in October 2007, and the following year the entire structure was demolished by the J.R. Vinagro Corp.
As of 2012, the site has not been developed, and remains a vacant lot.
In an effort to attract attention to the site, the Providence Preservation Society listed the site on their Most Endangered List seven times, as well as listing it on the National Register of Historic Places in 2004.
- National Park Service (2007-01-23). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
- "NRHP nomination for Louttit Laundry" (PDF). Rhode Island Preservation. Retrieved 2014-10-15.
- There were two buildings, one built in 1906 and an addition built in 1925. By the time of the NRHP designation, the older building was destroyed by the 2001 fire, so it's the 1925 building that was NRHP listed. This explains why ProJo and other sources list the building date as 1906, but the NRHP application lists the date as 1925.
- "1995 Ten Most Endangered Properties". Providence Preservation Society. Archived from the original on 25 June 2014. Retrieved 30 May 2014.
- Barbarisi, Daniel (24 October 2007). "Louttit Laundry to fall to wrecking ball". Providence, RI: The Providence Journal. p. D1.
Demolition has been approved for the former Louttit Laundry, a historic building on Cranston Street
- Rhode Island Art in Ruins, accessed January 1, 2013
- Providence Preservation Society
- Rhode Island Art in Ruins Loutit / What Cheer Steam Laundry
- J.R. Vinagro Corp Photos of the demolition of Louttit Laundry
- Providence Preservation Society 1995 Ten Most Endangered Properties
- Flickr photo Senator Lincoln Chafee stands in front of the former Louttit Laundry building in 2009
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