Tag Archives | PPS

Providence Preservation Society Symposium – October 18 & 21, 2017

Press release from Providence Preservation Society:

Providence Symposium Examines Historic Preservation and Urban Displacement

PPS Presents Free Programs with Local and National Experts on October 18 and 21

The Providence Preservation Society (PPS) presents the 2017 Providence Symposium, Sites and Stories: Mapping a Preservation Ecosystem, October 18 and 21 in Fox Point. The program examines how to preserve sites and their diverse stories, particularly when these sites have vanished or been altered. The Symposium explores both the economics and the ethics of preservation, acknowledges divides in the field, provides an opportunity to consider multiple points of view and applies to all those who care about the history of the built environment.

The event begins with film screenings on Wednesday, October 18, 7:00-9:00 p.m. at Cable Car Cinema, 204 South Main Street. Films include “Some Kind of Funny Porto Rican?”: A Cape Verdean American Story (2006) and The Rebirth of the Nation: The Story of Urban Renewal (1963), a 16mm restored film courtesy of SPIA Media Productions, Inc. An informal Q&A follows with Claire Andrade-Watkins, Director of the Fox Point Cape Verdean Project; Professor of Film and Africana Studies at Emerson College; and Visiting Scholar, Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice, and Distinguished Community Practitioner and Senior Fellow, Swearer Center for Public Service, both at Brown University.

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Providence Preservation Society Festival of Historic Houses – June 2-3, 2017

Photo by Warren Jagger courtesy of PPS

From the Providence Preservation Society:

The Providence Preservation Society (PPS) is pleased to present the Festival of Historic Houses on June 2-3, 2017 in the Upper Elmwood Historic District. One of the region’s most anticipated heritage tourism events, the Festival grants guests self-guided access to more than one dozen private, historic homes. Upper Elmwood boasts opulent architecture, from Queen Anne Victorian to Colonial Revival style, from Providence’s greatest growth period in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The homes shine again today due in large part to grassroots restoration efforts by caring residents. New this year will be a neighborhood fair representing aspects of the area’s rich cultural diversity. The event is also timed with the city’s third annual PVD Fest, Providence’s signature citywide art festival, June 1-4, creating a robust art and architecture experience for weekend visitors and residents alike.

Self-guided private house tours take place on Saturday, June 3, from 10 a.m.—4 p.m. Saturday registration begins at 9:45 a.m. at the Knight Memorial Library, 275 Elmwood Avenue. Advance ticket purchase strongly recommended at for $35 for Upper Elmwood residents, $35 in advance for PPS members, and $45 in advance for non-members. On-site tickets will be $35 for Upper Elmwood residents, $45 for PPS members, and $55 for non-members.


2017 Providence Preservation Society Most Endangered Properties list

Humboldt Fire Station – Photo by Yvette Brunet for PPS

The Providence Preservation Society announced thier annual list of the city’s Most Endangered Properties this week.

  • Atlantic Mills, 100 Manton Avenue, Olneyville (1863)
  • Barstow Stove Company (known as Tops Electric Company), 120 Point Street, Jewelry District (c. 1849)
  • Bomes Theatre, 1017 Broad Street, Elmwood (1921)
  • Broad Street Synagogue, 688 Broad Street (1910-1911)
  • Cranston Street Armory, 310 Cranston Street, West End (1907)
  • Humboldt Fire Station, 155 Humboldt Avenue, Wayland (1906)
  • Industrial Trust Building, 111 Westminster Street, Downtown (1928)
  • Rhodes Street National Register District, Rhodes/Alphonso/Janes Streets, Upper South Providence, (1850s-1890s)
  • Sheffield Smith House, 334 Smith Street, Smith Hill (1855)
  • Former Sixth Precinct Police Station, 36 Chaffee Street, Olneyville (1890)
  • Welcome Arnold House, 21 Planet Street, College Hill (1785-1798)

For further information on each property, visit the Providence Preservation Society’s website.

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Providence Preservation Society 2016 Symposium: Why Preserve? – November 3-4, 2016


From the Providence Preservation Society:

PPS Announces 2016 Providence Symposium: Why Preserve?

