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East Providence’s Oldfellows Hall gets preservation grant

By   /   June 4, 2013  /   Be the first to comment

Oddfellows'_Hall,_East_Providence

The Oldfellows Hall located in the historic Watchemoket Square in East Providence.

PROVIDENCE — The Rhode Island Historical Preservation and Heritage Commission (RIHPHC) recently announced that it is awarding eight grants totaling about $54,500 to local historic preservation programs. These grants to Bristol, Cranston, East Providence, Providence, and Warwick will support a wide variety of local preservation activities, including a smartphone app for historic neighborhood walking tours, a mapping study of early colonial settlement sites, architectural assessments of several important historic buildings, survey and documentation of a National Register district, a planning study of a historic industrial plant, and revisions to the design review program for Downtown Providence.

In making the announcement, RIHPHC Executive Director Edward F. Sanderson stated: “The work carried out by municipal historical preservation programs is very important to our statewide preservation efforts. These grant awards are an acknowledgement of the commitment which these communities have made to protect their historic resources. The Commission is pleased to support activities which local governments have identified as high priorities.”

These grants to Bristol, Cranston, East Providence, Providence, and Warwick will support a wide variety of local preservation activities, including a smartphone app for historic neighborhood walking tours, a mapping study of early colonial settlement sites, architectural assessments of several important historic buildings, survey and documentation of a National Register district, a planning study of a historic industrial plant, and revisions to the design review program for Downtown Providence.

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A view of the interior architecture of the Oldfellows Hall.

The City of East Providence will receive a $7,500 grant to fund the preparation of a historic structures report for the long-vacant Shingle-style Odd Fellows Hall built in 1889. The rehabilitation of this endangered historic building in the Watchemoket Square neighborhood is critical to the ongoing redevelopment of the East Providence waterfront.

These grants are part of the Commission’s Certified Local Government (CLG) program, which provides assistance to cities and towns who protect the historic character of their communities through local historic district ordinances. Towns whose historic district ordinances and review procedures meet CLG standards are certified by the Commission and become eligible to receive grants and technical assistance.

The grants are funded by the U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service and awarded and administered by the R.I. Historical Preservation and Heritage Commission. Currently sixteen Rhode Island cities and towns are Certified Local Governments.

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A look at the stage inside the Oldfellows Hall.

The R.I. Historical Preservation and Heritage Commission is the state office for historic preservation and heritage programs. Rhode Island’s statewide historic preservation program identifies and protects historic buildings, districts, and archaeological sites.

The Commission conducts statewide surveys of historic sites and buildings; nominates significant properties to the National Register of Historic Places and the State Register; administers programs of financial aid including grants, loans, and tax credits; reviews federal, state, and local projects to protect cultural resources; regulates archaeology on state land and under state territorial waters; and assists the preservation efforts of local governments, preservation societies and property owners. The Commission also is responsible for developing and carrying out programs to document, support and celebrate the rich cultural heritage of Rhode Island’s people.

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