The 30th Annual Rhode Island Statewide Preservation Conference will take place in Glocester and throughout the region on Saturday, April 25. Organized by the Rhode Island Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission (RIHPHC), the conference considers the theme of “Sticks and Stones”: historic rural landscapes and the long-term impact of changes on the land. The sticks are the forests, cleared for agricultural fields long ago, regrown, and now managed as conservation land, park, and private woodlot. The stones remain where they were placed to mark burials, to provide sturdy building foundations, and to build walls that separated farm fields and delineated property boundaries.
Glocester is the hometown host for this year’s conference. Guided walks through Chepachet Village will explore themes of local history, architecture, industry, and planning. Tours further afield will visit working farms, mid-century modern homes nestled in the woods, and a forested landscape that was the site of several historic farmsteads. Additional tours will venture to Borders Farm and Foster Center, North Scituate, and Harrisville. Panel presentations will discuss the legacy of our public woodlands and demonstrate how LiDAR technology can penetrate forest cover to find evidence of historic landscapes and archaeological sites. Additional workshops will take on a range of topics like preservation grants and tax credits, local planning initiatives, Rhode Island’s Art Deco architecture, and a new statewide initiative to create heritage tourism apps for your mobile phone.