Manville, Rhode Island: Milk Can - Bottle Building

Opened in 1929 and closed in 1968, the milk bottle building is empty, but in decent shape.

Hwy 146, Manville, RI
West of Manville, I-295 exit 9. Hwy 146/Eddie Dowling Hwy north two miles to the milk bottle, on the right. Also listed as in Lincoln, N. Smithfield or Slatersville.
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Milk can building.

Milk Can - Bottle Building

The Milk Bottle Shaped Building in Manville used to be an ice cream shop. Originally known as "The Milk Can," built in the late 1920s, closed in 1968. It was moved here from Lincoln, near what is now the I-295 on-ramps.

It has some graffiti up on the top section, but otherwise looks like it is left alone. Sits next to a gas station, which is where we parked. They say it was abandoned from its use here because of highly contaminated ground water, and no way to tap into the town supply. I did look in the windows; it's cleaned out and looks like someone might be repairing it, but I'm not really sure.

[Donna, 03/21/2014]

Milk can building.

Milk Can - Bottle Building

Recently saw a man on a ladder painting over graffiti with white paint. Still somewhat abandoned as far as practical use, but the Milk Can Bottle Building seems well taken care of.

[AKR, 09/26/2013]

Milk Bottle building.

Milk Can - Bottle building

The Milk Can north of Lincoln needs help. Volunteer group may think about getting together to spruce up. It's a historical landmark that I used to visit as a child.

[Terry, 07/25/2010]
The Milk Can

Just wanted to clarify that the so called " Milk Bottle Shaped Building " on RT 146 northbound in North Smithfield was originally known as "THE MILK CAN" -- that was the name of the business/building since its construction in the late 1920's. It used to be located in Lincoln, RT 146 southbound near what is now the RT 295 on-ramps. I remember going there for ice cream on a warm weekend afternoon with my parents and grandparents in the late '50s and early ' was considered a big treat then.

As for its demise following its relocation, my understanding has always been that there was no potable water available to service the building (due to highly contaminated ground water and no available town water main to tap into),therefore, the Health Dept. could not allow it to reopen. It's a darn shame that such a wonderful piece of architecture and R.I. treasure is being allowed to fall to waste. If I could put it in my backyard...I would!

[L.A.Prescott III, 09/01/2009]

Milk bottle building.

Milk Bottle Building

The abandoned milk bottle building is still standing as of July 2009.

Here's a little history: The building dates back to 1929. It went out of business in 1968 and sat vacant until the state wanted to use the land it was on for a highway exit ramp in the 1980s. Stanley Surtel Jr. and his father-in-law Frank D'Andrea bought the structure for $1,100 and had it moved from its original Lincoln, Rhode Island location to a new spot a mile down the road on Route 146 in North Smithfield.

Almost immediately, the new owners encountered problems. It took preservationists and highway officials 17 months to devise a way to move the building without damaging it. Then regulations for installing a septic system added another delay. Surtel and D'Andrea put $50,000 into restoration when the state informed them the ground water on the new location was horribly contaminated with 600 times the allowable amount of benzine. Never reopened, the structure has been sitting on that same plot since 1991.

It's on a busy road, but I parked at the gas station next door easily and took some pictures.

[Gunnar Johnson, 08/01/2009]

Nearby Offbeat Places

Sistine Chapel of Rhode IslandSistine Chapel of Rhode Island, Woonsocket, RI - 3 mi.
Angular Abe: Sit Inside LincolnAngular Abe: Sit Inside Lincoln, Woonsocket, RI - 3 mi.
Statue of Hachiko, Faithful DogStatue of Hachiko, Faithful Dog, Woonsocket, RI - 3 mi.
In the region:
New England Wireless and Steam Museum, East Greenwich, RI - 23 mi.

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