2020 Rhody Award Winners
Each year we honor the top projects and people who help keep Rhode Island's charm, elegance—and quirkiness alive. From a sophisticated mansion to a classic diner, across the state from Coventry to Block Island, we are excited to share the 10 Rhody Award winners of 2020.
2020 Rhody Award Winners
Hopkins Hollow Church, Coventry
Thoughtful stewardship, planning, and a dedicated team of craftsmen guided the restoration of this simple village church. Original windows, doors, and plaster walls were repaired; decorative elements, including wood-grained pews and a newly discovered hand-painted border above the chair rail were restored; and historic gas light fixtures were electrified. Once a target of vandalism, the building is now protected with an alarm, carefully hidden so as not to detract from the unassuming beauty of the church’s historic character.
Block Island Southeast Lighthouse
Southeast Light has stood guard along the bluffs of Block Island for 145 years, in a beautiful but harsh seaside environment. By the 2010s, saltwater had taken a toll, particularly on the cast iron and masonry structural system – the restoration of which required a painstaking process of disassembly, repairing as much original material as possible, recasting damaged elements, and reassembly. Cast iron deck plates, stairs, railings, doors, and the ladder to the lantern gallery were replicated based on original drawings. Laser scanning and a 3D-printed sandcasting system provided the technology. This meticulous restoration ensures that Southeast Light will continue to stand proud for decades to come.
Edward King House Senior Center, Newport
This quintessential Italianate villa provides a gracious meeting place for Newport seniors after a full window repair project. The house has been used as a senior center since 1968, and the historic windows had become inoperable over the decades. This project is a preservation success story: facing inoperable windows, the City of Newport initially reached out to RIHPHC about replacing all of the windows. With the help of a State Preservation Grant (SPG), the city reversed course and made the decision to invest in restoration of the original sash. The successful project represents the city’s investment in historic preservation and the restoration of this National Historic Landmark building and fixture in the Newport community.
Miss Lorraine Diner, Pawtucket
The restoration of this 1941 Worcester Diner was a ten-year labor of love for owner Jonathan Savage. He relocated an abandoned diner from Connecticut and installed it outside Lorraine Mills in Pawtucket. Input from diner experts on the original configuration and where to source finishes and fixtures guided general contractor Joe Pacheco in restoring this streamlined beauty. Operated by experienced restaurateur Mike Arena, Miss Lorraine is open for business. Hot coffee and friendly service in a gorgeous setting—a recipe for success.
Church Hill Grammar School, Pawtucket
This former school was rehabilitated to provide 14 market-rate apartments in the heart of Pawtucket’s Church Hill Industrial Historic District. Constructed in 1889-90 to designs by William R. Walker & Son, the Church Hill Grammar School is a handsome red brick building with Queen Anne-style details and a large square bell tower. Developer Everett Amaral initiated a project to rehab the building for office tenants, and the skilled team at Caragh Development completed the project for residential use. Careful attention to detail and restoration of key historic features like the stairways ensure that this proud school building endures as a Pawtucket landmark.
The Legislative Chambers of the Rhode Island State House, Providence
The State of Rhode Island stewards the historic State House (1895-1904; McKim, Mead & White) for the people of Rhode Island. Between July and December 2019, the State invested in repairs, upgrades, and restorations in both the second floor House and Senate chambers and the third floor public galleries. The comprehensive project utilized historic photos and primary documents to replace non-original draperies in the legislative chambers with historically-appropriate replicas and a protective barrier, procure new chairs based on the historic originals, repaint both chambers with historic colors, restore skylights and their cast-iron protective covers, upgrade electrical and sound systems, and many more improvements. The project combined historic preservation with modern upgrades to ensure the people’s chambers remain a functional part of state government.
After summering in Newport and around New England for many years, Peter and Sue Metzger made Newport home with the purchase of Sunnyside – an early example of the Colonial Revival style and McKim, Mead & White’s work – on Old Beach Road. Peter worked as his own General Contractor to meticulously restore, preserve, and update the 10-bedroom, 11-bathroom house for his family and grandchildren. The 18-month long project addressed a leaking roof, masonry repair and replacement, carpentry, painting, and gutters. Thanks to Peter’s attention to detail, each phase also took care to preserve the historic fabric of this landmark McKim, Mead & White design.
Hope Artiste Village + The Village Lofts, Pawtucket
It took $40 million and 15 years to transform a massive turn-of-the-century textile plant into a mixed-use destination in Pawtucket. Using Federal and State preservation tax credits, the developers carried out a multiphase rehabilitation that began on the Main Street side with the creation of art studios, professional offices, commercial spaces, night clubs, restaurants, and light industrial units and the restoration of the historic Breaktime bowling alley. The dynamic mix of tenants attracted an exciting attraction—the weekly Farm Fresh RI’s Winter Farmers Market—and provided the momentum for installing 149 residential loft-style apartments in the five-story mill on the Esten Street side.
Mary Anthony was hired as the first executive director of the 1772 Foundation in 2003. In the years since, she has had an outsized impact on the preservation movement in Rhode Island and beyond. The foundation provides critical bricks-and-mortar grants to historic sites; in the last six years alone, 191 projects across Rhode Island have received nearly $2.5 million in funding. Mary has been instrumental in expanding the 1772 Foundation’s scope to also include supporting revolving funds, such as those at Preserve Rhode Island and the Providence Revolving Fund; promoting real estate training for preservation professionals through a partnership with the National Development Corporation and the National Trust for Historic Preservation; and breaking down the division between building preservation and land conservation by making grants to organizations like the Norman Bird Sanctuary, South Kingstown Land Trust, and others. Rhode Island’s historic buildings and landscapes would be much the poorer without Mary’s visionary leadership.
Henry Brown is a historian, writer, advocate, and community leader in Warwick. Henry has dedicated his entire life to the preservation and celebration of Warwick’s history, first learning about the city’s history in an elementary school class in 1939. In the over eighty years that followed, Henry has been intimately involved in the development of the Pawtuxet Village Association, the Gaspee Days Committee and Parade, the Warwick Historical Society, and The Bridge newspaper. Henry has collected extensive historical documents and artifacts about all aspects of Warwick history, as well as the venerable Brown family and their Spring Greene Farm, where Henry still lives today. Henry’s research and collection form a large part of the Warwick Historical Society’s collections, and he has also published extensively on Warwick history. A beloved figure in the city, Henry is a Warwick institution unto himself.