One of Rhode Island’s oldest homes to become a family home again

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

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PHOTO: Preserve RI

Preserve Rhode Island, a nationwide nonprofit committed to preserving Rhode Island’s historic sites for future generations, announced this week their plans to return the historic Valentine Whitman House (ca. 1696) in Lincoln back to a private residence.

A conservation easement, overseen by Preserve RI, will be located on the property, which permanently protects the architectural integrity of the house. The city of Lincoln transferred ownership of Valentine Whitman House to Preserve RI in July 2021. Extensive repair and rehabilitation work began immediately, and the project is estimated to cost $ 600,000 when completed.

With the renovation of the house in the final stages, Preserve RI plans to put the house on the market in June.

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About House

Valentine Whitman House, located on Great Road in Lincoln, is one of the few remaining “Stone Enders” on Rhode Island, an architectural style unique to the state. It is also considered to be unique as both the highest expression of this style in its scale and details, and also that it has been left essentially unchanged throughout its 320-year history.

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Valentine Whitman House. PHOTO: Library of Congress

According to Preserve RI, the city of Lincoln was looking for ideas for a sustainable future for this former house museum. Without a significant grant or revenue stream and faced with the need for significant investment to stabilize the property, the city turned to Preserve RI for help. Several business models were examined, including unique holiday stays, before it was decided that the transition to a private home made the most sense.

“Selling this important house, with an easement attached, will ensure that a family that values ​​the historical value of this home will love and protect it for generations to come. It will also allow Preserve RI to recoup our investment. “We can take on more projects like this in the future. We are proud to help the city of Lincoln find a new purpose for this property and put Valentine Whitman House on a sustainable course for the next 300 years,” said Valerie Talmage, CEO Director of Preserve RI.

Valentine Whitman House is Preserve RI’s most ambitious Revolving Fund project to date, requiring extensive work for all parts of the house. Some of the major repairs include:

  • A new wooden shaking roof and new shingles of cedar on the side walls, covering about 75% of the building.
  • All new electrical, plumbing and plumbing systems.
  • New storm windows and house and garage painted in a historically appropriate color.
  • A specially designed kitchen, renovated and extra bathrooms and laundry room were created for the comfort of the 21st century.
  • Original wooden floors and plaster walls restored and repaired as needed.

Heritage Restoration, Inc., a leading contractor specializing in old and historic buildings, undertook the rehabilitation project for Preserve Rhode Island.

Rob Cagnetta, president of Heritage Restoration, Inc. said: “The Valentinine Whitman project is the culmination of a lifetime’s work in the greater Rhode Island historic preservation community. Sewing seventeenth-century sewing and early eighteenth-century remodeling with modern technology and facilities requires creativity and flexibility, but with the Preserve RI’s partnership we believe we have found the right balance. ”

Preserve RI said in the announcement that it is grateful for the funding of this project, made possible through The 1772 Foundation, National Trust for Historic Preservation, Ocean State Charities and the sponsorship of the Beacon Hill Pole Chapter by the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution.

About Preserve Rhode Island

Preserve Rhode Island is Rhode Island’s nationwide advocate for historic sites. The 65-year-old nonprofit provides guidance to local conservation groups, finds productive and adaptive recycling for endangered buildings, advocates for the revitalization of historic sites to stimulate local economies, and engages the community through public programs at the Lippitt House Museum.

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