Preservation News Posts
Support Providence's History during the PPS Annual Appeal
Each day the Providence Preservation Society serves on the front lines in discussions about protecting Providence's built environment and natural landscapes, the very features that make Providence a unique and interesting place to live, work, and visit. We fight to save buildings in disrepair and defend against property owners seeking to demolish or make inappropriate changes to structures significant to our architectural and cultural history.
We have set an ambitious goal - to raise $60,000 (or more) by the end of 2014. Through the generosity of an anonymous donor, we are almost half way there - but we need your help. Please make a contribution to the Annual Fund before December 31, to ensure that PPS can continue to concentrate our resources on advocacy and the production of quality educational programs for a variety of audiences.
Thank you for your generosity and your investment in the City of Providence!
PPS Annual Meeting
Thursday, January 29, 2015, 5:30 pm Providence Public Library, 150 Empire Street
The Providence Preservation Society’s Annual Meeting will be held on the evening of Thursday, January 29th, in the auditorium of the recently-restored Providence Public Library. In addition to the presentation of the 2015 Board of Trustees, the PPS will be joined by former Mayor of Pittsburgh Tom Murphy to discuss his extensive experience in urban revitalization.
Currently a senior resident fellow at the Urban Land Institute, an international research organization focused on sustainable cities, Mayor Murphy leveraged over $4.5 billion in economic development by crafting effective public-private partnerships during his tenure in Pittsburgh. Since joining ULI in 2006, Murphy has written extensively on the economic impact universities and hospitals have on local economies.
The Annual Meeting will also include a celebration of the Providence Revolving Fund’s 35th Anniversary. Formed by the Providence Preservation Society Board of Trustees in 1980 as a small revolving loan fund focused on the West Side, the Revolving Fund has developed into a national model for community revitalization under the leadership of Executive Director Clark Schoettle. The Revolving Fund now serves low-to-moderate income families in four residential neighborhoods, and operates a Downtown Loan and Grant Program, helping to stimulate a diverse range of projects in Providence’s historic core.
Look for more details on the PPS Annual Meeting in the coming weeks.
PPS Fall/Winter Newsletter
Click here to see the full issue: Fall 2014 Newsletter (pdf)
2014 Historic Preservation Awards
On Friday, November 7, 2014 the Providence Preservation Society (PPS) will recognize the recipients of the 2014 Historic Preservation Awards. The PPS Historic Preservation Awards recognize individuals, organizations, and businesses that have maintained and enhanced the architectural heritage of Providence through preservation projects and new design. Eight preservation projects located throughout Providence will receive awards.
In addition to those projects receiving awards, PPS is honoring an individual whose vision for preservation transformed the Brown and Sharpe Company manufacturing complex into a thriving mixed use development. The late Antonio Guerra, who passed away on October 11, will receive a posthumous Community Preservation Award. Mr. Guerra purchased the complex shortly after Brown and Sharpe moved out in the 1960s, redeveloping the site’s many industrial buildings into The Foundry Corporate Office Center and Promenade Apartments. Mr. Guerra was previously recognized in the Providence Preservation Society’s 50th Anniversary Hall of Fame in 2006.
Mayoral Candidates Highlight Preservation Policy
As Providence approaches the 2014 Mayoral election, PPS believes that historic preservation should be at the forefront of candidates' policies on economic development and land use. Over the past three months, PPS has met with all current mayoral candidates with conversations touching on economic development, downtown revitalization, demolition policy, and resurrecting the Rhode Island Historic Tax Credit.
Following each meeting, candidates were given short surveys addressing the City's most pressing preservation topics.
Talk the Talk, Walk the Walk Series Returns!
Beginning in July, PPS will take another look at some of 2014’s Most Endangered Properties, as we bring back our “Talk the Talk, Walk the Walk” series. This series will give local experts the chance to share their unique perspective on the history of these properties and help shape our understanding of how best to preserve them.
This project is made possible by a grant from the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities, an independent affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities
PPS Spring/Summer Newsletter
The most recent issue of the PPS Newsletter features stories on the historic George C. Arnold Building, the 2014 Festival of Historic Houses, and the 20th Anniversary of the Most Endangered Properties List!
Click here to see the full issue:Fall 2014 Newsletter (pdf)
PPS Festival of Historic Houses
June 13-15, Exploring the Cooke Street Neighborhood on the East Side, and Pearl Street Lofts on the South Side!
The Providence Preservation Society's 35th Festival of Historic Houses is set for the weekend of June 13, 14, and 15. The 2014 Festival starts on Saturday in an enclave of homes within the College Hill neighborhood, between Brown University and the Fox Point neighborhood. The tour continues on Sunday across town on the edge of Providence's South Side at Pearl Street Lofts. The location is a historic industrial mill complex converted into live, work and retail space.
