J. J. Smith’s Oil Works // 1837

This parged stone industrial building is one of the oldest remaining in Warren, Rhode Island and is directly related to the history of the town being the leading whaling port of the Ocean State. Built around 1837, this structure was built as a storage facility for Joseph J. Smith, a whaler and the wealthiest man in Warren by the 1850s. The stone structure was constructed to house the highly-flammable whale oil which he rendered from the blubber of those he killed off the shores of New England. By 1887, the structure was purchased by Joseph Stubbs, who ran an extensive oyster business and sold many of his catches to the gilded age estates in nearby Newport and Narragansett. The building is now occupied by a bicycle shop, showing the changing commercial character of Warren and many coastal communities all over the region. While the building may not be architecturally significant, it showcases the industrial and commercial history of the town.

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