PAWTUCKET – A historic men’s club restored for a modern archaeology laboratory is one of the dozen projects, places, and people that will be honored at the 5th annual Rhode Island Preservation Celebration on Sept. 29.
The Rhody Awards, chosen by Preserve Rhode Island and the Rhode Island Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission, from nominations by the public, honor individuals, organizations, and projects for their contributions to the preservation of Rhode Island’s historic places.
The Public Archaeology Laboratory, at 26 Main St., will receive a Preservation Projects Award for the rehabilitation of the former To Kalon Club. The Georgian Revival-style clubhouse was built in 1911 as the headquarters for the private men’s association, founded in 1867 by Pawtucket’s industrial leaders. The facility provided members with a place to relax and dine amidst elegant surroundings, which included a grand central staircase, handsome wood paneling, leaded glass panels, historic light fixtures, and a corbelled brick fireplace.
When the To Kalon Club disbanded a century later, the building went on the market.
“Fortunately, the club had been an excellent steward of the property,” states a news release. “Architectural features survived largely intact, and the original floor plan had barely been altered.”
The Public Archaeology Laboratory, a cultural resources management firm, stepped in to ensure “that this architectural gem would be preserved.” With the assistance of federal historic preservation tax credits, owners converted the former social club into the firm’s offices.
Durkee, Brown, Viveiros & Werenfels Architects oversaw the project, with E.W. Burman serving as general contractor. Exterior brick was re-pointed; original windows were restored or, where missing, replaced, and the 100-year-old slate roof was retained. Sections of the iron railing, removed when the porch was partially enclosed, were re-created and the porch opened up.
Interior finishes were restored, and common spaces, which include a lounge with original furnishings, several dining rooms, a bar, and a billiards room, were converted to offices and meeting rooms.
“Built to give Pawtucket’s businessmen a respite from the office, the To Kalon Club now provides state-of-the-art work space for 45 archaeologists, architectural historians, preservation planners, and support staff, a fitting use for this meticulously restored Pawtucket landmark,” according to those who made the selection.