Industrial Trust Building is setting for national conversation on why preservation matters to communities

The Providence Preservation Society (PPS) announces the 2016 Providence Symposium, Why Preserve?, November 3-4, 2016 at the Industrial Trust Building, 111 Westminster Street.

The annual Providence Symposium engages experts from across the nation as well as local stakeholders on topics critical to the future of Providence. In 1956, PPS inaugurated what became a national model for historic preservation. Sixty years later, PPS asks its founding question of a new generation: Why Preserve? The 2016 Symposium will launch a year of community-based conversations around these foundational preservation questions: Why do we preserve? What do we preserve? Who decides what we preserve – that is, who are “we”? What are the costs of preservation? Who bears them?

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City Plan Commission Meeting – July 19, 2016

Providence City Plan Commission Notice of Regular Meeting
Tuesday, July 19, 2016 • 4:45pm
Joseph Doorley Municipal Building
1st Floor Meeting Room
444 Westminster Street, Providence, RI 02903

cpc-roundOpening Session

  • Call to Order
  • Roll Call
  • Approval of minutes from the June 21, 2016 meeting – for action
  • Director’s Report

1. Proposed Expansion of College Hill Historic District – The Providence Preservation Society will introduce a petition to expand the College Hill Historic District to include an area bounded by Power, Hope, Governor and Angell Streets. The CPC is requested to form a subcommittee to investigate and oversee the process – for action

City Council Referral

2. Referral 3405 – Rezoning of 150-152 Carolina Avenue – The applicant is proposing to rezone two lots at 150-152 Carolina Avenue from M-1 to R-2 – for action (AP 101 Lots 280 and 281, Washington Park)

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Providence Preservation Society Annual Meeting – January 20, 2016

The 2016 PPS Annual Meeting
Wednesday, January 20, 2016 | 5:30 pm
Providence Public Library, 225 Washington Street
FREE and Open to the Public; Registration required

Join the Providence Preservation Society on Wednesday, January 20, 2016, as we welcome guest speaker Adele Chatfield-Taylor, former President and CEO of the American Academy in Rome, to our 2016 Annual Meeting at the Providence Public Library Auditorium. Also during the meeting, the 2016 Most Endangered Properties will be announced, and the Society’s 2016 Board of Trustees will be presented to members for a vote. After the meeting, a small reception will be held in the Library.

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PPS Symposium – Beyond Buildings: Preserving the Livable Neighborhood – November 5-7, 2015

Image from PPS’ 2014 Symposium – Photo by Cat Laine

From Providence Preservation Society:

Beyond Buildings: Preserving the Livable Neighborhood

Providence’s neighborhoods help us trace how the city was built, and why. Through them, we reveal the people and cultures that contributed to the city’s evolution. Each neighborhood tells a unique story of Providence and its people. Over time, as the city matured and populations shifted, local landmarks also took on new roles, uses, and meanings and residential, commercial, civic, and recreational spaces evolved.

Beyond Buildings: Preserving the Livable Neighborhood, will examine neighborhood identity, community assets, and the importance of “human capital” to the city’s success. Building on our 2014 focus on downtown Providence and what makes a great city, we are now moving into our residential districts to discuss programs and policy blueprints for upward mobility, sustainability, and community development, honoring the individual character of Providence’s neighborhoods.

Speakers include:

  • Donovan Rypkema, Principal of PlaceEconomics
  • Majora Carter, Urban Revitalization Strategist and Social-Enterprise Pioneer
  • Ned Kaufman, author of Place, Race, and Story: Essays on the Past and Future of Historic Preservation.
November 5 – 7, 2015
The King’s Cathedral
1860 Westminster Street, Olneyville

For more information and to register visit


Providence Preservation Society Most Endangered Properties 20th Anniversary Photo Exhibit – May 28, 2015


From PPS:

For 20 years, PPS has culled the annual Ten Most Endangered Properties with the help of concerned neighbors, advocates and preservationists. Each year, these properties have been captured visually by the photography of local artists, helping to tell the stories of these important sites.

Celebrate this milestone with us at a Retrospective Photo Exhibit, featuring 20 of Providence’s most significant preservation stories from the last two decades! Enjoy hors d’oeuvres and view Providence’s historical assets as captured by another of the city’s assets – its photographers.

Reception will be held in the Atrium at the Peerless Building. Thursday, May 28 from 5:00 – 8:00 pm.