The weekend event also includes a ticketed kick-off cocktail party on Friday evening at the Joseph S. Cooke House on Hope Street.
We are no longer selling advance tickets; all day-of tickets will be $45 (no member or advance purchase discount)
Saturday Tour Registration Center: The Aldrich House, 110 Benevolent Street
Sunday Tour Registration Center: Pearl Street Lofts Courtyard, 304 Pearl Street
2014 PPS Annual Meeting &
Endangered Properties Exhibit
Thursday, January 23, 2014, 5:30 p.m.
Brown University's Salomon Center for Teaching (click for map)
Free and open to the public
This year's PPS Annual Meeting will be held on the evening of Thursday, January 23, featuring Jennifer Bradley of the Brookings Institution as the keynote speaker. Ms. Bradley is a fellow at the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program, and co-author of The Metropolitan Revolution, published in 2013. The lecture will be the second part in our Not Always Easy: Building the New Urban Experience series, which looks to stimulate dialogue about the future of Providence by conversing with nationally recognized experts. Ms. Bradley's recent work focuses on the role of metropolitan areas in the country's economy, society, and politics.
The Annual Meeting will also premiere our 2014 Most Endangered Properties Photo Exhibit, featuring the work of noted Rhode Island photographer Jesse Burke.
During the meeting, the 2014 Board of Trustees will be presented to members for a vote. Any member wishing to receive the slate in advance may contact the PPS office at (401) 831-7440 or .
PPS Fall/Winter Newsletter
The most recent issue of the PPS Newsletter features stories on the City's rezoning efforts, ongoing work at the Brick School House, and a cover article on Community Works RI's project to revive the Tirocchi House!
Click here to see the full issue:Fall 2013 Newsletter (pdf)
"Material Resistance," A Retrospective of the Work of Ian Cozzens
The University of Rhode Island's Art Gallery in Kingston is hosting a retrospective of the work of Providence artist Ian Cozzens. Thirteen years' worth of silk screened prints and posters, as well as preliminary drafts and drawings, will be on display at the gallery through November 29. Many of the artist's works feature the architecture of Providence, such as the Industrial Trust Building. The gallery is open to the public from Monday to Friday, 12:30 - 4:00 pm.
More information can be found on the URI Art Gallery website.
Brown Develops IPhone App for Campus Architecture
Walking through Brown University's campus gives you a taste of American architecture from all periods of its 250 year history. You can now hold a piece of that history in the palm of your hand with a free new IPhone App that has been developed by Brown students in an architectural history seminar. The app was designed by Gokce Kinayoglu and features brilliant new photography by Hassan Bagheri. Editor-in-chief is Siri Olson.
The App, "Brown FACADES," is an interactive guide to the architectural history of the Campus. It features 131 structures, including 'ghost buildings' that are no longer standing or were planned but never built. Users can search buildings by type, age, and architect. Project Director Prof. Dietrich Neumann hopes to continue to develop the App and looks forward to feedback and suggestions.
November 14. 2013, 5:30 - 8:00 pm
Join the Providence Preservation Society on November 14 as we host a conversation with Adrian Benepe, known for his transformative effect on the New York City parks system while Parks Commissioner for over a decade under Mayor Bloomberg, and now the Senior Vice President and Director of City Park Development for the Trust for Public Land, a dynamic and critical national land conservation organization. Adrian will help us focus on one of our core topics in the evolution of downtown Providence - open space and public land. The series will then continue in the new year and culminate with the 2014 Providence Symposium next Fall.
We hope you'll join us at the iconic Industrial Trust building for a special evening of conversation with Mr. Benepe, and help kick off this series. This is a free event, with wine and hors d'oeuvres.
Please RSVP to
October 22, 2013
PROVIDENCE PRESERVATION SOCIETY ANNOUNCES NEW EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Lucie Searle, President of the Providence Preservation Society (PPS) Board of Trustees, announced the appointment of the Society's new Executive Director, Charles Brent Runyon. Mr. Runyon comes to PPS from the non-profit historic preservation organization Thomasville Landmarks, Inc., Thomasville, GA, where he has held the position of Executive Director since 2005. An experienced manager and accomplished preservation leader, his achievements in Thomasville include:
- establishing a vision and conceptual plan for the $4 million Urban Redevelopment Plan,
- participating on the urban redevelopment team with the City of Thomasville, other non-profits and local foundations,
- implementing a multi-year, grant-funded program for increased preservation services across a regional area,
- managing the full or partial rehabilitation of numerous historic homes,
- managing acquisition, financing and sales strategy for the Thomasville Landmarks real estate portfolio,
- developing, managing and completing a campaign to establish a permanent endowment for the organization’s headquarters,
- and increasing annual operating income by almost 40%.
