Superman building opens for free public tours

The first set of tours SOLD OUT in about 2 hours, WOW! More dates are being planned. Follow our social media accounts for details.

Providence, RI – In a continued effort to provide greater public access to the Superman Building, the building’s owner, David Sweetser of High Rock Development has agreed to open the building to public tours. The tours will be lead by members of the Providence Preservation Society. Members of the public who are interested in touring the building can register at www.savesupermanri.eventbrite.com. An initial schedule of dates is being released today. There are plans to add dates to the schedule. To tour the building participants must register through the website.

“I want Rhode Islanders to have access to the tallest building in the state. I want them to enjoy the views, which are one-of-a-kind in Rhode Island and I want them to have an opportunity to appreciate the architecture and history associated with the building,” said David Sweetser, principal of High Rock Development. “We appreciate the Providence Preservation Society lending their expertise to these tours.”

The initial tour schedule includes the following dates:

  • Saturday, July 23 at 7:30 pm, participants will be able to view the lighting of WaterFire at sunset (8:12).
  • Thursday, August 11 at 6:00 pm, participants can watch the original Superman movie, which starts at grant’s block at 7:30 pm after the tour
  • Saturday, August 20 at 6:45 pm, participants will be able to view the lighting of WaterFire at sunset (7:37).
  • Saturday, September 10 at 3:00 pm
  • Saturday, September 24 at 5:45 pm, participants will be able to view the lighting of WaterFire at sunset (6:38).

“Paul Goldberger, architectural critic and 1984 winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Distinguished Criticism, is credited with explaining that ‘architecture is history made visible,’ the Industrial National Bank, located in the heart of the Downtown Providence National Register Historic District, is proof that Goldberger's statement is true,” said Providence Preservation Society Tour Leader Barbara Barnes. “Every square inch of this building, inside and out, reflects the story of Providence. Friezes on every facade from Kennedy Plaza to Westminster Street tell how Providence was founded and how it grew to be a center of commerce, transportation and industry. Medallions high above the tellers' stations in the banking hall contain silhouettes of those who shaped and guided the city to greatness and prominence such as Roger Williams, Stephen Hopkins, Gilbert Stuart, and more.”

“This art deco skyscraper represents the strength and success of Providence and offers an optimistic blueprint for the future. Providence architectural historian, Mack Woodward, has written that it may look like a New York City building, but "the only 1920s skyscraper in Rhode Island is undoubtedly Providence's best known landmark," said Brent Runyon, executive director of the Providence Preservation Society.

The tours will last approximately an hour and a half. Each tour will begin with a brief video presentation and then participants will view the vault, the banking hall, and the 25th floor, where they can enjoy spectacular views of the city.

Providence Preservation Society tour guides include Barbara Barnes, Beverly Pettine, Lucie Searle, and Brent Runyon. Other guides will be announced later in the season. Each tour will have four tour guides and a total of 40 participants. Participants will be given a free t-shirt and a pair of binoculars.

For more information about the Superman Building please visit www.savesupermanri.com.