Preservation & Conservation Projects
Maintenance is ongoing at the Lippitt House Museum with a current focus on repairing the historic fountain, replacing the circular driveway, which has a temporary gravel surface, and upgrading the landscape lighting system.
Conserving Decorative Finishes
Conservator Bob Dodge has uncovered significant decorative paint schemes under layers of more recent paint. Bob is working to restore these amazing, long-hidden decorative surfaces. View photos and a November 2010 update of the decorative finishes uncovered in the the second floor alcove and guest room.
Donations can also be made to support PRI's stewardship of the Lippitt House by visiting our Support PRI donation page.
2009-2010 Historic Structures Report
Mid-July 2009 marked the start of a year-long study by the firm of Mesick, Cohen, Wilson and Baker Architects of Albany NY to produce a Historic Structure Report. This report will help guide future use, maintenance and capital projects for the house while informing us of current conditions and systems and filling in some of the gaps in our knowledge of the house's history.
Updates from the report will be on the website in 2011!
2009 Driveway Installation Project
In early 2008, Preserve Rhode Island removed the existing asphalt block driveway, concerned for the safety of residents, staff and guests of the museum, and replaced it with a temporary gravel surface. The old driveway had deteriorated so badly that twisted ankles were imminent and falls on ice in winter were becoming too common.
The temporary gravel surface was intended to allow time to research and determine an appropriate replacement material, but with the first rainstorm it was quickly discovered WHY the old driveway had become so badly rutted - gutter downspouts had been discharging rainwater onto the driveway and existing drainage was over-capacity, causing an excessive amount of water to cascade over, around and under the pavers. This was clearly evident when that water immediately began washing out the temporary gravel and pointed right to the source of the problem. A recent discovery as part of an ongoing Historic Structures Report revealed that the attic of the Lippitt House originally held a cistern capable of storing over 13,000 gallons of water! When the cistern was removed and the rainwater redirected down to the ground, the driveway started a slow and steady decline leading to the recent problems.
In planning for the permanent driveway, it was discovered that the original asphalt pavers used in the driveway were still being made by a company in Pennsylvania that possesses the last 3 machines in the world capable of manufacturing them and it was decided to use these replica asphalt pavers. They are installed over a layer of asphalt that will provide additional support and allow them to last much longer than the originals, especially with the drainage repaired! The pavers are also laid in a pattern similar to what is shown in an 1890's photograph of the driveway, although there are obvious differences to reflect the modern installation.
Our thanks to Mesick, Cohen, Wilson and Baker Architects for their consultation on the project, Cryan Landscape Contractors for their skilled installation work and to all who support the Lippitt House and made this project possible with their donations.