Mr. Runyon holds a Masters degree in Historic Preservation from the University of Georgia and a Masters degree in Electrical Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology. His honors and awards include a National Preservation Medal from the Daughters of the American Revolution and a Preservation Achievement Award from the Georgia State Historic Preservation Office.
“We are thrilled with the breadth and depth of preservation and non profit management skills, expertise and experience that Brent brings to the table, all of which are an exceptional fit with PPS' strong commitment to its central mission of preserving and enhancing the built environment which makes Providence so very special,” said Searle, “and we look forward to welcoming Brent to Providence in early November.”
Mr. Runyon will take over from Karen L. Jessup, who has been serving as the Society's Interim Executive Director since March, 2013.
Friday, October 18, 2013
Strengthening and Connecting Communities through Parks and Play
Athenaeum Salon With Partnership for Providence Parks (P3) Director Wendy Nilsson & P3 partners
5:00 to 7:00pm
In 1903, inspired by Olmsted's Emerald Necklace in Boston, the Providence Parks Department proposed a linear system of interconnected parks and boulevards. One year ago the Partnership for Providence Parks was formed to help realize this vision. In collaboration with the Parks Department, the Partnership cultivates volunteer groups and provides resources to them so that Providence's parks become vibrant, healthy, playful spaces that reflect the spirit of each neighborhood.
Across the city, over 30 volunteer groups and countless community partners are working to transform over 95 parks into community hubs, nature conservancies and places for children and families to play and explore. While each of these parks represents the needs and identity of the surrounding neighborhoods, they are also part of a city-wide effort to physically and socially connect communities through 1100 acres of green space and develop a coherent, cohesive message about how Providence values civic engagement, public/private partnerships, and the importance of green space to our quality of life. More on P3: providenceparks.org;
Sponsor: James Brayton Hall
Free and open to the public!
Salon takes place at the Providence Athenaeum, 251 Benefit Street in Providence. More info: www.providenceathenaeum.org
Providence Foundation's 'Downtown Providence Living Tour'
"A new tour of downtown Providence will highlight the joys of urban living in the Capital City. On Saturday, September 21, The Providence Foundation and Downtown Providence Improvement District will host a Downtown Providence Living Tour showcasing downtown’s transformation into a desirable mixed-use district."
Click Here for more details!
PPS Summer Series
Talk the talk, Walk the walk: Tours of Sacred Places
Thursday, August 29, 5:30pm
The First Baptist Church of Providence
America's First Baptist Church was founded by Roger Williams in 1638, and the congregation has been worshipping in this building since 1774. This tour will be guided by Stanley Lemons, Professor Emeritus of History and author of FIRST: The First Baptist Church in America.
PPS Summer Series
Talk the talk, Walk the walk: Sacred Places
Series begins on Wednesday, July 17
PPS will kick off our summer "Talk the Talk, Walk the Walk" series on Wednesday, July 17, with Robert Jaeger, President of the Philadelphia-based Partners for Sacred Places. As Providence struggles to maintain dozens of architecturally significant religious buildings throughout the city, there is a growing need to take a closer look at these sacred places.
In addition to a discussion of distressed religious building stock (both in Providence and nationwide), Mr. Jaeger will be speaking about the economic value of religious institutions in the community, and approaches for sharing and reusing these spaces.
The talk will take place at St. Stephen's Church, 114 George St., Providence, at 7 PM on Wednesday, July 17. This lecture is free and open to the public!
In August, PPS will continue this program with a series of walking tours to religious buildings throughout Providence. Click here for a full schedule of tours!
Festival of Historic Houses Returns this June!
Prospect Street & Monohasset Mill
June 7, 8, & 9
Friday, June 7 , 6 pm to 9 pm. Two hosts/owners of neighboring homes on Prospect Street will give a progressive cocktail reception to kick off the festival weekend. The restored Greek Revival Burgess-Nightingale House, and, across the street, the Stephen O. Metcalf Carriage House (now remodeled as a private home), will be the settings for this party. Tickets are limited. Portions of these homes, which are also being shown on Saturday's tour of Prospect Street, will be open exclusively to cocktail party guests.
