'Festival of Historic Houses' celebrates Mount Hope neighborhood

Posted 5/29/24

The Providence Preservation Society (PPS) celebrates the 42nd "Festival of Historic Houses" from May 29 to June 8. This year’s Festival highlights the history of the Mount …

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'Festival of Historic Houses' celebrates Mount Hope neighborhood


The Providence Preservation Society (PPS) celebrates the 42nd "Festival of Historic Houses" from May 29 to June 8. This year’s Festival highlights the history of the Mount Hope neighborhood, one of Providence’s original streetcar suburbs, and culminates in a day of touring through nine private properties.

Self-guided house and garden tours will take place Saturday, June 8, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The tours focus on a five-block area of the Mount Hope neighborhood, and the houses provide a snapshot of the most active period of expansion in this part of the city.

In addition to Saturday’s tours, an exclusive Kickoff Party at former mayor David Cicilline’s private home on June 6, and several neighborhood history walks and talks will be held in the weeks leading up to the day of house tours.

  • Public Art: Telling the Hidden Stories of Mount Hope: Walking Tour, Sunday, June 2, 1 p.m.
  • History of the Gilbane Company’s Design and Development of Catalpa Road (1902-1904); Presentation, Wednesday, June 5, 4 p.m.

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit ProvidenceHouseTour.com.

Development in Mount Hope really took off between 1850 and 1930 as Providence's population boomed. This growth was initially concentrated adjacent to Olney Street and North Main Street and within walking distance of Downtown and the Moshassuck River industrial district. Here, significant Black and Irish communities established themselves by the mid-19th century. After streetcar lines were introduced on North Main Street (1875) and Camp Street (1886), the pace of development accelerated throughout the neighborhood, and the neighborhood was fully built out over the next half century. The Queen Annes, bungalows, and triple-deckers that remain reflect this period of intense growth.

In the 1950s-1970s, rapid commercial expansion occurred along North Main Street. At the southern end of the neighborhood, the Lippitt Hill Redevelopment Project demolished many older homes and apartments, replacing them with larger-scale development such as the University Heights shopping center and apartment complex, and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary School. This activity displaced numerous residents, many of them people of color, forcing them to relocate to other parts of the city and elsewhere. Today, Mount Hope remains a desirable place to live, with a diverse population and a wide variety of historic housing stock.

With 25 official neighborhoods and countless historic homes, cultural landscapes, and private gardens, Providence is bursting with places to explore. For more than 40 years, PPS has produced the Festival of Historic Houses as a way to get to know the streets and homes that you won’t necessarily find in any guidebook. Each year, the Festival celebrates the architecture and history of one of Providence’s neighborhoods, drawing hundreds from across New England.

PPS’s Festival of Historic Houses is made possible in part by a grant from the Providence Tourism Council, as well as support from corporate and individual sponsors. For more information on sponsorship opportunities, please contact Angela Kondon at 401-831-7440 or visit pvdpreservation.org.

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