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Newport Restoration Foundation

Historic Preservation Professor Dr. Elaine Stiles and her Preservation 341/541 class is partnering with the Newport Restoration Foundation to conduct historical documentation for classic buildings in Newport. Some of the physical documentation the class will produce includes measured drawings and documentary photography of the buildings. In addition to this work, the class will also conduct research to document a more complete history of the buildings themselves. The buildings researched by Dr. Stiles and her students include The Christopher Townsend House located at 74 Bridge Street and the William Vernon House at 46 Clarke Street.

Students work to create measured drawings at 74 Bridge Street

The goal of the Newport Restoration Foundation is to preserve the tradition of classic architecture in historical Newport. The community has always cherished the vast history of the coastal town that is highlighted by the historic buildings. The collection of buildings that the NRF has restored is one of the largest collections of houses from the 18th and early-19th century in the United States. Some of the restored buildings include the Constant Tabor House (built in 1740) and founder of the NRF, Doris Duke’s home that has since been transformed into the Rough Point Museum.

Students get familiar with the Christopher Townsend House

The Christopher Townsend House is a case study in the “Keeping History Above Water” project which hosts a variety of events in maintaining the cultural and climatic heritage of Rhode Island. “Keeping History Above Water” has been focusing on keeping historic coastal towns safe from dangerous flooding since 2016. The conferences held by “Keeping History Above Water” are to inform preservationists, city planners, and many other decision makers about the impact climate change has on historical buildings.

The NRF has restored over eighty buildings since the foundation’s beginning. Seventy-four of the eighty houses the NRF has restored are currently private residences available for rent. The rented properties are maintained by a full-time crew of painters and contractors that enhance the appearance and well-being of the buildings. The NRF also operates three museums open to the public in the classic buildings.

Dr. Stiles’ students’ documentation aids in making plans to protect the house at 74 Bridge Street from flooding, as well as support efforts in the future for preserving the tradition of these sites.

Author: Toby Pydych

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