Tag Archives | Providence Preservation Society

PPS “Yesterday’s News” – April 3, 2014

lennonSheila Lennon, author of the Providence Journal’s Time Lapse Blog will explore unique and revealing historic images from the Providence Journal’s archives that highlight extraordinary cases of urban renewal and landscape change throughout Rhode Island. An editor at The Providence Journal for nearly 30 years, the last 15 of them on the Web site, Sheila was the Journal’s first blogger. A native and nearly lifelong Providence resident, she studied American history at both Wellesley College and Brown Graduate School. Co-presented by the Governor

Henry Lippitt House Museum
5:30pm reception, 6:00pm presentation
Governor Henry Lippitt House • 199 Hope Street
Free for PPS & PRI members, $10 for non-members. Members can register by emailing

Providence Preservation Society 2014 Ten Most Endangered Properties

The Providence Preservation Society has released its annual list of the Ten Most Endangered Properties in Providence. The list will be highlighted with a photo exhibit at their annual meeting tonight.

The List:


All photos by Jesse Burke for PPS.

57 Federal Street (Early 19th Century) Federal Hill
PPS Most Endangered: 2014 Building type: Residential
Threat: Neglect

Among the oldest buildings on Federal Hill, 57 Federal Street is a two story, 5-bay-facade, center hall-plan house with a single interior brick chimney and a central entrance with sidelights, located between Atwells Avenue and Broadway. While Federal- era houses of this style are not uncommon on the East Side of Providence, the Federal Hill neighborhood was largely undeveloped grazing land before 1820. Although 57 Federal Street is likely one of the oldest remaining buildings in the immediate area, it is not included on any historic resource survey, and is not listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

While the existing door head may be a modern replacement, several of the building’s details remain remarkably intact including the building’s clapboards and window sash. Unfortunately, the house has been abandoned for several years, with broken windows on the second story leaving the building completely open to the elements.

In the coming year PPS hopes to better document this unique building, and work with the City of Providence to fully secure the building and address maintenance and safety issues.

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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 A Yearlong Series Begins: Adrian Benepe – November 14, 2013

A Yearlong Series Begins: Join Us For The First Conversation On Open Space And Public Land

Adrian Benepe at the Iconic and Historic Industrial Trust Building
November 14, 2013 • 5:30 – 8:00 pm
111 Westminster Street, Providence RI

File Name : DA1_8307.JPG File Size : 3.3MB (3417416 Bytes) Date Taken : 2006/06/23 12:00:58 Image Size : 4288 x 2848 pixels Resolution : 300 x 300 dpi Bit Depth : 8 bits/channel Protection Attribute : Off Hide Attribute : Off Camera ID : N/A Camera : NIKON D2X Quality Mode : N/A Metering Mode : Matrix Exposure Mode : Manual Speed Light : Yes Focal Length : 30 mm Shutter Speed : 1/250 second Aperture : F16.0 Exposure Compensation : 0 EV White Balance : N/A Lens : N/A Flash Sync Mode : N/A Exposure Difference : N/A Flexible Program : N/A Sensitivity : N/A Sharpening : N/A Image Type : Color Color Mode : N/A Hue Adjustment : N/A Saturation Control : N/A Tone Compensation : N/A Latitude(GPS) : N/A Longitude(GPS) : N/A Altitude(GPS) : N/AKicking off the Providence Preservation Society’s yearlong series on downtown Providence and the making of great cities is Adrian Benepe, former New York City Parks Commissioner and now Senior Vice President and Director of City Park Development at the Trust for Public Land. He will lead us in discussing the benefit and potential for open space and public land.

Adrian Benepe has worked in the public and non-profit realm as a leader in park and public space conservation, design, construction and operation, in the areas of city planning, arts, culture, historic preservation, and landscape and urban design for his entire career. As Parks Commissioner of the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation under Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, he oversaw public-private partnerships that catalyzed the development of several signature city parks, including the High Line and Brooklyn Bridge Park. During his 12-year tenure, he created 730 new acres of parks and public space in NYC, and refurbished a number of existing ones. In 2012, Benepe became Senior Vice President and Director of City Park Development for The Trust for Public Land and oversees the urban work of over thirty offices whose projects include parks, playgrounds, gardens, trails and greenways across the United States. Benepe earned a B.A. in English Literature from Middlebury College and a Master’s Degree in Journalism from Columbia University, where he was awarded a Pulitzer Fellowship.

A Conversation with Adrian Benepe is a collaboration between the Providence Preservation Society and the Downtown Providence Parks Conservancy.


→ ProJo: Providence Preservation Society hires new director

b-runyonThe Providence Preservation Society has hired a new executive director, Charles Brent Runyon, who will begin work in his new post on Nov. 11.

Runyon has been the executive director since 2005 of a nonprofit historic preservation organization in Georgia, Thomasville Landmarks Inc. He replaces James Brayton Hall, the society’s former director who left Providence in March to become deputy director of the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach, Florida. He will take over from the Society’s interim executive director, Karen L. Jessup, a local preservationist and former Society board member who took the reins after Hall’s departure.

