Friday, June 15, 2012

"Superman Building," a rare tour

As the next installment in our year-long series Reinvent Rhode Island, The Providence Journal on Sunday, June 17, will publish a story about possible future uses for the iconic "Superman Building," which Bank of America, lone tenant, will vacate by April 2013. We were lucky enough to get a top-to-bottom tour of this historic and intriguing building, which has a storied place in Rhode Island history.

Here are some photos I took. Look for more in The Journal...

The "Superman Building," opened in 1928 as the Industrial Trust Company building, from Kennedy Plaza.

View of the Plaza from atop the building. The three prominent buildings are City Hall, the Biltmore and the Westin.
The view south, toward the head of Narragansett Bay
Door to the fabled "Gondola Room," rarely visited by the public. Many myths have developed regarding what this room was used for. Docking of dirigibles? Private parties for the bank president?
The Gondola Room. design clearly inspired by the passenger compartment of a 1920s blimp. Note the leather and oak appointments...
Custom wine rack.
The lantern at the top of the building is visible for miles at night. Here's the inside of the lantern.
Executive dining room, 26th Floor. No longer used, but furnishings remain.
The executive suite was lavishly furnished. These will all be removed when BofA vacates.
Peregrine falcons nest on the building. Here's a newly hatched chick. There's a webcam for them...
The basement safe has concrete walls thicker than three feet and doors that weigh 17 tons, all steel.
Side view of one of the safe doors. There are four doors. The safe itself is bigger than a house, or so it seemed. We were not allowed in.
Another door, next to a stationery bike, which gives the scale.


  1. I'm super jealous that you got inside to take these wonderful photos, and super grateful that you're sharing them with us. Thanks!