NARRAGANSETT, R.I. — Neighbors around the Boon Street area have noticed an unusual amount of activity at the site of the old Narragansett Pier Railroad station.
Owners Lindsay Holmes and wife Christina, along with longtime friend and builder Michael Virgilio are on a mission to restore the old historic building at 145 Boon St., bringing back parts of its unique character that were lost to time and renovations, and eventually offering it as both residential and commercial space.
They hope the work will help breathe a little more life into Boon Street as well.
Lindsay and Christina Holmes and Virgilio made an informal announcement of their project online on Sunday after hearing person after person ask what is going on at the building, constructed in 1896.
“Our primary focus at this time is the restoration of this once beautiful building,” Lindsay Holmes said.
The Narragansett Pier Railroad ran about 8 miles, from West Kingston to Narragansett Pier, and carried passengers from 1876 to 1952. Some freight operations continued until 1981.
“The building has never been restored, just built up and modified to suit the needs of the previous owners over the years,” Holmes said. “The bones of the building have withstood the test of time and the original floor plan still makes sense to this day.”
The couple bought the building, which has been home to the Pier Washtub laundry business, last year from Andrew Giannetto.
Lindsay Holmes said Giannetto was offered a lease to stay and continue his business, but had decided instead to conduct commercial business from his 9 Walts Way location.
Holmes said lots of time has been spent removing and tearing down years or decades of partitions, drop ceilings and other old material that was added after the building was first constructed.
They’re also taking pains to keep anything that is part of the original structure, where possible.
“With many residents as our guides, we have been able to find pictures both interior and exterior of the building, allowing us to locate and put to use time period details, unique to the original build,” Holmes said. The restoration team is especially proud of a new gable-end window that exactly matches an original one.
“My wife and I serve as the project’s only designers and these details are very important to us all,” Holmes said. “This building is ‘gansett’s most beautiful in my (very biased) opinion.”
The owners will offer several commercial and residential units once the work is complete, although they haven’t settled on specifics yet, Holmes said. Restoration remains the top priority.
“We have been approached by countless people in the community with various business proposals,” Holmes added. “We are excited to hear from all of the locals, we are locals too. We bought this building not to rent to the highest bidder, but to restore a piece of our town’s history with the hopes of bringing life back to Boon Street.”
The team is also open to any community suggestions for the space.
“The days and weeks ahead will bring big changes to the building,” Holmes said. “We hope everyone is as excited as we are and we look forward to your feedback.”