Saturday's House Tour 10 a.m. - 5 p.m., will commence at the landmark First Church of Christ Scientist, surmounted by its majestic dome at 71 Prospect Street. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the building, unchanged since its construction. To celebrate, the 100 year old organ will be played by organist Peter Krasinski during the first half-hour of the tour; later visitors will have an opportunity to view "behind-the-scenes" workings of this organ.
On Sunday, the festival continues across town from 11 a.m. - 4 p.m., centered on Monohasset Mill and recent developments in the Valley district. The owners, artists, and artisans who live and work in the adapted spaces of Monohasset Mill are proudly opening their units to share with our visitors, with over a dozen "MonoMill" units open to the public. In the courtyard and in the adjacent Steel Yard, food trucks will provide food and drinks. There will be an added opportunity to visit the nearby Box Office for a chance to see inside this remarkable adaptation of shipping containers into a multi-story office complex.
Join PPS this Thursday for Christina Bevilacqua & "Marcel Proust, Quarryman"
PPS Kicks off National Preservation Month this Thursday, May 2, with a lecture by the Providence Athenaeum's Christina Bevilacqua at the Governor Henry Lippitt House. The lecture, "Marcel Proust, Quarryman," will explore Proust's understanding of architecture in In Search of Lost Time. There will be a reception at 5:30 pm, followed by the presentation at 6:00.
"The places we have known do not belong only to the world of space on which we map them for our own convenience. None of them was ever more than a thin slice, held between the contiguous impressions that composed our life at that time; the memory of a particular image is but regret for a particular moment; and houses, roads, avenues are as fugitive, alas, as the years." - Marcel Proust
The sentences that characterize Marcel Proust's great work À la recherche du temps perdu may be circuitous, but no attentive reader would mistake their seeming indirection for insubstantiality. He used them to expose that invisible agent, Time, by tracing its passage across our undeniably - yet not exclusively - tangible world of faces, bodies, buildings, and landscapes. For Proust, architecture embodies and exhibits the past in the present, reminding us that every city is both real and imaginary at once, and that whether from near or far, we must explore and re-explore every corner and moment.
Free for Athenaeum, PPS, and PRI Members! Click here for more information and to register!
Step Up for Knight with the Providence Community Library
Help Preserve an Architectural Treasure and Our Community's Access to Knowledge
Thursday, May 9, 6-8 pm
Knight Memorial Library
275 Elmwood Avenue
This event will feature tours of the library, a presentation by Rhode Island Poet Laureate Rick Benjamin, a special Sponsor-A-Step Auction, and a Live Auction. All proceeds will go toward repairs to Knight Memorial Library.
For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit the Providence Community Library website by clicking here.
PPS Presents "Living on the Edge: Life at Roy Carpenter's Beach"
Join us THIS THURSDAY, April 25, 2013, for a presentation by photographer Kathie Florsheim, R.I. Coastal Resources Management Council geologist Janet Freedman, architect/planner Kenneth Filarski, and URI landscape architecture professor Angelo Simeone that examines the future of one iconic Rhode Island beach community. The project Living on the Edge explores Roy Carpenter's Beach, in Matunuck, R.I., as a model for understanding how a coastal community will be affected by storm damage and sea level rise.
Free for PPS and Preserve Rhode Island members; $10 for non-members.
Please call 401-831-7440 or email for more information.
What Makes a Great Building? with Donald Powers
Thursday, April 4
Free for PPS and Preserve Rhode Island members!
This Thursday at Lippitt House, PPS will continue the What Makes a Great Building? series with architect Donald Powers, Founding Partner at Union Studio. The series, which began in 2012, gives local architects the chance to discuss notable Providence buildings they admire alongside examples of their own design.
Mr. Powers has over 23 years of experience in all aspects of architectural practice, including urban and town-planning, multi-family housing, commercial and institutional buildings, adaptive re-use and single-family residences. Through a longstanding commitment to the principles of The New Urbanism, Donald has integrated mixed-use planning and architectural design with the goal of creating diverse, walkable and vibrant neighborhoods, furthering his single-minded vision to save the world from sprawl.
5:30 pm - Reception
6:00 pm - Presentation
Governor Henry Lippitt House
199 Hope Street
The Winter Bash! - March 23, 2013
Mark your calendars, because this year's Bash will be held on the evening of Saturday, March 23, 2013, 8 pm - 12 am. Every year, PPS holds the Bash to inject some fun and vitality into the long months following the holidays. This year's Bash will give us a chance to take a sneak-peek inside a the Providence G renovation of the Providence Gas Company building!
