NAP- Neighborhood Alliance of Pawtucket

What happened to the Pidge Tavern?

Posted in: NAP- Neighborhood Alliance of Pawtucket
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  • mp775
  • Respected Neighbor
  • Pawtucket, RI
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I was going to ask Paul Mowry next time I saw him but some of you probably know as well - what became of the Pidge Tavern that was located at Pawtucket Avenue and Pidge Avenue? It was restored in 1940 but does not appear on a 1963 aerial photo. Since restored 300-year-old buildings don't just disappear, there must be a story.

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  • ludlow1
  • Respected Neighbor
  • Pawtucket, RI
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May 8, 2009

Dear MP,

On the idea of buildings that disappear, a Connecticut contractor who worked in Pawtucket and Central Falls  during the 1950's and 1960's said some old structures did "vanish" during Urban Renewal: before the wrecking ball reached the scene.

As an example, the contractor said when buildings faced destruction, the demolition leaders would instruct local contractors to take allegedly useless wood and brick from the buildings.  For instance, many buildings demolished for Route 95 on East Avenue became transplanted in Foster, Glocester and suburban Rhode Island.  

The previous idea may be purely speculative, but Pidge Tavern possibly earned that fate.

As far as the History of the Pidge Tavern, I was four years old when the building disappeared.  Where can I find out  more about the tavern?

In closing, where did you get the 1963 aerial photo?  I recently discovered through Mike Wilcox in the city Planning Department, aerial photos of the city from 1952 to 1962. In addition, do you have access to any ground photos of Route 95 construction from 1960 to 1964?

MP, your assistance would be appreciated.

Respectfully,

Jim Matuszek

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  • nap
  • Respected Neighbor
  • Pawtucket, RI
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Much is too true....and there would be a lot of treasures in the Betty Johnson Research Center and at the Pawtucket Library as well as the Pawtucket Preservation files.

It would make a great project for an oral history of some of these "to be lost facts of the past" and some photo collections to be preserved if we can find the persons or groups to help coordinate.

Does anyone volunteer a name or names?

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  • mp775
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  • Pawtucket, RI
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The tavern wouldn't have been taken for any "public good" like I-95 or urban renewal because all that's on the site now is Broadway Tire and The Othopedic Group.

I found the 1963 aerial from http://www.historicaerials.com, which has coverage of Pawtucket in 1963, 1971, 1996, 2001, 2003, and 2005. It's amazing to note the changes in downtown Pawtucket from 1963 to 1971. My mother moved to New York in 1968, and the first time she came back to visit her mother was after the circulator was completed. She got so lost going through downtown she had to call her mother to come pick her up.

As far as highway construction goes, the 1963 aerial shows I-95 from the north terminating at George Street, from the south terminating at the I-195 interchange, and grading and bridge construction in between. I do have ground photos from 1960 to 1965, mostly in the area between Atwells Avenue and Charles Street, but it's 674 MB of TIFs. I'll have to reduce them and save them as JPGs to make them postable.

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