East Side Homes and Lofty Mill Spaces on Tour at the 34th Annual Festival of Historic Houses
Providence Preservation Society’s Signature Event This Year Highlights Prospect Street and Monohasset Mill
Providence, RI (April 18, 2013) – The Providence Preservation Society (PPS) present to the public an “insiders’ view of preservation” with their annual Festival of Historic Houses on June 7, 8, and 9, 2013. This signature PPS event is a special opportunity for visitors to explore the interiors of some of Providence’s most interesting homes and gardens, learn about the city’s historical building stock, and view firsthand the preservation efforts involved. This year, the event will showcase grand era houses on Prospect Street on the East Side, and converted lofts in the adaptive reuse live/work spaces at Monohasset Mill in the Valley district.
Begun 34 years ago to highlight the preservation efforts of Benefit Street, PPS’ Festival of Historic Houses celebrates Providence’s rich architectural history and progressive preservation efforts. This year, the Festival visits two distinct and juxtaposing neighborhoods in the City, offering visitors a broad view of the dynamic building stock throughout the area. “Providence’s diverse historic fabric – and range of preservation projects – is truly a highlight of our City. Choosing to showcase both Prospect Street for its grand private homes and Monohasset Mill for its beautiful live/work adaptation of our industrial past is a way we capture the full spectrum of preservation in Providence,” stated Arria Bilodeau, co-chair of the Festival’s planning committee.
Both neighborhoods offer residences with views of the downtown, albeit from different perspectives. Prospect Street sits on College Hill, an historic area on Providence’s East Side with extraordinary revitalization efforts that have drawn national attention. The larger villas of the mid to late 1800s were generally built in this area to exploit a picturesque setting, erected on the steep slope of the Hill to take advantage of the panoramic view to the south and west. Houses on the tour will include a diverse mix of residences from this time period up to the present, where recent additions have artfully married with historic structures.
Monohasset Mill, built in 1866, is a prime preservation example of adaptive re-use of Providence’s stock of mill buildings. It sits in the Valley district, along the Woonasquatucket River – historically significant for the industrial and commercial activity boon from the mid 1800s to the early 1900s. Purchased in 2002 by a group of artists and renovated into 38 live/work artist loft condominiums, the preservationist-developers focused on restoring as much of the original building features as possible, and incorporated details with salvaged materials from other historic sites – including copper-clad interior doors from the Brown University Marvel gym. The building complex offer views from 4th and 5th floor lofts and decks that face east towards the city center.
Houses and gardens on Prospect Street will be open on Saturday, June 8 from 10:00 am – 5:00 pm. Lofts and surrounding tours at Monohasset Mill will be open on Sunday, June 9 from 11:00 am – 4:00 pm. The weekend event will also include a “progressive cocktail event” on Friday among several houses at the intersection of Prospect and Jenckes Streets. The Friday evening event is a special fundraiser for PPS, and opens the weekend of tours with cocktails, hors d’ouevres and celebration. On Sunday, tours of the nearby Steel Yard and Box Office will be on view as extension to the Monohasset tour. Food trucks from some of the area’s most popular local vendors will be parked on the premises, making Sunday a brunch event.