Sunday, June 17, 2012

"Superman Building": The Industrial Trust Building in Providence, Rhode Island (Postcard Series)

Column: Superman Building at a single bound.  (Providence Journal, 2/11/2012)

Excerpt:    The tallest building in Providence is the Industrial Trust or Industrial National Bank Building, known for the institution that had it built in 1927. At 428 feet high, including 26 stories topped by a four-story lantern, it beat the prior record holder, the Rhode Island State House (1901), by 205 feet, and holds its title today. Its closest rival is the Hospital Trust Tower (1973) at 410 feet. 

In addition, the Industrial Trust is the oldest building in America also to be the tallest building in its state, in which category the second oldest is the Empire State Building (1931). \\

The Industrial Trust replaced the Butler Exchange (1873), a Second Empire building with a public arcade that fed into that of the Providence Arcade (1828), across Westminster Street. The bank's prior headquarters, also on Westminster, was razed in the early 1970s to make way for the Hospital Trust Tower. 

The recent announcement that the building's only occupant, Bank of America, will not renew its lease puts the Superman Building, as many Rhode Islanders call it, back in the news, with much gnashing of teeth over the effect its abandonment will have on the local economy.

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