Providence Preservation Society Industrial Sites and Commercial Buildings Survey 2001-2002
Rau Fastener Company
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218 Dexter Street
Year Built
ca. 1917
Total Land Area (sf)
~ 285,273
Total Bldg. Area (sf)
~ 108,094

# Parcels

Zoning (Note- may not cover entire site)
National Register Status (Explain)
Included in ICBD (Explain)
Original Owner
In Enterprise Community (EC)
West End
2000 Census Tract
PCIS Business Inventory
# Businesses: # Employees :
% Complete: Avg. # Yrs:
Year Surveyed: State Register: No
Other surveys:
RIHPHC Form: No Citywide: No
1981 Report: No Woon Greenway: No
HAER: No Promenade: No
See bibliography for survey explanation.
Note: RIHPHC Form status changes rapidly. Contact them for most current data.
Blank Fields= Info not available

It is a large complex on the east side of Dexter Street at the corner of Dexter and Sprague streets. The complex consists of three parts: a three-story brick building facing Westfield Street (1890), a two-story brick factory building facing Dexter Street, and a four-story building (ADA Building) to the east. The Dexter Street factory building (1952) stands behind a paved lot on the east side of Dexter Street. It is a large, two-story, brick, rectangular structure with a flat roof. Several loading bays are located on the first floor level of the west elevation. Fenestration is comprised of rows of rectangular, fixed and awning windows. To the east is the three-story, brick block set perpendicular to the street. The building features segmental-arch window openings with a combination of multi-light sash and brick and wood infill with stone sills. A tall, brick smokestack with brick corbelling stands as a prominent feature of the complex. To the east is the four-story, gable-roof, L-shaped Loft building, which stands parallel to Sprague Street. This block features similar fenestration to the three-story block and features a one-story boiler room on its northwest side. A two-story, wood-frame building clad in metal sheathing stands on the north side of Westfield Street.

The earliest part of the complex is the ADA Building, which is identified by a datestone as having been constructed in 1892. By 1919, the property was occupied by Providence Lithograph which owned the 102 Westfield Street section. At that time, storage houses for Providence Lithograph were located at the Dexter Street side of the complex where the 1952 addition was constructed. On the Harrison Avenue side of the complex there was a neighboring building which housed the National Elastic and Webbing Company. Rau Fasteners, established in 1912, was the leading distributor of metal snap fasteners in the nation and played a large role in the Rhode Island economy. According to the Providence Journal, the company was founded by Lues Reiter. The 1929 directory identifies Rau Fastener at the 102 Westfield Street location, with a capitalization of $100,000 under the leadership of Lues Reiter, president, and James H. Arthur, secretary-treasurer. By 1949, the company was run by Harold J. Reiter, president, and Herman Reiter, treasurer.

A 30,000 square foot addition was made in 1952, greatly enhancing the size of the complex. By 1955 the complex appears as it does today. Rau Fasteners retained ownership of the property through to 1961. According to the Providence Journal, the complex was purchased by U.S. Industries in 1968. The property was transferred to Rau Fasteners, Inc. in 1985. The current owner is Rhode Island Industries.

Ownership information (as of previous year's Tax Roll) is available via our internet mapper.
Read about the mapping application here.
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The online Industrial Sites and Commercial Buildings Survey is a partnership between the Providence Preservation Society and The Providence Plan