Funding for this free, public event is provided in part by a grant from the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, through an appropriation by the Rhode Island General Assembly, a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, and private funders. This retrospective exhibit was also made possible with support from the June Rockwell Levy Foundation and Dr. Joseph A. Chazan. The exhibit space within the Peerless Building was generously donated by Cornish Associates.

For more information, go to ppsri.og/exhibit or contact Paul Wackrow at 401-831-7440 or

PPS Annual Meeting featuring former Pittsburgh Mayor Tom Murphy – January 29, 2015


Tom Murphy. Photo from ULI.

From the Providence Preservation Society:

PPS Announces January 29 Annual Meeting

Featuring Former Mayor of Pittsburgh TOM MURPHY – Meeting Will Also Highlight Providence Revolving Fund’s 35th Anniversary

Providence, RI (January 9, 2015) – The Providence Preservation Society welcomes Tom Murphy, former Mayor of Pittsburgh and senior resident fellow at the Urban Land Institute, to their 2015 Annual Meeting on Thursday, January 29, 2015, 5:30 pm, at the Providence Public Library. Having leveraged billions of dollars in economic development in Pittsburgh, Mayor Murphy will speak about his experience in urban revitalization. The event will also celebrate the 35th Anniversary of the Providence Revolving Fund, which was formed by the Society’s Board of Trustees in 1980.

“When Mayor Murphy took office in 1994, he built upon Pittsburgh’s existing assets to create a dynamic urban experience,” stated Brent Runyon, Executive Director of the Providence Preservation Society. “With new political leadership, and development beginning within the I-195 District, Providence is well-positioned for the same type of renewal.” After three terms as mayor of Pittsburgh, Mayor Murphy joined the Urban Land Institute in 2006, focusing on the economic impact large institutions and public-private partnerships have on local economies. The Providence Preservation Society has long contributed to the economic vitality of Rhode Island through its work in the capital city, preserving our important past, while being a partner in the city’s growth.

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Providence Preservation Society announces 2014 Historic Preservation Awards winners


Johnson & Wales University, Center for Physician Assistant Studies. Photo by Heidi Gumula for DBVW Architects from PPS

Celebrating Preservation in Providence

PPS 2014 Historic Preservation Awards

On Friday, November 7, 2014 the Providence Preservation Society (PPS) will recognize the recipients of the 2014 Historic Preservation Awards. The PPS Historic Preservation Awards recognize individuals, organizations, and businesses that have maintained and enhanced the architectural heritage of Providence through preservation projects and new design. Eight preservation projects located throughout Providence will receive awards.

In addition to those projects receiving awards, PPS is honoring an individual whose vision for preservation transformed the Brown and Sharpe Company manufacturing complex into a thriving mixed use development. The late Antonio Guerra, who passed away on October 11, will receive a posthumous Community Preservation Award. Mr. Guerra purchased the complex shortly after Brown and Sharpe moved out in the 1960s, redeveloping the site’s many industrial buildings into The Foundry Corporate Office Center and Promenade Apartments. Mr. Guerra was previously recognized in the Providence Preservation Society’s 50th Anniversary Hall of Fame in 2006.

The PPS Historic Preservation Awards ceremony will take place on Friday, November 7, at 4:00pm on the first floor of the Industrial Trust Building, 111 Westminster Street, Providence. The Awards are being held in coordination with PPS’ Providence Symposium, Not Always Easy: Building the New Urban Experience, November 6-8. To register, visit Tickets for the awards ceremony and reception are free, but advance registration is required.

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The Providence Preservation Society’s 56th Annual Meeting featuring Jennifer Bradley – January 23, 2014

Brookings Institution Fellow and Co-Author of The Metropolitan Revolution JENNIFER BRADLEY to Speak at PPS’ 56th Annual Meeting

Second in PPS’ Yearlong Speaker Series entitled Not Always Easy: Building the New Urban Experience 2014 Ten Most Endangered Properties List Announced

jennifer-bradleyThe Providence Preservation Society welcomes Jennifer Bradley, fellow at the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program and co-author of The Metropolitan Revolution, to their 56th Annual Meeting on Thursday, January 23, 2014, 5:30 pm, at Brown University’s Salomon Center. The event is also the second installment of PPS’ yearlong speaker series entitled Not Always Easy: Building the New Urban Experience, featuring dynamic urban leaders and experts on topics including government and development, open space and public land, and transportation. Ms. Bradley will speak to the context of her book, co-written with Bruce Katz, on how cities and metros are fixing our broken politics and fragile economy.

