Gilbane is a company steeped in family values.
Built By Gilbane
Gilbane is a company steeped in family values and a heritage that began in the rugged countryside of county Leitrim, Ireland. In 1842, William Gilbane was born to Thomas and Bridget (O’Brien) Gilbane. To escape the “Great Hunger” the family relocated to the United States in 1845 making Rhode Island their home and welcoming the birth of their second son, Thomas, in 1854. In 1870, William Gilbane founded a carpentry firm and in 1871 Thomas Gilbane apprenticed with his brother William. Together they worked tirelessly to found Gilbane Building Company in 1870.
Since that time, Gilbane has built a reputation for fairness, discipline and an unwavering commitment to the highest performance in all facets of our business and operations as evidenced through our dedication to our Core Values. Today, strategic growth has offered Gilbane the opportunity to expand around the world.
Tour our Interactive Timeline
- 1844 - 1870: The History of Gilbane
- 1861 - 1865
- 1870 - 1908: The Founding Years
- 1883 - 1907
- 1894 - 1895
- 1909 - 1938: The Loyal Years
- 1940 – 1959: The Progressive Years
- 1960 – 1984: The Expansion Years
- 1985 – 2000: The Quality Years
- 2001 – 2009: The Growth Years
- 2010 – Present: The ‘One Company’ Years
Gilbane is one of the nation’s oldest family-owned design and build companies and is recognized as a leader in the industry. In 1870, William Gilbane founded a carpentry firm and in 1871 Thomas Gilbane apprenticed with his brother William. The firm quickly developed a reputation for building high-quality homes, mansions and public buildings such as the President’s House at Brown University and the Casino in Roger Williams Park.
William Gilbane – Son of Thomas and Bridget Gilbane, natives of County Leitrim – Born September 21, 1844
- From Ireland To The USA
Thomas Gilbane, his wife and young son William immigrated to America in 1845 from County Leitrim in Ireland at the height of the Great Irish Famine (also known as the Irish Potato Famine).
Thomas Francis Gilbane born – November 5, 1854 – Son of Thomas and Bridget Gilbane and brother to William.
In 1870, William went into business for himself as a carpenter and a builder.
Thomas Gilbane entered upon an apprenticeship with his brother William Gilbane to learn the carpenters trade.
William was driven by the belief that hard work, attention to quality craftsmanship and basic honesty would carry him through the recession (1870-1879). These basic principles formed the cornerstone that Gilbane’s reputation is built upon.
In 1883 the brothers formalized their partnership by establishing “William Gilbane and Brother.” William Gilbane and Brother worked dusk to dawn, six days a week. They built homes so well the owners boasted (and still do) “Built by Gilbane” at resale.
Built between 1894-1895, the building was opened in 1896 and is still in operation today. Roger Williams Park Museum of Natural History and Planetarium is within Roger Williams Park in Providence, Rhode Island.
Built between 1896 and 1900 by William Gilbane and Bro., the Church of the Holy Name of Jesus was built in the romanesque style.
On April 23, 1897, a large kerosene lamp exploded in the shop of Gilbane Brothers on Centre Street. The entire building was engulfed in flames. A small amount of lumber stored across the street was all that remained. Losses exceeded the insured amount. Thankfully the company’s books were locked in a fireproof safe and were not destroyed in the fire. This tragedy did not stop the brothers and their company. The company went straight back to work to ensure that their customers were not affected.
In 1900 the Gilbanes were contracted to build a colonial revival brick and marble house for Brown President, William Faunce on the corner of Hope and Manning Streets. This was the beginning of Gilbane’s long-standing relationship with Brown University.
In 1902 the company won a major contract to build Providence’s new Central Fire Station, the largest public project at the time.
In 1902 the company won a major contract to build Providence’s new Central Fire Station,