GRANT FROM THE CHAMPLIN FOUNDATIONS SECURES THE FUTURE OF HISTORIC 1769 BRICK SCHOOL HOUSE
The Providence Preservation Society (PPS) is pleased to announce that we have received a grant in the amount of $341,500 from The Champlin Foundations to fund the Society’s acquisition of the historic Brick School House at 24 Meeting Street from the City of Providence. Built in 1769, the Brick School House is one of only a handful of remaining 18th-century buildings in Providence. With the neighboring 1772 John Carter House (known as Shakespeare’s Head) and the 1762 Old State House, the Brick School House comprises a rare visible memory of what was the civic center of colonial Providence. The acquisition is a key part of a plan to launch a much needed historic restoration of the exterior, and structural stabilization of the building. Working with a team including Ed Wojcik Architect, Ltd., Peter Borgemeister, Architect, and the landscape architects Searle and Searle, PPS has begun an adaptive re-use plan for the property as a Center for Preservation Education, including a new home for the Society’s important preservation library and archive. The plans also foresee a fully accessible meeting room which will allow an enhanced role as a community resource. Since 1960, PPS has leased the building from the City of Providence, and during its long stewardship has already invested nearly $250, 000 in earlier capital improvements in the property. Earlier this year PPS received a $14,400 matching grant from the 1772 Foundation to support the restoration of the School House roof.
In awarding this grant, The Champlin Foundations is continuing their support of the Preservation Society’s mission to preserve and enhance the built environment of Providence. “Throughout 50 years of occupancy and stewardship, PPS has worked to retain the character of the historically significant Brick School House,” says PPS Executive Director James Brayton Hall. “By receiving the funds to purchase the building from The Champlin Foundations, we can make this historic structure a safe, accessible, and available resource for the City of Providence. We are extremely grateful to The Champlin Foundations for this very significant show of confidence in the relevance of our mission, and our organizational capacity.”
2012 Ten Most Endangered Properties Photography Exhibit
Opening Reception, November 8
The Providence Preservation Society’s (PPS) highly acclaimed annual Ten Most Endangered Properties Photography Exhibit will appear November 8 – 29 at the Brick School House located at 24 Meeting Street, Providence. The show features the work of local photographers Jan Armor, Jesse Burke, John Caserta, Michael Cevoli, Stephanie Ewens, Erik Gould, Heidi Gumula, Deborah Hickey, Tim Hiebert, Frank Mullin, and Traer Scott.
An opening reception will be held at the Brick School House, 24 Meeting Street, on Thursday, November 8, 6:00–8:00 p.m. The event and reception are free and open to the public. As part of the reception, the JUMP! Dance Company will be performing at the Brick School House. JUMP! often uses Providence's historic buildings as a backdrop for their performances - as they did this year with the Cathedral of St. John (see below)!
Exhibit is free and open to the public.
Hours: Monday 12– 4 pm; Tuesday & Thursday 12– 2:30 pm; or by appointment. Closed Nov. 12, 21 & 22
For more information contact PPS at (401)831-7440
PPS would like to thank Jerry's Artarama in Providence for their support of the Most Endangered Properties Photo Exhibit.
Recently named by RI Monthly as a Best in RI for its Dancing in the Streets performances and videos, JUMP! has pioneered site-specific dancing as a means for changing an audience's expectations Often seen in the streets of Providence or at architecturally significant locations, JUMP! dancers tailor each choreography to the particulars of any given location. The result has been a growing body of video dances in which street, monument, park, and all matter of outdoor structures act not only as sets for the dancers but as partners in bold, new choreography.
UVa Speaker Series featuring James Hall, PPS Executive Director
Join the UVa Club of Rhode Island & Southeastern Massachusetts on October 24th at the beautiful Hope Club nestled in the heart of College Hill as Executive Director of the Providence Preservation Society and U.Va. alumnus James Hall (ARCH '83) leads a discussion on the topic "What We've Learned from Benefit Street: Discovering, Preserving and Sustaining a Historic Neighborhood." For more information, click here.
BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND!
Matthew D. Bird
“A View from the Clouds: the Skyscraper & the Airship”
Tuesday, October 9
6:00 pm – reception
6:30 pm – presentation
Saturday, October 13th, 2012
PPS 2012 SYMPOSIUM:
NOT ALWAYS PRETTY: BEHIND THE FAÇADE OF HISTORIC PRESERVATION
October 11-13, 2012
PPS’s 2012 Fall Symposium takes a behind-the-scenes look at preservation in Providence, from its complicated early history to how preservation is positioned for the future. Not Always Pretty: Behind the Façade of Historic Preservation in Providence will analyze this movement; revealing motives, capturing untold stories, discussing the underlying forces that have driven preservation, both good and bad, and celebrating what we’ve learned as we look to the future.