The Metropolitan Revolution is a thought-leading book on the shift back to our nation’s urban cores. Jennifer Bradley, along with her co-author Bruce Katz, is leading the dialogue on how cities can flourish and ultimately be the drivers for the next economy,” stated Brent Runyon, Executive Director of the Providence Preservation Society. “The Providence Preservation Society has long contributed to the economic vitality of Rhode Island through its work in the capital city, preserving our important past while being a partner in the city’s growth. We are excited to have Ms. Bradley with us to share examples from other cities as our second speaker in the Not Always Easy: Building the New Urban Experience series, and as we turn the page to another year of preservation in Providence.”

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PPS Director James Brayton Hall stepping down in March

hallSome non-blizzard news, the Providence Preservation Society announced yesterday that Executive Director James Brayton Hall will be leaving his position in March.

Hall will be taking a position as Deputy Director of the Norton Art Museum in Palm Beach, Florida. Before his tenure at PPS, which started in 2010, Hall was the Assistant Director of the RISD Museum.

In a message to supporters the Society said:

During James’s tenure, PPS became more visible and added tremendous content to its programming. An active leader in negotiating controversial issues of planning and preservation in the City, the Society successfully advocated for stronger anti-demolition language in the new downtown zoning ordinance, and most recently worked closely with the College Hill Neighborhood Association to guide improvements to the design of the proposed building at 257 Thayer Street. PPS was also instrumental in jump-starting a planning effort for the Thayer Street District to respond to issues raised by the Gilbane proposal. Last spring, the façade of the Providence National Bank Façade was finally stabilized. Brokered by PPS, this effort engaged the efforts of Mayor Angel Taveras, downtown merchants, the Providence Revolving Fund and numerous preservationists.

PPS plans to appoint an interim directly shortly and begin a national search for James Hall’s replacement.


Providence Preservation Society Fall Symposium, October 11-13


Registration open now at

2012 Providence Symposium: Not Always Pretty: Behind the Façade of Historic Preservation

October 11-13, 2012

Registration to Open in Early September

Building on the success of last year’s Providence Symposium, Make no Little Plans, The Providence Preservation Society will convene a diverse group of speakers to examine the Historic Preservation movement’s past and future in Providence with the 2012 Symposium, Not Always Pretty: Behind the Façade of Historic Preservation.

The unparalleled beauty of Providence’s restored streetscapes masks a movement that has often relied upon unusual politics, uncomfortable compromises, and unpredictable alliances. As the idea of preservation in Providence has matured, so have our practices. We have often celebrated the “who” of Preservation, but the “why” and the “how” tell a much more nuanced, complicated, and sometimes less “pretty” story.

Our morning sessions on Friday, October 12, will look at early successes (even pre-PPS) and the learning curve that arced from the rescuing of Benefit Street to the American Screw Works fire to the first adaptive re-use projects. In the afternoon, developers, planners, and historians will speculate and spar, and examine their crystal balls to predict where we could and should be going for our next 50 years, and what our strategies should be to get us there! Does Brutalism have a future? Who’s history is this anyway? How much preservation is too much?

Join us and find out! Become part of this conversation which will help define tomorrow’s Providence!


PPS Ten Most Endangered Properties Call for Nominations

Call for Nominations:
Ten Most Endangered Properties

Every year the Providence Preservation Society (PPS) compiles a list of endangered properties in the city of Providence. We are asking you to explore your neighborhood for structures threatened by neglect, vandalism, or irresponsible development to nominate for the 2011 Ten Most Endangered Properties List.

We rely on you to be the eyes and ears in the community to help identify those properties most in need.

Go to and download a nomination form or e-mail All nominations are due by February 25th. The final list will be announced at a press conference in May.

Hint: Grove Street School


Rally for Grove Street School (Sept. 11)

Channel 10 video from February 2007.

