Rhode Island Historic Preservation Grants – 2018

Posted May 29th, 2018 by maryalbro and filed in News & Announcements
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The 1772 Foundation has awarded 14 Rhode Island organizations historic preservation 1:1 matching grants totaling $150,000 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 grants ranged from $2,500 to the grant maximum of $15,000. Three organizations received the maximum award amount. Grants also were awarded in Connecticut and New Jersey.

This year’s Rhode Island projects include four historic barns, all of which are on the National Register. They are owned by The Compass School, Historic New England, Linden Place, and Norman Bird Sanctuary.

The Compass School is situated on the historic Potter-Peckham/Kingston Hill Farm in Kingston. It is renovating its historic seed barn to become its middle school as well as a gathering space for community engagement events at The Compass School Farm, the largest school garden in Rhode Island. The barn was built in 1911 by Omar Fortin, a local carpenter. The farm was purchased in the same year by Arthur Peckham, who ran a successful bent grass seed business. The grass seed threshing/screening machine remains in the barn. The buildings and land are historically significant since they represent important aspects of the history of farming in the area, including the development of grass seed as a major crop. Today, nearby turf farms and the nationally recognized turf grass management program of the University of Rhode Island reflect this history. The 1772 grant will be used for exterior siding.


Casey Farm, a 350-acre USDA-certified organic farm in Saunderstown, is owned by Historic New England. Its ca. 1850 cow and calf barns originally facilitated dairy operations such as milking, weaning, and storage of winter feed. Today, these barns are the focal point for farm operations, community engagement, and healthy food options. Both barns play vital roles in the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program and weekly farmers’ market hosted by Casey Farm between May and October. They are used for sorting and prepping of harvested crops, pick up of CSA shares, storing tents and tables of market vendors, and volunteer signups. There also are informal gatherings and interaction with farm staff, who routinely offer advice and answer questions about growing methods, nutrition, animal care, and the importance of sustainable agriculture. 1772 funds will support the exterior repair/rehabilitation of the historic barn complex.


Bristol’s Linden Place Mansion, designed by Rhode Island architect Russell Warren, was built in 1810 for George DeWolf. Its carriage barn was built in 1850 and originally was located beside the mansion. The barn is a three bay wide by three bay deep, two-story, wood-frame structure, sheathed in wooden clapboards, with pilasters on the corners. It is topped by two skylights and a cupola. The barn was home to the horse stable, tack, and laundry. In the 1840’s, during the time when Linden Place was a hotel/boarding house, the barn housed boarders. Boarders’ rooms later became servants’ quarters. In 2008, Linden Place offered the Bristol Art Museum an option to lease and repurpose the historic barn into permanent gallery space, classrooms, and artist studios. The Bristol Art Museum opened in 2013. The gallery space also can serve as reception space for Linden Place events. The 1772 Foundation’s grant will help fund exterior surface repairs and subsequent painting of the exterior of the building.


The Norman Bird Sanctuary (NBS) barn, built about 1850, has been adapted for reuse, now providing space for classes and cultural/environmental programming and, on the second floor, a natural history museum. It is a 60′ x 30′ New England-type, end gable, hay barn of mortise-and-tenon construction. Part of the Smith-Gardiner-Norman Farm Historic District, the barn has significant historic value as an authentic example of the region’s farming past. Aquidneck Island’s farming history serves as an important counterpoint to Newport’s famed maritime trade and Gilded Age mansion history. The 1772 award will fund repair and reshingling of the barn’s roof and complete the last phase of a multi-year interior remodeling and exterior rehabilitation project.

A list of all of this year’s Rhode Island recipients of historic preservation matching grants and their projects follows.

The Compass School (Kingston)Seed barn$10,000
Dirt Palace Public Projectshttp://www.dirtpalace.org/ (Providence)Kendrick-Prentice-Tirrochi House (Wedding Cake House)$14,600
Historic New England (Saunderstown)Casey Farm cow barn$15,000
Friends of Linden PlaceLinden Place barn$10,000
Mount Hope Farm (Bristol)Governor Bradford House$7,500
Newport Art MuseumCushing/Morris Gallery Building$15,000
Norman Bird Sanctuary (Middletown)Barn museum$10,000
North Smithfield Heritage AssociationForestdale Schoolhouse$15,000
Preserve Rhode Island (Providence)Lippitt House Museum$10,000
Redwood Library and Athenaeum (Newport)Athenaeum$5,000
Rhode Island Historical Society (Providence)Aldrich House$10,300
South County History Center (Kingston)Old Washington County Jail$2,500
Stadium Theatre Performing Arts Centre (Woonsocket)Theatre $11,600
The Steel Yard (Providence)Providence Steel and Iron Company building$13,500