The Awards Ceremony was held in Ochre Court’s Great Hall. Photo Credit: Maddie Van

By Preserve Rhode Island

Preserve Rhode Island (Preserve RI) celebrated the 14th annual Rhody Awards for Historic Preservation this past Sunday, at Ochre Court in Newport. They included a range of projects and people spanning from Westerly to Woonsocket. This year’s Rhody Awards celebrated work that supports affordable and low-income housing, rejuvenates historic downtowns, saves rural landscapes and protects iconic landmarks for present and future generations.

Videos that showcase the work of each awardee can be found here.  The public is encouraged to view and vote for their favorite preservation story, as the Rhody Audience Award.  Votes must be cast by Thursday, October 27th at midnight.  The winner of the audience award will be announced Friday, October 28th.  Videos and more information can be found on Preserve RI’s website:

Each year, Preserve RI selects ten awardees from among dozens of nominees, showcasing the best in historic preservation and its beneficial impacts to communities across our state. This year, an independent jury of historians, architects, developers, community leaders and preservationists selected this year’s finalists.

Valerie Talmage, Executive Director of Preserve RI, said, “We are thrilled to shine a spotlight on the good news happening across Rhode Island thanks to these heroic individuals and organizations.  Each one of these projects illustrates the positive impact historic preservation has on our communities—addressing critical challenges that improve the lives of all Rhode Islanders.”

The 2022 Rhody Awards were presented to:

Ronald J. Onorato, Frederick C. Williamson Professional Award

Dr. Ronald Onorato is awarded for his work as one of Rhode Island’s foremost architectural historians. He has had a distinguished academic career over four decades teaching at the University of Rhode Island, and his scholarship and advocacy has illuminated and preserved Rhode Island’s architectural heritage. Ron’s research, writing and activism has contributed greatly to the evaluation and preservation of our state’s historical properties.

Joe Garlick, Frederick C. Williamson Professional Award

As Executive Director of NeighborWorks Blackstone River Valley (NWBRV), Mr. Garlick is a preservationist who works in affordable housing. While his primary goals are to create and sustain affordable housing opportunities for Rhode Islanders, the majority of his work has helped to preserve the built environment and/or add new construction designed to be thoughtful and respectful of the historic landscape and context.

Meredith Stern & Peter Glantz, Homeowner Award (Providence)

A couple create a home for their young family by taking on their first preservation project: a unique Victorian in Providence that had not had significant repair of the exterior since it was built. The restoration preserved existing materials and reproduced what was damaged through a comprehensive 6-year plan developed by the homeowners. The vibrance of this house is both true to its historical character and a reflection of the creative approach Meredith and Peter took to creating their home.

Alison & Don McNaughton, Homeowner Award (Little Compton)

Having recently retired, the McNaughton’s purchased a historic home in Little Compton and the surrounding 11 acres in 2017. “Wunnegin” had sat on the market for 4 years and was at risk of demolition. The owners brought in a top-notch team for the rehabilitation of the main house and gardens, saving exterior and interior historic features from both periods of the building’s construction as well as several original outbuildings.

Ocean Community United Theatre, Inc., Historic Preservation Project Award (Westerly)

Reimagining a historic movie theatre and department store into a state-of-the-art facility for music education, performance, cinema and community gathering, the United Theatre is activating the historic main street of Westerly, engaging the broader community and bringing a lively artistic vibe to downtown.

Crossroads Rhode Island, Historic Preservation Project Award (Providence)

Crossroads Family Housing multi-site project in Providence is an exemplary role model for sustainable affordable housing. By thoughtfully renovating existing historic structures, this project improves the lives of the residents and helps stabilize their streets and neighborhood.

Preservation Society of Newport County, Stewardship Award (Newport)

The Preservation Society of Newport County recently completed a multifaceted, multi-million-dollar exterior revitalization effort at Marble House, a National Historic Landmark and one of the earliest and most significant Beaux Arts private residences in America. Featured in HBO’s “The Gilded Age”, this restoration furthers the rebuilding of the heritage tourism industry.

The Parish of St. Columba’s, Stewardship Award (Middletown)

While many churches have building committees, St. Columba’s in Middletown created a Historic Preservation Trust – so they could undertake repairs that were historically appropriate. Their historic preservation stewardship started by completing an impressive and thorough master plan that continues to guide restoration.

South Kingstown Land Trust, Community Impact Award (South Kingstown)

The Land Trust’s reactivation of the Samuel E. Perry Grist Mill honors the Mill’s past while continuing its remarkable ability to bring community together. This rare survivor of a bygone agricultural era attracted supporters from all over the community. Volunteers provided labor and contributed materials to restore the mill building and water course, making the historic grist mill functional once again.

Grow Smart RI, Community Impact Award (State-wide)

 Recognizing Grow Smart RI’s  25 years of leadership and advocacy in historic preservation and smart land use. Grow Smart advocates for a commonsense approach to growth and development that includes historic preservation.  Appreciation for Rhode Island’s unique assets and an optimism about Rhode Island’s future characterize their initiatives, including legislation, public education, and training for planning officials.

About Preserve Rhode Island

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