Grove Street School
Community Rally

Saturday, September 11th – 10:00am
Grove Street School, 95 Grove Street

Come learn the history of this school and how you can help save this endangered historic building. Bring your camera and camera phones to take photos for SeeClickFix.

Sponsored by the West Broadway Neighborhood Association and the Providence Preservation Society.

You may recall, because I keep bringing it up, that Federal Hill resident, Assistant City Solicitor, and candidate to succeed Steven Costantino in the General Assembly, Michael Tarro and his family own this building, and Mr. Tarro has repeatedly ignored all court rullings, right up to the state Supreme Court, ordering that the building be fixed.

Assistant City Solicitor Illegal tore down building Breaks laws in the city he is paid to be an Assistant Solicitor in Ignores court orders to fix said building Wants to be a lawmaker

Grove Street School
Feb. 4, 2007

Grove Street School
Aug. 9, 2010

Grove Street School
Aug. 9, 2010

Grove Street School
Aug. 9, 2010

Grove Street School
Aug. 9, 2010


PPS Annual Meeting and Preservation Lecture (01/21)

Providence Preservation Society

Annual Meeting and Preservation Lecture featuring William Morgan, Architectural Historian and Author

The 52nd Annual Meeting will be held this Thursday, January 21, at the Beneficent Congregational Church (300 Weybosset Street, Providence RI) beginning at 5:30pm. A preservation lecture by William Morgan, an architectural historian and widely published author, will be featured.

The Volunteer of the Year Award, recognizing an individual who has shown exceptional dedication to the projects and programs of the Society as a volunteer, and the President’s Award, honoring an individual who has contributed significantly to the Society’s endeavors, will be announced. Martha Buonanno, PPS Trustee 2006-2009, will be honored with a memorial dedication.

A reception will follow the meeting. Attendees will meet William Morgan and PPS trustees and staff and explore the architecture and beauty of the Beneficent Congregational Church (ca.1810). The Church, founded as a meeting place for secular as well as sacred purposes, is celebrating its bicentennial in 2010, and the PPS Annual Meeting will be among its commemorative events.

This event is free and open to the public.



Captain Joseph Tillinghast House

Captain Joseph Tillinghast House

The Captain Joseph Tillinghast House, which has been on the Providence Preservation Society’s list of 10 Most Endangered Properties for the last two years is currently undergoing historic renovation.

Captain Joseph Tillinghast House

PPS says of the house:

Capt. Joseph Tillinghast, who commanded one of the boats involved in the burning of the Gaspee in 1772, built the ca. 1770 house on a site claimed by his great-grandfather Pardon Tillinghast in 1645. The site was also the location of the first wharf and warehouse in Providence. The 2½-story, 5-bay-facade Tillinghast House has a center-hall-plan with two interior brick chimneys and a central, pedimented entrance with paneled pilasters. The house survived the 1801 South Main Street fire and is the one of the only remaining buildings of Providence’s colonial waterfront. It is unclear why the sign in front of the building calls it “Dolphin House.”

The highly visible house is suffering from severe neglect; the buckling façade indicates problems with the building’s frame. Additionally, the building’s position adjacent to the original I-195 and the riverfront puts it at risk. Once I-195 is moved from its original location, the house will be bordering highly desirable, developable land, placing the deteriorating colonial-era structure at even greater risk.

Captain Joseph Tillinghast House

It is of course wonderful to see this historic struture getting the attention it needs. I wonder what will be built on the parcels around it once the highway comes down. It’ll be interesting to see how the house is incorporated into the urban fabric created by new structures.

Captain Joseph Tillinghast House

Photos by Jef Nickerson


PBN on Preservation and Development

The Providence Business News has a great editorial calling for cooler heads and common sense when balancing historic preservation and economic development. They also call for the reinstatement of a meaningful historic tax credit, which is critical right now to continuing neighborhood revitalization and job growth. The issues surrounding the fight over the parking lot at the proposed 19 Harrison Street condo conversion (below) between the developer and the PPS and WBNA seem to have been the catalyst for the editorial.

The PBN makes the case perfectly:

“Developers, preservationists and neighborhood activists all have legitimate interests, and a successful project, particularly in these difficult times, will require accommodation. If the good is sacrificed on the altar of the perfect, the result will be neither good nor perfect, it will be an empty building.”