Festival of Historic Houses in June

Posted 5/17/23

The Providence Preservation Society (PPS) is excited to celebrate its 41st Festival of Historic Houses on June 10. This year, the self-guided tour will explore homes and gardens …

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Festival of Historic Houses in June

The Providence Preservation Society (PPS) is excited to celebrate its 41st Festival of Historic Houses on June 10. This year, the self-guided tour will explore homes and gardens in the historic Elmwood neighborhood, between Congress and Adelaide Avenues.
With 25 official neighborhoods and countless historic homes, cultural landscapes, and private gardens, Providence is bursting with places to explore. Since 1980, the Providence Preservation Society (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 highlights the architecture and history of one of Providence’s historic neighborhoods, drawing hundreds of people from near and far.
The place we know today as Elmwood has a history shaped by its proximity to the center of Providence – close enough to benefit from the services, amenities, and workforce of a growing city and distant enough for Elmwood to develop its own character and culture.
In colonial Providence, the slice of land to the south of the city was rural farmland and took the name “Elmwood” from Joseph J. Cooke’s farm of the same name. The American Industrial Revolution saw the neighborhood dramatically shift from farmland to tree-lined streets populated with Victorian buildings belonging to the city’s growing middle class and its nouveau-riche upper-class residents. New modes of transportation – particularly the electrified trolley – established Elmwood as Providence’s first streetcar suburb. The opening of Gorham Manufacturing’s landmark factory complex on Mashapaug Pond in 1890 drew hundreds of workers into the neighborhood and changed the economic and cultural character of Elmwood.
Through the 1970s and ‘80s, the neighborhood welcomed the Latine and Asian communities, who have enlivened the streets with markets and restaurants and adapted the neighborhood’s ageing building stock to serve new purposes. First-time homebuyers undertook the restoration of the Victorian houses the neighborhood is known for. Community organizations have ushered in additional resources aimed at equitable and sustainable housing opportunities and home ownership programs. Today, Elmwood continues to evolve while retaining its architecturally and culturally rich reputation.
Self-guided private house and garden tours will take place Saturday, June 10, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. In addition to Saturday’s tours of this historic neighborhood, an exclusive Preview Party and a diverse slate of virtual and in-person Festival programs will be offered, including a neighborhood history lecture and hands-on home maintenance workshops. 
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. 
INFO: For more information and to purchase tickets, visit ProvidenceHouseTour.com. 

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