RIHPHC Bulletin

What's happening at the Old State House?

Historic American Buildings Survey drawing of the Old State House (1937)

On June 14, 2024, the Old State House (the location of the Rhode Island Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission office) will close to the public for a major construction project, funded by grants from the National Park Service and State funds.

The scope of work includes the installation of an elevator and accessible bathrooms, restoration of historic finishes, and restoration of the historic Parade Ground landscape. In-depth primary research is expected to reveal new information about the construction of the Old State House and Parade and will inform the preparation of an updated nomination to the National Register of Historic Places.

RIHPHC staff will be working remotely for an extended period, likely through the end of the calendar year. The project is expected to be completed by fall 2025.

Stretching and flexing historic tax credits in Pawtucket

Since 2002, State Historic Tax Credits (HTC) have driven the rehabilitation of 322 buildings across Rhode Island, leveraging more than $2.18 billion in total investment and creating thousands of housing units statewide.

One of the most recently completed HTC projects is the rehabilitation of a 15,000-square foot building in the Conant Thread/Coats & Clark Mill Complex (listed in the National Register in 1983), near the new Pawtucket Central Falls Transit Center. The mixed-use, mixed-income building now features the Shri yoga studio, a food pantry, and several outreach facilities, as well as housing and a workforce development neighborhood café.

The General Assembly is currently considering legislation to extend the HTC program through 2029.

Great State Properties: 764 historical objects

RIHPHC staff members have been diligently confirming the inventory of 764 State-owned historical objects. Some items in the collection, such as artwork and furniture, are on loan to partners such as the Newport Historical Society (NHS). You can find the portrait of George Washington on display at the historic Colony House (1739), a State property stewarded by NHS. Other pieces (like this clock) are in storage at the society's Resource Center. 

Roof roof? Baa-vo!

Check out the new roofs and upgraded gutters on the historic barns at Historic New England's Watson Farm in Jamestown. Funding for the project came from a State Preservation Grant administered by RIHPHC, as well as support from Preserve Rhode Island and the 1772 Foundation.

Even sheep appreciate a dry roof above their wooly heads.

Rhode Island Cemetery Weeks

This April and May, volunteers hosted 100+ events for R.I. Historical Cemeteries Awareness and Preservation Weeks. A special shoutout to the City of Cranston, Cranston Historical Cemeteries Commission, Gateway Life Church, and 50 volunteers who removed 100+ bags of trash and 250+ bags of yard waste, improved circulation paths, and advocated for better stewardship of Oakland Cemetery in Cranston.

Volunteers at Oakland Cemetery

Training for land-use commissions

The R.I. Division of Statewide Planning will hold a virtual three-hour introductory training workshop, Conducting Public Meetings on the evening of Wednesday June 26, 2024. If you are a new member of your Historic District Commission or want to brush up on the basics, register by emailing Nancy Hess (using the email you will use for the workshop) the following details:

  • Name
  • Community
  • Board affiliation – Historic, Planning or Zoning
  • Phone Number

Save the Date!

R.I.'s 46th Annual Heritage Festival

Saturday, September 21, 2024

WaterFire Arts Center, 475 Valley Street, Providence

12:00 PM - 5:00 PM

"Explore the world through art and music!"

Join us for a lively celebration of Rhode Island's rich cultural heritage! Enjoy cultural exhibits, vibrant music, dazzling dance performances, and a delightful culinary journey with food trucks. Fun for the whole family with free face painting and crafts for kids.

Discover the world right here in Rhode Island – where cultural connections come alive! See a list of all the participants and get more details here.

Want a taste of the Heritage Festival? View performances from the 45th Heritage Festival on our YouTube channel.

▶️ YouTube Playlist: bit.ly/45thRIHeritageFestival

Summer grant opportunities and deadlines

Explore these opportunities to secure funding for your preservation project:

Consult our website for more grant sources.

Heritage Happenings for June

Have an upcoming event to share? Contact Donna Alqassar, Heritage Coordinator. For the latest listings, follow @rihphc_heritage on Instagram.

If you didn't follow us on social media last month, you missed...

  • much more!

RIHPHC at work

The R.I. Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission office is open with limited staffing during weekday business hours (9am - 4pm) through June 14. After June 14, staff will be teleworking and accessible by email.

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Historical Preservation
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