Photo from the Providence Preservation Society


Providence Preservation Society statement regarding the Superman Building

Superman Building

Photo by Jef Nickerson

PPS’s Statement Regarding The Industrial Trust Building:

The Providence Preservation Society believes carefully considered redevelopment planning at the vacant Industrial Trust Building at 111 Westminster Street, Providence, is urgent and makes the following observations:

  • The Industrial Trust Building possesses a high degree of civic and architectural value.
  • The building is prominently located in downtown Providence, is an iconic visual statement in the Providence skyline, and its substantial bulk and idiosyncratic massing make it an important placeholder in the streetscape of one of the three main east/west thoroughfares in the City.
  • Given the very large scale of the building, its vacancy is a material drain on the fragile economy of downtown Providence and, by extension, on the economic vitality of the entire State.
  • The Industrial Trust Building is situated in Providence’s Financial District where recent private sector
    development evidences the beginnings of an economic renaissance. A vacant 111 Westminster Street places this renaissance in jeopardy.
  • For over 25 years, the Providence Preservation Society has participated in and sometimes initiated strategic conversations to facilitate challenging development projects in historic properties, particularly those large in scale. PPS has deep experience in this area of historic preservation planning and economic development and offers its assistance in moving the project to reality.
  • We well understand that development projects in historic buildings in Providence, especially those of a large scale, have required a public /private partnership in order to make them financially feasible. These subsidies have come in many forms. PPS offers no specific advice at this time as to the exact nature of any particular public role in the financing for redevelopment of this very important building.
  • Trustees believe that moving forward to create a vibrant, economically sound plan for the Industrial Trust Building is critical.

Continuing Engagement on The Future of The Industrial Trust Building:

The Providence Preservation Society is keenly interested in the future of 111 Westminster Street for the reasons outlined above. The organization intends to proceed with a high level of engagement in planning for the property’s re-use. It offers its expertise in preservation planning and development to the building owner and his development team, to the City of Providence, and to the State of Rhode Island and its agents. We look forward to tailoring the ways in which this engagement might take place to the particular circumstances of the property and its ownership. Our organization acknowledges that this may be the most critical development challenge currently facing any historic building in Providence, and one of the most important to resolve.


PPS Festival of Historic Homes – June 7-9, 2013


Henry D. Sharpe House – 1928 • Photo Rob Kesack courtesy of PPS

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.

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Providence Preservation Society names Karen Jessup Interim Director

Providence Preservation Society Names Interim Director

Karen Jessup, Seasoned Preservationist and Landscape Historian Takes The Reins At PPS

pps-logoProvidence, RI: Karen Jessup, who served for years as a Providence Preservation Society (PPS) Trustee and Board President of the Providence Revolving Fund has become the Society’s interim director, according to Board of Trustees President Lucie Searle. Karen is taking over for Executive Director James Hall, who stepped down after accepting the position of deputy director of the Norton Museum of Art in Palm Beach, Florida.

“We are absolutely thrilled to welcome Karen back to PPS,” stated Searle, adding, “As a former Chair of the Providence Historic District Commission and founding member of the Revolving Fund, Karen has over 30 years of experience working in Providence’s preservation landscape. The breadth and depth of her experiences and achievements on both a national and international level are extensive.”

In addition to Jessup’s work in Providence, she is a former Trustee of the National Trust for Historic Preservation and Chair of its Board of Advisors where she concentrated specifically on diversifying the preservation movement and public policy advocacy. Karen has held administrative and teaching appointments in academia in the US and Great Britain, and research fellowships at several universities on both sides of the Atlantic. She was recently named a reviewer for the American Association of Museums, specializing in non-profit organizational and leadership assessment, and community engagement. In her many years of consulting with groups in the US and Britain, she has guided them in institutional planning, educational programming, and issues of governance and management. Karen has consulted broadly with World Heritage Sites in Britain, National Historic Landmarks and National Register properties in the US, and other sites and organizations of cultural consequence. She has received numerous citations for community service and for her academic work, and has been a juror on national preservation and landscape design panels.

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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 Annual Meeting tonight

Join us TONIGHT for the PPS Annual Meeting
Featuring Keynote Speaker: T. Gunny Harboe, FAIA
Brown University’s List Art Building (64 College Street, Providence)
5:30ppm • Free and open to the public!

pps-logoThe Providence Preservation Society’s 55th Annual Meeting will begin tonight at 5:30 pm at Brown University’s List Art Building (64 College Street, Providence). Joining us as our Keynote Speaker will be Brown alumnus T. Gunny Harboe, founder of Harboe Architects, a prominent preservation-architecture firm based in Chicago. A reception will follow the meeting, giving attendees the opportunity to meet Mr. Harboe and PPS trustees and staff. This event is free and open to the public.

Mr. Harboe has gained a national reputation for his award-winning work on the Rookery Building and Reliance Buildings in Chicago. More recent projects include: Holabird and Roche’s Marquette Building; Frank Lloyd Wright’s Unity Temple and Beth Sholom Synagogue; Mies Van der Rohe’s Crown Hall; Louis Sullivan’s Carson Pirie Scott Store; and Holabird and Root’s Chicago Board of Trade Building and Lafayette Building, all National Historic Landmarks.

If you’re heading to the PPS Meeting, afterward be sure to make your way down to the Annual Providence Blogosphere Post-Holidays Party at The Salon.