RIHPHC Bulletin

Two new Commissioners appointed

Governor Daniel J. McKee has appointed two new members to the Commission. Based in Cumberland, Anjali Joshi, ASLA is a landscape architect and the principal of Anjali Joshi Design LLC. Dr. Rod Mather of South Kingstown is Chair of the Department of History and Professor of Maritime History and Underwater Archaeology at the University of Rhode Island.

Interim Executive Director Jeffrey Emidy welcomed the appointments: "Anjali Joshi and Rod Mather are important additions to the Commission, expanding our expertise in historic landscapes and archaeology."

Apply for a Certified Local Government Grant

The 2023 Certified Local Government (CLG) Grants round is open to communities with Certified Local Governments (Bristol, Coventry, Cranston, Cumberland, East Greenwich, East Providence, Glocester, Hopkinton, Narragansett, New Shoreham, Newport, North Kingstown, North Providence, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, Providence, South Kingstown, and Warwick). Grants will support projects within the following categories: Identification and Evaluation of Historic Resources, Planning Activities, Resource-Specific Activities, Public Education Activities, and Statewide Projects. 

Three priority areas will special consideration in 2023:

  • projects that help communities plan for protecting historic resources from the effects of climate change and sea level rise
  • projects that promote the recognition or preservation of resources associated with historically underrepresented groups
  • projects that provide training opportunities for historic district commissions and municipal planning staff

Applicants must apply for this grant directly in eCivis, the state’s online grant application portal. Applications are due January 20, 2023.

For questions about the CLG Grants, application, or eCivis, please contact Donna Alqassar.

New National Register documentation springs forth from Newport

A spring box is a structure used to collect, clarify, and store spring water prior to distribution. In 2018, archaeologists documented the spring box interior, including the long stone beams and “beehive” stonework supporting the ceiling. Credit: Newport Environmental, Historic Spring

See also the Newport Spring Project.

See what you can accomplish through CLG funding!

An amendment to the Newport Historic District National Register nomination was completed by the Public Archaeology Laboratory, thanks to funding from a CLG grant.

The amended nomination provides additional information about the Newport Town Spring Site. Newport’s earliest public water source, the town spring is located beneath open space at the intersection of Spring Street, Touro Street, and Court House Street. Archaeological investigation of the spring box and historical research revealed that the location of the spring influenced Newport’s 1639 settlement and subsequent development. The spring was in use until 1881, when a central waterworks was established.

Revolutionary news

At the last meeting of the Rhode Island Semiquincentennial 250th Commission (RI 250th Commission), members thanked Secretary of State Nellie M. Gorbea for leading the Commission from its beginnings through 2022. Commission Chair Gorbea has actively championed Rhode Island's revolutionary role in our nation's history.

RI250 has debuted its new website: https://rhodeisland250.org/ to promote the work of the Commission and share programs around the state.

Secretary of State Nellie M. Gorbea (2nd from left) and RI250 Commission members, staff, and friends at the Gaspee Days Parade

We're kvelling

The exterior restoration of the Old State House recently received a Conservation Award from the Providence Preservation Society.

From the presentation:

. . .the Old State House has undergone a meticulous exterior restoration employing high-quality materials and procedures. The team, including the State of Rhode Island, project architect Haynes/de Boer Associates, and general contractor Martone, Inc., faithfully restored several exterior materials and design elements of the 1762 Georgian-style civic building. . . .The success of this project elevates the State Historic Preservation Office as an exemplar of materials conservation and preservation in Rhode Island.

Thank you for the recognition, PPS. And cheers to our project partners and neighbors. We are hard at work on our next major project: installation of an elevator and accessibility improvements at the Old State House.

Great State Properties

Did you know that the State of Rhode Island owns a fleet of luxury turn-of-the-century passenger steamships? Sadly, you can’t travel on them, because they are embedded in the state’s bottom lands. Abandoned by their owners, they have become state property under the Antiquities Act of Rhode Island. 

In 1847, the Bay State Steamboat Company began offering service between New York City along the coast and up Narragansett Bay to Fall River, Massachusetts. Soon Narragansett Bay and Rhode Island Sound were full of steamships, sometimes catching fire, colliding with one another, and coming to grief in bad weather.

With apologies to Edward Gorey, we present two of these steamships, now state-owned shipwrecks.

Consult our website to learn more about State-owned Historic Properties and Underwater Archaeology.

E is for Empire State, burned in 1887. The second image shows her sinking into Bristol Harbor.

L is for Larchmont, struck by a coal schooner in 1907. Remnants of the ship rest off the coast of Westerly.

Winter grant opportunities and deadlines

Beyond CLG Grants, there are many more opportunities to secure funding for your preservation project:

Heritage Happenings for December

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). 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.

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