historic restoration to the gladding buildings on thames street

Contributing to the Working Waterfront & Preserving Bristol's Heritage. A Public-Private Partnership between the Town of Bristol and Harborside Holdings. 

public-private partnership between the town of bristol & harborside holdings corporation

Owned by the Town of Bristol, HHC was selected as the company to restore and develop the Gladding House & Store in 2017. Through a long-term lease agreement with the Town, the full restoration to both buildings and development plan eliminates blight, enhances surrounding property values, and complements the Town’s growing heritage tourism experience. In addition, HHC is following best-practices and requirements surrounding flood hazard mitigation as it pertains to historic structures due to climate change and anticipated sea level rise. HHC is also working with the Town to compliment its plan for boardwalk expansion, the Town’s desire to maintain riparian rights, open space, and, perhaps most important, public access. As such, public access will be maintained to the south and large open green space to the west to integrate the property with the planned boardwalk expansion.  

history & significance

Located in the Bristol Waterfront Historic District, the Gladding House & Store represent two of the few small-scale mid-19th century commercial buildings left on Thames Street, a once bustling area of activity with densely packed shops, warehouses, and outfitters related to maritime trade, fishing, and oyster harvesting. Referred to as the “compact part of town” in the Historical & Architectural Resources of Bristol, Rhode Island, the Gladding structures remain an integral part of the historic waterfront and represent a rare glimpse into the town’s pre-industrial economy. Today, the Gladding structures stand alone, once flanked by narrow and extremely closely built shops and outbuildings toward the harbor.

Built by John Gladding III c. 1859 at the center of Thames Street’s commercial activity, the two buildings served as his residence and store. A well-known dealer in parlor stoves and tin roofing, Gladding also sold Japan-ware and tin goods advertised as “the best selected” and “ever before exhibited in Bristol.”