News Archive

Several news items have been condensed and updated.

New on the National Register: Miss Lorraine Diner
A diner in Pawtucket has received federal recognition for its significance to the history of architecture, commerce, and industry. Recently restored, the Miss Lorraine Diner is a rare surviving example of a “semi-streamliner” diner, an important building type that influenced the design of American fast-food restaurants. (11/5/21)

New on the National Register: Beaver River Road Historic District
Rhode Island's newest National Register listing is the Beaver River Road Historic District, a cluster of historic farmsteads in Richmond recognized for its architectural and agricultural significance. The district's three farms transitioned from 19th-century subsistence agriculture to 20th-century market farms. Together, the vernacular dwellings, agricultural outbuildings, fields, and landscape features form a compelling cultural landscape.

October is Rhode Island Archaeology Month
Organized by the Rhode Island Historical Preservation and Heritage Commission, this program promotes Rhode Island's rich archaeological heritage through a series of free public educational events in October led by professional and academic volunteers. (10/1/21) 

Remembering Elizabeth "Bonnie" Warren
RIHPHC alumna and Rhode Island historic preservation champion passed away last weekend. After Bonnie retired from RIHPHC, she was presented the 2000 Antoinette F. Downing Award, in recognition of her professional accomplishments and volunteer service. Her tribute read:

"Few individuals anywhere in preservation, volunteer or professional, invest the field with more infectious enthusiasm than Bonnie Warren.

"Trained in architecture and urban planning, Bonnie became engaged in historic preservation through working with Antoinette Downing on Providence's College Hill Demonstration Study in the late 1950s. From that time preservation became her professional career, and more importantly for Rhode Island, it also became her passion. Beyond her survey and publication work at the Rhode Island Historical Commission from the late 1960s until just a few months ago [2000], Bonnie became involved in preservation in many other ways; as the owner of an eighteenth-century house, an active volunteer and board member of every East Bay historical and preservation organization, a public speaker, a teacher in Roger Williams University's preservation program, a citizen advocate in public meetings, and a fund-raiser, advisor, friend, and mentor to the many organizations and individuals that relied on her expertise and perspective.

"Historic preservation in Rhode Island continues to benefit from the commitment, concentration, and energy that Bonnie possesses so abundantly and shares so generously."

Rhode Island Heritage Month's Virtual Celebration
This September, RIHPHC invites you to join us each Saturday at 7 pm on our new YouTube channel for Rhode Island Heritage Month's Virtual Celebration. The weekly programs will feature "Heritage Highlights" from different cultural performance groups, heritage organizations, and hands-on activities like cooking and dance demonstrations.

RI Historic Tax Credit Extended and Funded
The Rhode Island Historic Tax Credit (RIHTC) has been extended for one more year, and its funding has been increased by $20 million. The RIHTC has made preservation projects possible at historic income producing properties from Westerly to Woonsocket. One of the most recent projects to deploy the credit is Warwick's Pontiac Mills (pictured). This sprawling historic textile mill complex was rehabbed for residences and businesses. RIHPHC thanks the Governor, the General Assembly, and partners like Grow Smart Rhode Island for recognizing the value of historic preservation projects to Rhode Island's economy.

State Preservation Grants Rules Update
RIHPHC has proposed to amend the Rules and Regulations for the State Preservation Grants.

Proposed updates 1) reference the new bond funding and 2) make changes and clarifications to program rules.
A virtual public hearing to consider the proposed amendment shall be held on July 22, 2021 at 10:00am. The public is invited to take part on the Zoom platform or by telephone at 888-788-0099 (toll free).

All interested parties are invited to request additional information or submit written or oral comments concerning the proposed amendment until August 5, 2021 by contacting:

Katherine J. Pomplun
RI Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission
The Old State House
150 Benefit St.
Providence, RI 02903

New Leadership at RIHPHC
Jeffrey Emidy has been appointed Interim Executive Director of the RIHPHC. He succeeds Executive Director J. Paul Loether, who retired from State service on June 25, 2021. Jeffrey began his employment with the RIHPHC in 2005 and currently serves as the Deputy Director and Deputy State Historic Preservation Officer. He served as Acting Executive Director for a year after the retirement of Edward F. Sanderson, in 2017. Among the responsibilities that he will inherit, Jeffrey puts the return of RIHPHC staff to the Old State House and reopening the building to the public among his top initial priorities. (6/25/21)

Rhode Island's New Commission for the American Revolution's 250th 
Rhode Island has established a Semiquincentennial (RI250th) Commission to commemorate the rolling anniversary of the American Revolution. Governor Dan McKee signed the legislation on Flag Day, June 14. The 30-member body will be led by RI Secretary of State with RIHPHC's Executive Director as Vice Chair. (6/14/21)

State Guide Plan
RIHPHC presents the release of Protecting Our Legacy of Buildings, Places, and Culture: A Historic Preservation Plan for Rhode Island (draft). This is the element of the State Guide Plan focused on plans and programs for the preservation of historic sites and structures.

For more information on the State Guide Plan, State Historic Preservation Plan, and Strategic Plan, visit the Preservation Planning page. (5/11/21, updated)

Come Back to the Future
This April 21-23, RIHPHC invites you to Come Back to the Future to learn about preserving Modernist architecture and heritage landscapes at our first virtual preservation conference. We will feature one day of workshops for historic district commissioners, keynote speeches by George Smart (USModernist) and Kofi Boone, FASLA (North Carolina State University), a dozen panel presentations, virtual tours, and videos. Join us! (4/1/21)

Plymouth Congregational Church listed in National RegisterWhat's more historic than a listing in the National Register of Historic Places? When the listing makes history because it is the first bilingual National Register nomination ever submitted to the National Park Service.

Constructed in 1915-19, the Plymouth Congregational Church/La Iglesia Congregacional de Plymouth at 1014 Broad Street in Providence was designed in the English Gothic Revival style by architect George F. Newton of Boston. In 1971, the building was sold to Holy Cross Church of God in Christ, an African American congregation. Iglesia Visión Evangélica acquired the property in 2016. The nomination details the history and architecture of this city church, preserved by three congregations for more than a century. (3/31/21) 

J. Paul Loether to Retire
Executive Director J. Paul Loether will retire on June 25, 2021, capping a 43-year career in historic preservation. In his three years of leadership at the Commission, Paul counts among his accomplishments updating the State Element Plan, creating RIHPHC's first Strategic Plan, working on the Comprehensive Statewide Historic Preservation Plan, ensuring statutory compliance, building strong communications with the Governor's office on preservation issues and funding, and supporting Commission staff in their work, health, and safety. RIHPHC staff and Commissioners wish Paul a very happy retirement. (3/26/21) 

RIHPHC Strategic Plan 2021 - 2027
RIHPHC presents the RIHPHC Strategic Plan 2021-2027. We are excited to share the agency's vision, mission, and four goals that will guide our work over the next seven years. For more information on the State Guide Plan, State Historic Preservation Plan, and Strategic Plan, visit the Preservation Planning page. (2/22/21, updated)