Rhode Island Historic Preservation Grants – 2016

Posted June 20th, 2016 by maryalbro and filed in News & Announcements
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The 1772 Foundation has awarded to 18 Rhode Island organizations matching grants totaling $150,000. Grants were provided for exterior work:  painting, surface restoration, fire/security systems, repairs to/restoration of porches, roofs and windows, repairs to foundations and sills, and chimney and masonry repointing. Individual grant amounts ranged from $3,000 to $12,500. Grants also were awarded in Connecticut and New Jersey.

This year, Rhode Island projects included those of four organizations in Providence, which will use 1772 grant funds to work on six buildings that are representative of historic preservation from the traditional to the innovative and community-centered.

Old Brick School

Old Brick School

Future WaterFire Providence Arts Center

WaterFire Arts Center

West Broadway Neighborhood Association


Aldrich House

Aldrich House

John Brown House

John Brown House

Mary Elizabeth Robinson Research Center

Robinson Center

Providence Preservation Society (PPS) is headquartered in the Old Brick School. Built in 1769, it is the oldest of the six Providence sites receiving funding. Over the centuries, the building has housed an elementary school and instructional space for students of what is today Brown University, a school for African-American children, and a school for children with special needs (the original location of the Meeting Street School). The Old Brick School has a very high level of integrity, with more than 80% of the current fabric dating to the 18th century. Various exterior repairs will be made with grant funds.

Rhode Island Historical Society (RIHS) will upgrade the alarm and security systems for three buildings. The Aldrich House (1822), ancestral home of the Aldrich family, is used for meetings, special events, and lectures and serves as headquarters for the RIHS. The John Brown House was built in 1788 for John Brown (1736 -1803), a well-known figure in Providence and Rhode Island history. It is a fine example of Adam Style architecture and is furnished with original items of 18th and early 19th century furniture and domestic artifacts. It is operated as an historic house museum. The Mary Elizabeth Robinson Research Center was built in 1874 as a church, remodeled in 1928 to serve as a branch of the Providence Public Library, and purchased by the RIHS in 1963 for its research library.

In 2012, WaterFire Providence purchased the 27,000 square foot historic U.S. Rubber factory building, which was rapidly deteriorating and becoming blight in the underserved Olneyville/Valley neighborhood of Providence. The building will be rehabbed and transformed into the WaterFire Arts Center. The adaptive reuse of this large industrial building has the same spark of imagination as the award-winning art installation on the Providence River, which has gained worldwide recognition. 1772 funds will be put toward the repair of exterior brick masonry.

The West Broadway Neighborhood Association (WBNA), a nimble grass roots organization, promotes neighborhood revitalization in a depressed section of Providence. It has renovated and repurposed a former Texaco station, built in the 1930’s, for use as a meeting place and its headquarters. Its grant will go toward foundation and other repairs and painting, including painting the signature red gas pump.

Benjamin Church Senior Center (Bristol)Senior Center$7,500
Coggeshall Farm Museum (Bristol)Farmhouse$3,000
Fort Adams Trust (Newport)Fort$12,500
Friends of Hearthside (Lincoln)Hearthside$10,000
Historic New England (Saunderstown)Casey Farmhouse$10,000
Historic Warren ArmoryArmory$8,000
Hopkinton Historical AssociationMeeting House$6,500
La Farge Restoration Fund (Newport)Newport Congregational Church$10,000
Newport Historical SocietyWanton-Lyman- Hazard House$10,000
Newport Performing Arts CenterOpera House$12,500
The Preservation Society of Newport CountyKingscote$10,000
Providence Preservation SocietyOld Brick School House$7,500
Rhode Island Historical Society (Providence)John Brown House, Robinson Research Center, Aldrich House$7,500
South County Art Association (Kingston)Studio Annex$5,000
South Kingstown Land Trust (Wakefield)Hale House$5,000
Watch Hill Lighthouse Keepers AssociationLighthouse$10,000
WaterFire Providence Olneyville building$10,000
West Broadway Neighborhood Association (Providence)Headquarters (former gas station)$5,000