A survey of much of the important new construction which has marked the rapid progress of Providence, Rhode Island, for several decades would give prominence to the name and work of Frank C. Stender, one of the most prominent marine contractors in the State and head of the firm of F. C. Stender & Company. He was also associated with D. M. Weston & Company, riggers, and was especially concerned with water front matters and the development of the port of Providence.
Frank C. Stender was born in Hamburg, Germany, January 29, 1872, and he came to Providence when he was a boy of fourteen. His remarkable business ability and his energy soon established him in the contracting business. One of his first achievements was the purchase of the old Corinthian Yacht Club on the west shore of the bay, which he loaded on scows and took to Oakland Beach, there to remake it into the Oakland Beach Yacht Club, notable for many years as a restaurant operated by Mr. Stender, who offered an excellent shore dinner to his patrons. He always had a summer home at Oakland Beach, and he supervised the construction of the old trolley drawbridge there, and was president of the Oakland Beach Amusement Association and a trustee of the resort fire district. He also supervised the erection of another trolley drawbridge at Bellefonte. His firm built many of the oil terminals in the port of Providence when the large oil distributing companies located their plants there. Under his direction were erected the wharves and terminals of the Mexican Petroleum Corporation at Allen’s Avenue and at Kettle Point, East Providence, of the Atlantic Refining Company at Kettle Point, and of the Gulf Refining and the Texas companies. His firm also built the wharves of the Seaconnet Coal Company, the Curran & Burton Coal Company, of John R. White & Sons, and of many other firms ordering smaller piers. Foundations for the new twenty-six-story Industrial Trust Building were sunk by the Stender Company, as were those for the Providence Federal Building, the Rhode Island College of Education, the Rhode Island Hospital Trust Company Building, the city incinerator, the Narragansett Electric Company’s Eddy Street Building, the Providence Gas Company Building, and many others. At the time of Mr. Stender’s death, his company was busy on the foundation work for the New England Power Company. He was also responsible, with his concern, for the foundation for Loew’s State Theatre and for the large insurance building on Canal Street. A piece of engineering in which Mr. Stender took great pride was the construction of a retaining bulkhead on the waterfront of the Davol Rubber Company’s plant on Point Street, for he succeeded where other contractors failed and he erected a satisfactory and lasting bulkhead. The last year of his life was spent in virtual retirement, because of his illness, but his interest in the affairs of his company remained alive and constructive. He was a member of Providence Lodge, No. 14, Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks.
Frank C. Stender married, April 5, 1893, Elizabeth Mulvey, daughter of James Mulvey, who belonged to an old Rhode Island family. Mrs. Stender survives her husband, as do their children:
- Florence, who married Kenneth R. Longwill, and has a son, Kenneth Robert, Jr.
- Dorothea, who married Carl Hintze, and has a child, Carl, Jr.
- May L., who married William J. Higgins.
- Frank T., who married Ruth Watson, and has two children: Lorraine and Carolyn.
- Amos, who married Gertrude Jaeger, and has two children: Amos, Jr.; and Joan.
- Harold, who married Erma Ekloff, now deceased.
The death of Mr. Stender, October 20, 1929, at the comparatively early age of nearly fifty-eight, prematurely ended a life of happiness and usefulness which might reasonably have been expected to continue for many years. His success Mr. Stender built up with his own ability and amazing energy, and it continued through the integrity of his business practices. He had a splendid reputation, and he enjoyed the liking and esteem of all informed people in Providence, who realized the worth of his constructive service to the city.
Source: Carroll, Charles. Rhode Island: Three Centuries of Democracy, vol 3 of 4. New York: Lewis historical Pub. Co., 1932.