Providence Opens Its Doors for Historic Preservation Tours

The Providence Preservation Society (PPS) announces the 35th Annual Festival of Historic Houses, taking place this year on June 13, 14, and 15. The Festival, known for opening some of Providence’s most interesting homes, gardens and converted industrial mill spaces to visitors from across the region, highlights Providence’s post-industrial heritage through its dynamic housing stock. This signature annual event is an opportunity to hear the stories about the properties’ origins and inhabitants, while viewing firsthand the modern day living spaces in Providence’s prized historic properties made possible through historic preservation.

Providence is one of the few mid-sized cities in the U.S. with much of its historic character intact. Its post-industrial heritage is represented throughout the city by both the traditional grand houses of Providence’s forefathers and captains of industry; and by the adaptive reuse of the original industrial mill buildings and sites into homes. Today, the Festival brings visitors to two separate areas of the city on the Saturday and Sunday of the Festival weekend. It is kicked off on the Friday evening with a cocktail reception in a private historic home.

The 2014 Festival starts on Saturday in an enclave of homes within the College Hill neighborhood, between Brown University and the Fox Point neighborhood. These homes are located amid large, stately residences which include the townhouse of a Rhode Island governor, and the dignified Greek Revival houses of traders, bankers, professors and those who prospered in the mid-19th century textile and manufacturing industries. Approximately ten houses will be open for touring in this area, which includes Cooke, Manning and Hope Streets.

The tour continues on Sunday across town on the edge of Providence’s south side at Pearl Street Lofts. The location is an old industrial mill complex built between 1842 and 1857 and converted into 55 live, work and retail spaces in 2004. Pearl Street Lofts and Rice Street Studios are home to several creative endeavors, includingStudio Dunn, an award-winning furniture and lighting design firm. Residential units include unique exposed brick, high ceilings, mezzanines and roof top gardens with views of the city.

Houses in the College Hill neighborhood will be open on Saturday, June 14 from 10:00 am – 4:00 pm. Lofts and surrounding tours at Pearl Street Lofts will be open on Sunday, June 15 from Noon – 4:00 pm.

Tickets purchased in advance are $35 per day for PPS members/$40 per day for non-members. Advance two-day tickets are $75. Day-of tickets are $45. The Friday evening cocktail event is $125. For more information, call Angela Kondon at PPS at 831-7440, or email akondon(at)ppsri(dot)org.

About the Providence Preservation Society:
Formed in 1956 to respond to the proposed demolition of a number of 18th- and early 19th-century houses on College Hill, the Providence Preservation Society (PPS) has grown from a small neighborhood group to a multifaceted citywide preservation organization. With a large membership, a professional staff, and countless volunteers, PPS is able to provide a broad range of services that fulfill its mission to improve the quality of life in the City of Providence through historic preservation and the enhancement of the built environment. For more information, visit

For I-95 traveler information, including exit listing, real-time traffic reports, gas prices and more, visit