Old State House Receives $500,000 Grant to Restore Public Access

Published on Wednesday, October 06, 2021

(Providence, R.I.) The Rhode Island Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission (RIHPHC) has been awarded a $500,000 grant for capital improvements at the Old State House in Providence from the Save America’s Treasures program, funded by the Historic Preservation Fund, and administered by the National Park Service, Department of Interior. As announced by the National Park Service, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Institute for Museum and Library Services, the grant is part of a nationwide package funding 49 projects in 29 states.

The Save America’s Treasures grant will fund critical accessibility upgrades at the c.1760 building, which is one of just six surviving colonial-era state houses in America. Project activities will include the installation of a new, ADA-compliant elevator serving four levels of the building, three new accessible bathrooms, code upgrades, and restoration of interior finishes.

When the project is complete, the Old State House will once again be available for public meetings and events. Significant for its architecture and role in Rhode Island’s political history, the building is listed individually in the National Register of Historic Places and is a contributing structure within the College Hill National Historic Landmark District. Since 1975, the building has housed the offices of the RIHPHC, Rhode Island’s state office for historic preservation and heritage programs.

Requiring a dollar-for-dollar non-federal match, the funding will be leveraged by contributions from the Governor’s Commission on Disabilities and the State’s Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance (DCAMM).

RIHPHC Interim Executive Director Jeff Emidy said: “This project is very important for the RIHPHC and for the State. We owe our thanks to our Congressional delegation, the State Department of Administration, and the National Park Service for making it possible. Reopening the Old State House to the public will allow school groups and tourists to visit, our commissions and staff to hold meetings in the building, and other public uses to return to one of the state’s most important public buildings.”

Old State House, Providence (January 2021)
Old State House, Providence (from North Main Street, January 2021)
Old State House, Providence (from Benefit Street, January 2021)
Old State House, Providence (from Benefit Street, January 2021)