RIHPHC Bulletin
RIHPHC awarded grant to expand representation on National Register
The National Park Service has awarded a $50,000 Underrepresented Community grant to RIHPHC to hire a consultant to prepare a Multiple Property Documentation Form for African American Civil Rights in Rhode Island and to nominate four properties to the National Register of Historic Places. This grant will build off a project completed in partnership with the Rhode Island Historical Society and the Rhode Island Black Heritage Society in 2019 to document, interpret, and preserve sites associated with Rhode Island's Civil Rights history

RIHPHC anticipates that this project will lay the groundwork for nominating additional Rhode Island properties associated with communities underrepresented in the National Register of Historic Places. 

Applications are due August 10 for the next round of Underrepresented Community grants. Projects include surveys and inventories of historic properties associated with communities underrepresented in the National Register, as well as the development of nominations to the National Register for specific sites. Eligible applicants are limited to State Historic Preservation Offices, Federally Recognized Tribes, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiian Organizations, and Certified Local Governments. 

Image: Pond Street Baptist/Second Freewill Baptist Church, Providence (1965), a house of worship for a congregation organized in 1819
A Groundbreaking at Arctic Mill
On June 6, Senator Jack Reed, Congressman Jim Langevin and Governor Dan McKee will join Knight Street Capital, RIHousing, RIHPHC, and funding and community partners for a ceremonial groundbreaking to celebrate the redevelopment and reuse of the historic Arctic Mill in West Warwick.

The massive five-story, L-plan granite mill was erected by A. & W. Sprague in 1852 and rebuilt after a fire in 1865. At the time, it was the largest mill building in Rhode Island. Arctic Mill was purchased by B.B. & R. Knight in 1885 and remained in use for textile manufacture into the 1930s. Subsequent owners produced trench coats, luggage, and lightweight bags in the facility.

State and federal preservation tax credits are key to the funding package for this project. The redevelopment of Arctic Mill will provide 136 rental units for households at multiple income levels and feature more than 10,000 square feet of office and retail space, including a restaurant/brewery by the falls of the Pawtuxet River.
. . .and a Ribbon-Cutting at the Old State House
On April 13, Governor Dan McKee, Lt Governor Sabina Matos, State Senator Sam Zurier, and members of the project team gathered on the steps of the Old State House in Providence to celebrate the completed exterior restoration of this 260-year-old building, headquarters of the Rhode Island Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission. Thanks to partners and neighbors from the Office of Senator Jack Reed, Mile of History Association, Providence Preservation Society, Martone Inc, RI Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance, Rhode Island 250, Blackstone River Valley National Historical Park, and many more. With the exterior restoration complete, another project is teeing up to make the building fully accessible.

As RIHPHC Interim Executive Director Jeffrey Emidy said, "It’s 2022, and Rhode Island is already commemorating the 250th anniversary of the American Revolution—with Gaspee Days coming up in just two months! We are eager to make this historic place, where Rhode Island renounced its allegiance to King George III on May 4, 1776, ready to stake its claim in Rhode Island’s revolutionary history. We are eager to make this historic place open for business and public events. We look forward to the day—soon!—when we can welcome everyone inside your restored Old State House."
The Search is On, Part 1
Speaking of Gaspee Days. . .after seven years of working in Warwick on shipwrecks that are Not the Gaspee, the Rhode Island Marine Archaeology Project will set out to look for HMS Gaspee this summer. The work will include sonar and magnetometer survey off Gaspee Point. This British revenue schooner was burned to the waterline on June 10, 1772, in the colonies’ first major armed act of rebellion against the British crown. Much of the work has been funded by donations raised primarily from the people of Warwick and Cranston, who take pride in their revolutionary past.

The search for Gaspee is one of the many exciting projects and events taking place in 2022 during the 250th anniversary of the burning of the Gaspee. The Gaspee Days Committee has a busy June calendar featuring Symphony in the Park, fireworks, and the Gaspee Days Parade. State Archives is hosting an exhibit about the Gaspee Affair online and at their headquarters. Look for members of the RI250 Commission marching in the Gaspee Days Parade on June 11!
The Search is On, Part 2
The Commission has launched its search for candidates to fill the position of Executive Director of the agency. The job posting closed on May 23. Commission Chair Ruth Taylor is heading up the search committee.
Great State Properties
In 1965, the State of Rhode Island acquired the 464-acre Colt estate, now Colt State Park in Bristol. While you may be familiar with the beaches, the trails, the picnic sites, the ballfields, the Bull Gates, and Coggeshall Farm, did you know about the historic barns at the heart of the property?

In 1917, architect Wallis E. Howe designed the barn complex to house Colonel Samuel Pomeroy Colt's prize herd of dairy cattle. The picturesque fieldstone barn complex has a one-and-one-half-story, gable-roofed, steel-framed central section with a two-story, ogee-domed tower and two large silos. And according to a local historian, "There was one employee for each cow. The cows horns were polished and their tails washed daily."

As steward of the property, the RI Department of Environmental Management recently completed a project to preserve the historic exterior of the Colt Barns, focusing on masonry restoration and repointing, door and window restoration, roof repairs and painting. RIHPHC architect Roberta Randall reviewed the project to ensure that preservation standards were followed. Although the interior is not yet rehabbed, a feasibility study for reuse is underway. Potential uses include an event facility, a museum, a gathering place for the public, a flea market or a multi-function space.

Colt State Park and its barns are included in the Poppasquash Farms Historic District, listed in the National Register in 1980. See our website to learn more about State-owned Historic Properties and RIHPHC’s regulatory review role.
Images courtesy of Providence Public Library, RI-DEM, and East Coast Masonry
Grant opportunities and deadlines
Don't miss your chance to secure funding for your preservation project:

Heritage Happenings for June
RIHPHC's calendar of heritage events showcases Rhode Island's diverse communities:

Bittersweet Harvest: The Bracero Program 1942-1964 presented by RI Latino Arts (6/10 - 8/31)

Sushi Sake Sails presented by the Japan-America Society of Rhode Island (6/10 & 6/12)

Have an upcoming event to share? Contact Donna Alqassar, Heritage Coordinator. For the latest listings, follow @rihphc_heritage on Instagram.
Save the Date! Heritage Festival on Saturday, September 17
Leave your passport at home and explore the world through art and music!

RIHPHC will present Rhode Island's 44th Annual Heritage Festival on Saturday, September 17 from noon to 5pm at the WaterFire Arts Center in Providence.

Join in a lively celebration of our state's rich cultural heritage. The program will features cultural exhibits, visual art, musical performances, children's activities, and a multicultural fashion show. And don't miss the food trucks offering an array of traditional food and beverages. Admission to this family event is FREE.
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RIHPHC at work
The R.I. Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission office is open with limited staffing during weekday business hours (9am - 4pm). Many staff members are teleworking and accessible by email. Public access is limited to deliveries and pickups. Please use the doorbell at the Benefit Street entrance.
Rhode Island
Historical Preservation
& Heritage Commission